If you want to explore Indian culture by its food, then authentic Indian thalis are the best way to do so. Every region in India has its concept of the thali that consists of local dishes and truly put their culture on a plate. Thali means a circular plate which is raised from the circumference. It is usually made of steel, and within it are small bowls in which different dishes are served.
A typical Indian Thali is supposed to have 6 distinct flavors, which are salt, sweet, bitter, sour, spicy, astringent. A perfect Indian thali is the one that balances all these tastes and is also very colorful and appealing to the eye. Here are some Indian thalis that will not only satisfy your taste buds but will also satisfy your 5 senses.
1. Rajasthani Thali
Traditional Rajasthani Thalis consists of various flavors and dishes and is also very vibrant. The perfect combination of different curries, pickles, a special bread, and dessert gives it a rich taste and is enough to delight your taste buds and stomach. The most common dishes you’ll find in this authentic Indian thali are Dal Baati Churma, Missi Roti with Gatte ki Sabzi, Panchmela Dal, Laal Maas, Lehsun chutney, Khichdi, Kadi, Bajra Roti, and papad along with buttermilk to give it a refreshing feel and to satisfy your sweet tooth it has ghewar or gondh ke laddo and malpua.
2. Haryanvi Thali
It has a rustic, earthy flavor. It is full of simple Haryanvi dishes and oodles of ghee and accompanies with a tall glass of lassi. The dishes comprises in this Haryanvi thali are Kachri ki sabzi, Khichdi, Hara Dhaniya Cholia, Bajra Aloo ki Roti, etc. people of Haryana are simple and grounded and inevitably attached to their land. Their food reflects the same how they are.
3. Punjabi Thali
Punjabi thali is one of the heavenly Indian thalis. Nobody can afford to miss this thali when in Punjab. The main ingredient in this thali is butter; the use of butter makes this thali very rich. This authentic Indian thali is similar to the people of Punjab as they are very strong and joyful, just like their thali. Punjabi thali includes many dishes such as Sarson ka saag, Dal Makhni, Pindi chole, Amritsari kulcha, Jeera rice, Paneer Makhani, and a long glass of lassi complimented it. The non-veg thali might include Butter Chicken, Amritsari Macchi (fish), and Naan.
4. Gujarati Thali
A Gujrati thali is a fully vegetarian thali which comprises of various vegetable preparations such as Tamatar Sev ki Sabzi, Gajar Mirch Sambhar, spinach in brinjal curry, with small Bajra roti, Thepla, Shrikhand. This Gujarati thali is a little sweet in taste, just like a Bengali thali.
5. Kashmiri Thali
Kashmiri thali is one of the truly authentic Indian thalis that consists of Wazwan, which is made after a lot of preparation. It has about 36 dishes, which include some robust dishes such as Kebab Nadir Shahi, Tabak Maaz (fried lamb ribs), Gosht Yakhani, Kashmiri Dum Aloo, Khatte Baigan, Kashmiri pulao, Al Raita (bottle guard in yogurt) and firni (phirni) to end this feast.
6. Chattisgarh Thali
The Chattisgarh thali is a combination of tribal and non-tribal dishes. Rice is a staple food of Chattisgarh. Hence, rice and rice flour are used almost in all the recipes, both savory and sweet. The Chhattisgarh thali includes rice pakoras, Mundiya ka Pech with tomato red chilli chutney, Angakar roti, and Paan Roti, rice Poori, Dubki Kadhi, Arbi Kadhi, Bhindi Kadhi complimented with Gul ki Cha and finally to satisfy your sweet tooth they serve Gulgulle and Kusli.
7. Andhra Thali
Very traditional dishes from Andhra cuisine are included in the Andhra thali. This thali is prepared mostly during a festival or wedding, which is usually served on a banana leaf. This thali contains rice along with Mudda Pappu (lentil), followed by Rasam known as Charu, Avakaya (mango pickle), Parippu Podi (powdered lentil mixed with spices), Dondakayya Veppudu (ivy gourd preparation) and Vankaya Kothamira Kaaram (brinjal preparation). For dessert, they will offer you laddoos, such as rava laddoo or bandhar laddoo.
8. Kerala Thali Or Sadhya
Kerala food thali or Sadhya meal is served on a banana leaf and consists of 26 delicious dishes. It is renowned to be completely traditional and disciplined. It includes Palada Pradhaman, Inji Pachadi, Vendakka Kichadi, Olan, Kaalan, Sambar, Aviyal, Koottu Curry, Cabbage Thoran, Puli Inji, Chethumaangakari, Varatha Upperi, Pappadom, Rice, Karimeen Porichathu, Malabar Chicken Curry and will end with milky payasam.
9. Bhojpuri Thali
This Bhojpuri thali offers a variety of delicacies with a very diverse platter that includes many dishes like Litti Chokha, Bharbhara (green gram fritters), Dahi Chura (curd with rice flakes), Sattu ka Paratha, Kaale Chane, Gurma (raw mango chutney) and Rasiyaaw (rice dessert) to satisfy your sweet tooth balushahi is offered. It is commonly a vegetarian thali.
10. Bengali Thali
Bengali thali, a popular authentic Indian thali is packed with a delectable variety of dishes which includes Begun Bhaja, Patol Bhaja, Shukto (a bittersweet medley of vegetables), Shaak and Alu Bhaaja, Cholaar Dal, Bhaat (rice), Maach Bhaja (fish fry), Maccher Kalia (fish curry) and Kosha Mangsho (mutton in thick gravy) and offers rice pudding called payesh to satisfy your sweet cravings.
11. Goan Thali
Goan thali is mostly a non-vegetarian as Goan food is synonymous with seafood. So a typical Goan thali includes steamed rice, Sheet Kodi Nustea (fish curry), Kismur (salad made with freshly grated coconut and pan-fried prawns), Poi (a butterfly-shaped bread), Mackerel Rawa Fry along with Sol Kadi (kokum-coconut milk drink). If you are a seafood lover, then this thali will find a place in your heart.
12. Maharashtrian Thali
Maharashtrian food is categorized by mild and spicy flavour. The traditional Maharashtrian thali includes Aamras, Kosimbir, Bhakri roti (a millet flatbread), Bharli Vangi (stuffed brinjal), Pitla (thick chickpea flour curry), Amti (spicy and tangy toor lentil), Pandhra Rassa (chicken in white gravy), Mutton Kolhapuri (fiery mutton gravy), Sabudana Vada and Basundi or Kheer for dessert.
13. Assamese Thali Or Aalohir Exaj
Assamese thali is a special, authentic Indian thali because of the way it’s cooked. It starts from a delicacy called Khar, which is a curry and can be made in various ways, but traditionally they add dried banana skin, raw papaya, and lentils in it. It is followed by Pura (smoked meat), Poitabhat (cooked rice garnished with chillies, onions and mustard oil), Shaak Bhaji, Pitika, and fritters were known as Bor along with pickles and ends with Rice Payas or Narikolor Laru (coconut laddoos).