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The Art of the Indian Plated meal

“India is, the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grandmother of tradition.”
-Mark Twain

I am a huge fan of thalis which are traditional Indian plated meals. Thalis are a wonderful way to try many different things at once. Most thalis will have lentil curries, seasonal vegetables, chutneys galore, breads, rice and dessert: all served at once. And what is more, many of the places that serve thalis offer unlimited refills on anything you want! What more could one ask for? The food can be served on plates  (typically round steel plates) or on banana leaves. Thali meals, typically small in portions, are a spectacular combination of flavors, textures and aromas. It used to be they were mostly vegetarian but not so anymore. I am sharing with you a collection of my thali photos – some are traditional, some are modern, there is even a depiction of a thali using crochet done by my grand mother-in-law, there are thali take-out dishes, and thalis ranging from simple to spectacular.

Before you turn the slideshow on, stop everything else. Go get a cup of coffee, tea or a tipple and then sit back and enjoy the sixty or so photos. It will take under two minutes to watch but it will, forever, find a place in your heart! Just as it has in mine.

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Comments

  1. I’ve had many delicious thalis, this is making my mouth water. I love taking bites from each contrasting or complementary little cup of flavor. All with those BREADS. Yum.

  2. Yum..yum! …sweet..spicy treats..all bundled in one plate.

  3. You know what Monica, this was a good reminder for me not to miss eating Thalis on my visit to India. Will make sure to enjoy all type of it :)

  4. Mouth watering Thali. Loved the Puri :)

  5. Disappointed lately that many US Indian restaurants no longer offer thalis. It was a way to gauge the goodness of the restaurant in one meal! Thanks for the beautiful photos…I’m hungry!

  6. Damn, you are making me crave for authentic Indian food. Can you suggest a good Maharashtrian restaurant in NJ area? I haven’t heard of any.

  7. Love this post ! So much new information. Thanks for sharing this…as always, you inspire me, Monica!

  8. for those of us who are not Indian or familiar with Indian foods, what were # 12, 19, 20, 22, & 24? They look DELICIOUS!

  9. Pamela Lear says:

    Mmm … I hadn’t ever heart of Thalis, but am now inspired to experience some!

  10. I’m not familiar with many of the foods featured but they look GORGEOUS! I need to find a traditional thail here in Toronto…

  11. or even “thali” (fingers move faster than brain moment – sorry!)

  12. Great slideshow, Monica. It reminds of my Motiben (father’s mother) who used to live with me while I was growing up. Every day, she’d sit at the kitchen table for lunch and dinner with her stainless steel thali and little dishes of dahl and chutneys and veggies, and of course the puri (or roti) and rice in the center. The sight of any stainless steel serving dishes make me very nostalgic for her :)

  13. Are there any places in or near DC that offer this? It looks wonderful!

  14. This is without doubt? the best meal I had in India. The deluxe thali is something to behold!

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