Thali – A Party Platter For Your Palate

The Japanese have a combination box of food called a bento box, but in many Indian restaurants they have an equivalent called a thali. Similar to a bento box, it has several compartments for different types of small dishes so that the flavours don’t mix.

I always feel like a thali is the best way to sample multiple curries and dishes at the same time without paying with an arm and a leg. As you can see, it frequently comes with several curries, a dessert, salad and rice. The platter above had aloo gobi (a vegetable dish), kadhi pakora (a vegetable fritter), galub jamun, palak paneer (though sparse on the paneer on this platter, it’s a type of Indian cheese with spinach), a raita-like dish (yogurt) with boondi (fried chickpea flour), basmati rice and salad. Yum!

Although the first above came in what I equate to a prison tray, the second picture above is more commonly found in restaurants that I have been to – round with dividers  between each section. Sometimes it can come on a round tray with little bowls as well. Regardless of the presentation, I’ve noticed that it is always in a silver metal container.

The second thali above has salad, palak paneer (obviously it’s one of my favourite dishes, hence it showed up on both pictures), channa masala (a chickpea dish), raita (yogurt) and basmati rice. It also came with a dessert of rice pudding aka kheer. If you aren’t well acquainted with Indian food, a thali is a great way to go. You get to try multiple dishes at the same time, often for a good price. And if you’re vegetarian, they often sell one that is just vegetarian or one that is with meat for the carnivores out there.

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