Taste India on a Plate: 29 Delicious Thalis From 29 Glorious States!

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Photo of Taste India on a Plate: 29 Delicious Thalis From 29 Glorious States! by Karishma Shaikh

Luckily for all us gluttons, India is not only a multi-lingual country but also a country that boasts of an equally diverse food culture. Every Indian state flaunts its own cuisine. This alone is enough reason for someone to travel to every nook of the country. You could spend months travelling through the mountains of Kashmir with a glass of kawah to keep you warm or start your day at the beach in Kerala with an invigorating mug of filter coffee.

So here I am, salivating, and ready to take you masaledaar journey through the streets of 29 states of India. Here's what a thali looks like in different parts of the country.

North India

Look at those juicy kebabs (c) Times of India

Photo of Jammu and Kashmir by Karishma Shaikh

Kashmir is a paradise for meat-lovers as many popular dishes are meat-based such as rogan josh, gushtaba and yakhni. The thali is served along with different traditional loaves of bread. Kashmiri dry fruits are loaded with spices to add a burst of flavour!

Everything looks yumm (c) Ribbons and Pasta

Photo of Himachal Pradesh, India by Karishma Shaikh

An assortment of traditional spices and herbs, the Himachali thali is loaded with flavour. The Pahadi thali starts with boiled mango and jaggery, lamb in yogurt, and lentils. To end the thali, caramelised rice mixed with raisins and dry fruits is served. My sweet tooth would like to start with the dessert, please.

Incoming another portion of Ghee (c) Mistay

Photo of Haryana, India by Karishma Shaikh

A very simple thali made with large portions of ghee, the Haryanvi thali will leave your heart content. The specialties are; kachri ki sabzi, hara dhania cholia, mithey chawal, alsi ki pinni, malpuas, khichdi and kachi lassi.

A true pahadi treat

Photo of Uttarakhand, India by Karishma Shaikh

The thali from the mountains is a dream. The simple and earthy Kumaun thali is a culinary gem from Uttarakhand. It consists of Bhang Ki Chutney, Aalu Ka Jhol, Kafuli, Phaanu, Baadi, Chainsu, their marue ki roti!

What's not to like? (c) Yummy Tummy Aarti

Photo of Punjab, India by Karishma Shaikh

A Punjabi thali is not an easy feat to conquer. This royal treat is loaded with ghee and is not for weaklings. In this modest thali, you will find aloo kulcha, Punjabi chole, paneer tikka, butter chicken, tandoori chicken, Aloo Paratha, Dal Makhani, Kadi Chaval, Rajma Chaval, Makke Di Roti, and Sarso Da Sagh. Oh let's not forget a glass of Sweet Lassi to wash this rich thali down!

A load of flavours incoming (c) magicpin

Photo of Uttar Pradesh, India by Karishma Shaikh

A thali from Uttar Pradesh is filled with dal, veggies, and desserts but don’t forget the Mughal influence on their cuisine. The Biryani from Lucknow, kakori kebabs from Kanpur, Pasanda from Rampur, and the pethas from Agra.

West India

A true royal treat (c) About Jaipur

Photo of Rajasthan, India by Karishma Shaikh

By adding a tinge of Royalty, Rajasthan defines what a Thali should look like. Dal Batti and Gatte ki Sabzi adorn the plate along with the roti’s made of Bajra, Makka, and Jowar. This is the quintessential thali of India.

Get in my belly please. (c) curly tales

Photo of Gujarat, India by Karishma Shaikh

Just like Kashmir is a meat lovers paradise, Gujarat is a vegetarian’s paradise. A Gujarati thali will treat you to thepla, maal purah, puri, bhakhri, and puran-pohli, hari and khakhra, dal-dhokli, chevdoh, dhokla, undhiyu, khaman, bhusu, fafda, dhokli, papdi, and sev mamra. BRB, you’ll find me next in Gujarat!

Shades of yellow (c) LBB

Photo of Maharashtra, India by Karishma Shaikh

From Waran Bhat (Dal rice) to Amaras on the same plate, Maharashtrians play with the flavours on their Thalis. They are known for their spicy non-veg curries and a wide range of pickles.

I would kill for the fish fry right about now (c) LBB

Photo of Goa, India by Karishma Shaikh

Goan thalis are here to beat their beaches when it comes to the #1 reason why people love Goa. Fish fry, rice, coconut, seafood, and yes, all loaded with kokum are delicious. The most popular Goan curry is Vindaloo, have you tried it?

South India

The Banana leaf is adding to the charm (c) Homegrown

Photo of Andhra Pradesh, India by Karishma Shaikh

This is a delightful thali that is entirely served on a banana leaf. The Andhra Pradesh thali begins with a load of ghee rice, followed by Charu (rasam), vegetables, and pickles. The Thali must end with curd rice so save some space, always! For dessert, you will be served Rava Laddoo or Bandhar Laddoo.

That parota looks yumm (c) Easy Diner

Photo of Telangana, India by Karishma Shaikh

As a relatively new state that used to be a part of Andhra Pradesh until 2013, their cuisine and Thalis are very similar to their sister state. Telangana offers three types of thalis vegetarian, non-vegetarian, and seafood thalis and does not believe in desserts. *Insert sad song here*

I see the no rule to the thali (c) Metro Saga

Photo of Karnataka, India by Karishma Shaikh

When it comes to thalis, the Kannadigas don’t believe in rules. The Kannadiga thali is a beautiful blend of flavours that contains liberal helpings of rice, sambhar, kootu. It consists of akki roti, padavalkayi masala (snakegourd curry), badane ennegai (stuffed brinjal), ranjaka (chilli-garlic chutney), gattisoppu (lentils and greens), mirchi bhajji kosambari (moong dal salad), and a bowl of homemade yogurt.

