10 Lesser-Known Indian Thalis To Acquaint Yourself With
Image Credit: An illustrated representation of a traditional Manipuri thali.

India's culinary tapestry is woven with an array of regional cuisines, each with its distinctive flavours and culinary treasures. One way to truly experience the authentic taste of each region is through the traditional thalis. While popular thalis like Rajasthani and Gujarati have been extensively covered, let's delve into the lesser-known regional thalis that offer a treasure trove of culinary wonders.

1. Assamese Bhogali Bihu Thali

Assam, known as the land of tea and lush greenery, surprises food lovers with its vibrant Bhogali Bihu Thali. Celebrated during the harvest festival, this thali presents an array of delicacies like maasor tenga (sour fish curry), xoru maas (smoked fish curry), and khar (alkaline preparation). Experience the tanginess of mustard, the pungency of bamboo shoots, and the subtle sweetness of coconut as you relish the distinct flavours of Assamese cuisine.

2. Chettinadu Virundhu

The fiery and aromatic Chettinad cuisine from Tamil Nadu offers a tantalising experience with its elaborate Virundhu Thali. Known for its spiciness, this thali features dishes like Chettinad chicken curry, meen kuzhambu (fish curry), and paniyaram (rice and lentil dumplings). The use of spices like star anise, marathi mokku (dried flower pods), and kalpasi (stone flower) gives these dishes their distinct flavour profile. Embark on a culinary adventure as you relish the robust and aromatic Chettinad flavours.

3. Himachali Dham

The picturesque state of Himachal Pradesh not only offers breathtaking landscapes but also serves up a unique culinary experience with its Dham Thali. This traditional feast consists of dishes like madra (chickpea curry), chana dal (split chickpea stew), and sepu vadi (lentil dumplings in spinach gravy). Prepared with local ingredients and infused with aromatic spices, this thali reflects the simplicity and purity of Himachali cuisine. Get ready to embark on a soul-satisfying journey through the flavours of the Himalayas.

4. Kashmiri Wazwan Thali

The breathtaking valley of Kashmir not only mesmerises with its natural beauty but also captivates food enthusiasts with its delectable cuisine. The Kashmiri Wazwan Thali is a lavish spread that embodies the essence of this region. Highlighting flavours like saffron, fennel, and dry ginger, this thali offers iconic dishes like rogan josh (lamb curry), yakhni (yoghurt-based mutton curry), and dum aloo (spicy potato curry). Indulge in fragrant biryanis, succulent kebabs, and rich curries as you experience the culinary opulence of Kashmir.

5. Manipuri Meitei Thali

The Meitei Thali from Manipur brings forth the vibrant flavours of this northeastern state. Known for its use of aromatic herbs and unique indigenous ingredients, this thali features dishes like eromba (vegetable stew), kangshoi (mixed vegetable curry), and ngari (fermented fish). The interplay of flavours, the use of local herbs like nga-thongba (lemongrass), and the inclusion of fermented elements create a symphony of tastes that exemplify Manipuri cuisine. Embark on a culinary journey to the unexplored corners of Northeast India with this remarkable thali.

6. Malabari Mappila Thali

Kerala's Malabar region presents the Mappila Thali, showcasing the rich culinary traditions of the Mappila Muslim community. With influences from Arab, Persian, and Malabari cuisines, this thali features dishes like Malabar chicken biryani, Thalassery fish curry, and pathiri (rice bread). The delicate balance of spices, the use of coconut milk, and the interplay of sweet and savoury flavours make this thali an exquisite experience. Embark on a culinary journey through the coastal flavours of Malabar with this remarkable thali.

7. Nagpuri Saoji Thali

The Saoji Thali from Nagpur, Maharashtra, is a fiery delight for spice enthusiasts. Bursting with bold flavours, this thali features dishes like Saoji chicken, mutton korma, and tarri poha. The secret lies in the special blend of spices, including black pepper, cinnamon, and star anise, which infuse the dishes with a unique taste. Indulge in the rich gravies, tender meats, and aromatic rice, and experience the distinct culinary heritage of Nagpur through this sensational thali.

8. Garhwali Pahadi Thali

The hilly terrain of Uttarakhand offers the Garhwali Pahadi Thali, a wholesome feast that reflects the simplicity and flavours of the region. This thali includes dishes like kafuli, chainsoo, and sisunak saag. Prepared with locally sourced ingredients and infused with aromatic spices, this thali celebrates the traditional Garhwali cuisine. Immerse yourself in the rustic charm of the mountains and savour the authentic flavours of Uttarakhand with this soul-satisfying thali.

9. Sindhi Sai Bhaji Thali

The Sindhi Sai Bhaji Thali is a testament to the rich culinary heritage of the Sindhi community. Sai Bhaji, a nutritious and flavourful spinach and lentil curry, takes centre stage in this thali. Accompanied by traditional delicacies like Sindhi kadhi, koki (flatbread), and aloo tuk, this thali offers a medley of flavours and textures. The generous use of spices, including cumin, coriander, and asafoetida, creates a symphony of tastes that will leave you craving for more. Indulge in the vibrant flavours of Sindhi cuisine with this delectable thali.

10. Bihari Litti Chokha Thali

The Bihari Litti Chokha Thali showcases the rustic flavours of Bihar, a state known for its simple yet delicious cuisine. At the heart of this thali is litti, a savoury baked dough ball stuffed with a spiced mixture of roasted gram flour, herbs, and spices. It is served with chokha, a spicy mashed potato and roasted eggplant dish, along with tangy tomato chutney and pickles. This traditional Bihari thali offers a delightful combination of smoky, spicy, and tangy flavours that will transport you to the heartland of Bihar.