Thali in Hindu means “Plate” for an Indian-style meal of many dishes served on a plate (or traditionally on a banana leaf).
Thali style meals are popular in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Fiji, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, and Mauritius. The idea behind Thali is to provide all 6 flavors of salty, sweet, spicy, bitter, sour and fatty.
According to Indian dietary customs, a nutritious meal should be the perfect balance of all 6 flavors which includes madhura (sweet), amla (salty), lavana (sour), katu (spicy), tikta (bitter) and kashaya with the flavor from the fruits.
In Hindu, Thali means “plate”, it does not sound like a dish but it has this name due to the style to serve it. To serve this dish, you just need only one plate, a huge one so you can put multiple side dishes on it.
Basically, you can enjoy rice, meat, veggies and different dipping sauce all in one dish. Just image that, instead of eating different dishes, you can eat appetizers, main courses and desserts in the same plate!
The dishes in a Thali usually vary by region in South Asia and are served in small bowls, called katori. These ‘katoris’ are placed along the edge of the round tray, sometimes a steel tray with multiple compartments is used. The dishes include: Basmati rice, lentils, vegetables, roti bread, papad, yogurt, some pickles and some sweet treats.
Basmati rice and Roti bread are the main dishes that often occupy the heart of Thali, while side dishes like vegetable curry and others are kept in a circle around Thali.
Depending on the restaurant or region, thali includes regional dishes. In general, however, a thali starts with different types of bread like puris or chapatis (rotis) and different special vegetarian specialties (curry dishes), in South India, mostly rice instead of bread.
If you want a insanely huge treat, try out this dish right away!