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Vegetarian thali, experience the essence of Indian cuisine

India is a blend of different cultures and religions. Therefore, Indian cuisine is influenced by it all. Further, the cuisine changes as per the region as well.

India is a blend of different cultures and religions. Therefore, Indian cuisine is influenced by it all. Further, the cuisine changes as per the region as well. It should be noted that the difference in the cuisine is not just related to the zone that it comes from namely the north, south, east and west but also from the states that fall in those regions.

These states have their peculiar food items too. Irrespective of the zone, there is one dish which is common amongst all. That is the vegetarian thali. Depending on the region, the content differs. This is why any Indian restaurant in all probability will have most of these delectable dishes on offer.

Image  The Westin Jakarta/File - The Jakarta Post
Image  The Westin Jakarta/File - The Jakarta Post

What is a Vegetarian Thali?
Thali is the Indian word for plate. This plate includes various foods that are served along with Indian bread and rice. Indian bread is of various types like roti, naan, kulcha and paratha.

The thali is usually a metal plate with small bowls known as katori. These bowls include items like dal, sabzi (Indian vegetable prepared with spices), dahi (yogurt), and kadhi. A dessert is either included in the meal or in some cases has to be paid for separately. Therefore, the contents of the vegetarian thali are basically the delicacies of the region.
The popular ones are as follows.

North Indian Thali
North Indian cuisine is mostly known as Punjabi cuisine. But a lot of us forget that it also includes Kashmiri food. Some of the lip smacking dishes are found in this region and are not just limited to main food items but sweets as well. A typical north Indian plate would include, dal (made out of moong or black lentils), sabzi which includes Paneer (cottage cheese), Indian bread and rice either plain or with jeera.

Some side dishes include pakora, samosa or kachori. Sweets served consist of any one of these items namely, gajar ka halwa (rice pudding) Ras malai, Shahi tukra (rice bread pudding with dry fruits) to name a few. One is left satiated after this meal.

South Indian Thali
The moment one says south Indian food, we think of steaming idli and dosa. But there is more to this wonderful cuisine. The best way to enjoy it is by opting for a thali as it is a blend of some of the best south Indian dishes. In this region the food in not always served in a plate but on banana leaves.

The thali includes rasam (a sizzling hot soup) and sambar which is served with rice. Rice being the main food item, they seldom serve Indian bread. Some places also serve curd rice with a hint of tadka. The rest of the items that are included are papad, pickle, coconut chutney and butter milk. Those with a sweet tooth would definitely enjoy delicacies like mysore pak and badam halwa that are served along with the meal.

Maharashtrian Thali
Typical Maharastrian food is a scrumptious treat. There was a time when, the typical food items were lost during the rise of stalls serving pani puri, pav bhaji etc. In recent times, quite a few joints have come up that serve traditional Maharastrian food.

A typical Maharastrian plate would include bhakri (Indian flat bread made out of millet and rice flour), bharli vangi (stuffed bringal), Masala Bhat (a preparation of spiced rice with gherkins and cashewnuts), mattha (spiced buttermilk) and thecha (which a type of pickle made out of ground green chillies and garlic). Sometimes the plate includes zunka (a thick paste made with besan and spices).The other items which are sometimes included are roasted papad and koshimbir (salad made out of chopped cucumber and crushed peanuts). Pooran poli or gulab jamun are usually served as sweets.

Rajasthani thali
The culture in Rajasthan portrays the influence of its royal heritage. This influence is depicted in its cuisine as well. A typical Rajasthani thali would include missi roti, sev and tamatar shaak, gatta kadhi, chaas and Jaipuri pulav. The sides would include methi pakoda and lasan chutney. To end it all they offer with Rabri which is a sweet treat made out of milk.

Gujarati thali
There are a number of food joints that serve Gujarati thali. The contents are usually same as Rajasthani and Maharastrian thali, mainly rice, dal, roti/phulka, chaas, pickle and papad. The Gujrati kadhi is usually sweet. They also serve their speciality which is a vegetable called undhiyu. Sides like dhokla, handwa or khandvi are served. Most of the thalis serve jalebis.

A lot of Indian restaurants offer thali. Some also conduct food festivals which offer regional thali. Thus, making it easier for people to experience different favours of the Indian cuisineArticle Submission, all though the vegetarian thali. Article Tags: Vegetarian Thali, Indian Cuisine, Food Items, Indian Bread, North Indian, Would Include, South Indian. 
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