Jan 10, 2018
The Gujarati thali is an endearing all-you-can-eat concept, where the restaurants themselves take joy in feeding their customers to bursting point.
The UNESCO World Heritage City of Ahmedabad in the west Indian state of Gujarat is known for many things, among them: colourful festivals, affable residents and above all, its lip-smacking food.
In Indian cuisine, thali means a meal consisting of several courses, served one after the other in a systematic manner. Each Gujarati thali is designed to be an explosion of subtle flavours, tastes and textures, with its delicate balance of sweet, sour and savoury notes. Due to the prominent influence of Jain culture in the region, Gujarati cuisine itself is predominantly vegetarian, and this extends to the commercial thali.
SEE ALSO: A local’s guide to Ahmedabad, India
Thalis are typically served on large round steel plates (the word thali itself means plate), with the side dishes served on small bowls – known as katori – lining the edges. The best way to enjoy the Gujarati thali is to tackle it course by course, just the way it is served. And be sure to put away the cutlery and dig in with your hand.
A Gujarati thali typically begins with a course of farsan (small steamed and fried starters), the most popular ones being local favourites like khaman dhokla (steamed cake made of chickpea flour) and samosa (a fried snack).