An assortment of thali dishes.
What To Know About Thali, A Tasty Staple Of Indian Restaurants
If you enjoy Indian cuisine, you may have come across the term “thali” on restaurant menus. This term actually has a few meanings related to Indian dining customs and dishes.
The word thali refers to a large plate that holds several small bowls filled with various foods. It originated in Northern India before becoming popular across the country.
The term can also refer to the Indian custom of eating all the courses of a meal at once, in order to mix and match dishes according to one's preferences.
Thalis are common fixtures at large get-togethers and celebrations, such as festivals and weddings. The exact dishes on a thali may differ depending on the occasion.
Typically, a thali will include some type of grain, a lentil dish, seasonal vegetables, a condiment like chutney or pickles, raita (a yogurt-based condiment), and a papadum.
Coastal regions of India will often include some type of seafood in their thalis, while regions in the mainland will either keep it all vegetarian or add meats like chicken.