Hindi Language Blog

The Gujarati Thali Posted by on Feb 26, 2022 in Food

A ThaliThe Hindi word ‘Thali’ refers to a plate. However, it can also be used interchangeably दूसरे के स्थान परto mean dish, just like in English, the word dish can mean a corning ware dish or a food item खाद्य सामग्री, like a pie.

The thali is a staple मुख्य उपज dish in many states on the Indian subcontinent. However, one of the more popular thalis is the Gujarati thali. Gujarat is a state on the western पश्चिमी coast of India. Gujarati’s are mostly vegetarian शाकाहारी and sometimes vegan as well. Their food is slightly sweeter मीठा than the average Indian dish but still has the kick of spice चाट मसाला mixed in.

A typical Gujarati thali has a variety of dishes, pickles, bread and accompaniments. Most of the dishes are vegetables, pulses and lentils. Curries fill the bowls called vadkis. The bowls ring the outer corners of the thali while the middle is reserved for appetizers, rice and bread. Pickle is served on a small leaf.

A simple thali contains, dhal, rice, and shaak which is a mixture of veggies cooked in coconut and coriander. the more complex thalis have multiple dishes.

Gujaratis also eat more unleavened bread called Rotis, Bakris, or parathas. They sometimes eat rice as well. But, dhoklas are rice cakes with lentils or black grams. Or they prepare a rice pudding infused with cardamom, pistachios, and sugar, called paak.

There is a method to eating the thali.

Natives know that they need to eat certain items first. Generally in India, you eat the bread before the rice dish. In Gujarati thali, you start with breaking the roti into a smaller bite-size piece to scoop up the veggie or curry. If the piece is larger, then fold it to make a scoop. The breaking of the bread/roti should be done with one hand – the right hand. This is a cultivated art in itself.

The fun part is to try out different combinations of curries and vegetables using the scoop. The flavors that hit have the ability to surprise even the most adventurous palates.

Although have you tried eating dessert in the middle of your meal? Well, with a Gujarati meal you can take a bite of the dessert which is also on the thali, in the middle of the meal.

Therefore, by doing this you can feel and taste महसूस करो और स्वाद लो the different spices, sweetness, and textures of the meal.

After you have eaten all the bread, it is time to eat a little rice located in the middle of the plate with dhal. If there are leftover veggies in the bowl, add them too to the mix.

At the end of the meal try out some mukhwas containing fennel and dates or paan, betel leaves with sweet concoctions inside. This serves to act as a digestive and mouth freshener at the same time.

Some restaurants in Mumbai offer unlimited thalis. This means that the bowls of food is always replenished as you eat. Kind of like an all-you-can-eat buffet at your table.

So, next time you are in town try out a Gujarati thali.



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About the Author: Nicole Herbert Dean

Language, Region and Culture Consultant to the Department of Defense and United States Military.