Where should I start? (c)Vidhyas Vegetarian Kitchen

Photo of Kerala, India by Karishma Shaikh

Kerala is also known for hot and spicy food that is severed on banana leaves. Coconut oil, mustard seeds, curry leaves, and coconut milk dominated the flavour of the curries on a traditional thali. The cherry on the top is their dessert: Payasam.

The Tamil Spread (c) Ribbons and Pastas

Photo of Tamil Nadu, India by Karishma Shaikh

A traditional Tamilian thali gives the eater a bowl full of rasam, dals, and various puriyals (vegetables), curries and curd rice with munchies like chakli and banana chips.

East India

Those pakodas look yumm (c) food talk India

Photo of Bihar, India by Karishma Shaikh

A Bhojpuri thali should be on every traveller’s list. The diverse platter boasts of dishes such as Litti Chokha, Bharbhara (green gram fritters), Dahi Chura (curd with rice flakes), Sattu ka Paratha, Kaale Chane, Gurma (raw mango chutney), and Rasiyaaw (rice dessert).

This is why India is the ultimate food destination (c) India the destiny

Photo of Jharkhand, India by Karishma Shaikh

An elaborate thali of Jharkhand consists of dhania-lasoon chutney, dhuska, and alu-chana curry, kurthi dal, urad dal dumplings made with tomato puree, lal saag & marwa rotis made of rice and ragi flours with mutton ka jhol and dehati chicken added to the non-veg thali.

Meat and boiled vegetables loaded with flavour (c) khanti Odia Recipes

Photo of Orissa, India by Karishma Shaikh

The Oriya thali is considered the healthiest thali of India, as they use restrained amounts of oil and spices. But do not doubt the richness of flavour. It consists of roti, rice, phakala (rice in fermented and spiced curd), dalma, karela bhaja (bitter gourd fries), alu posto, baingan chatka, phulgobi kosha, tamato khatta, and the divinely delicious kanika (sweetened rice-lentil khichdi).

Fish and foodgasms (c) Tripadvisor

Photo of West Bengal, India by Karishma Shaikh

Now let’s cater to the fish lovers. From Begun Bhaja, Patol Bhaja, Shukto, Shaak and Alu Bhaaja to Cholaar Dal, Bhaat (rice), Maach Bhaja (fish fry), Maccher Kalia (fish curry) and Kosha Mangsho (mutton in thick gravy). And, drumroll for the nation's faviourte desserts, Rosogullas. This Bengali fest will stay with you long after the meal is over.

Central India

You are spoiled for choice (c) RitiRiwaz

Photo of Chhattisgarh, India by Karishma Shaikh

With the Chhattisgarhi thali, you will be spoiled for choices. With dishes like fara, rice pakoras, dehati vada and muthiya. The Chattisgarhi Thali stands out with its variety of breads like angakar poori, paan roti, and chusela. In desserts, watch out for the gulgulle, kusli and sweet fara.

Different influences in that plate (c) magicpin

Photo of Madhya Pradesh, India by Karishma Shaikh

The heart of India takes influence from Gujarat and Rajasthan. You’ll find Butte ki Kee, dal bafla, Poha, and Shikanji. What’s not to like?

Northeast India

This is something I could eat everyday (c)Onmanorama

Photo of Manipur, India by Karishma Shaikh

A simple Manipuri thali is centered around fish, steamed vegetables, and sticky rice. Manipuri thali includes eromba (fermented hidol fish and vegetables), sinju (cabbage and local greens salad), thanbou (lotus stems), ooti (peas curry), chareng (a fish curry), pakora thongba (gram flour curry), manikha (a mix of brinjal and fish oil), kangsoi (veg stew), chambut (boiled papaya), kangsoi (boiled dry fish).

A healthy option of thali (c) mansworldIndia

Photo of Assam, India by Karishma Shaikh

An Assamese meal begins with a delicacy called Khar, which is a curry made with raw papaya, lentils, and powdered dry banana skins. It is followed by pura (smoked meat or fish), poitabhat, pitika, shaak bhaji (green leafy vegetable), bor (fritters) and pickle.

From Thupaks to Momos, they have everything (c)LBB

Photo of Sikkim, India by Karishma Shaikh

Sikkim had me at momos. The rest of the thali comprises of Dalle chili and tomato chutney, thukpa, gundruk (fermented leafy green vegetables), chhurpi ka achaar (yak cheese pickle), ningro curry (fiddle-head curry gravy), sel roti (doughnut-shaped bread), shimi ka achaar (string beans and sesame pickle). It is a food lover's dream destination.

Food loaded with seaseme seeds (c) magicpin

Photo of Meghalaya, India by Karishma Shaikh

Another state that believes in healthy food and hence boiled vegetable is a staple. Puklein is another delicious snack available all over Meghalaya. Black sesame is used in almost every dish.

Loaded with flavours (c) pickyourtrail

Photo of Arunachal Pradesh, India by Karishma Shaikh

From food cooked with a lot of Bamboo shoots and in a non-spicy way, Arunachal Pradesh offers a wide range of thalis from breakfast to dinner. Most people rely on pork meat and some fermented products like cheese and soybeans.

I think I'll move to Mizoram (c)Travike

Photo of Mizoram, India by Karishma Shaikh

The Mizo thali drives its inspiration from the various tribal communities of the seven sisters. The Mizo cuisine focuses mainly on non-veg meals and consists of Vawksa (smoked pork), Samtawk, Bai (soup), Hmarcha Rawt (Chilli chutney), Any kind of Chhum (Salad) Like beans chow chow cluster beans, Behiiang.

A typical pork thali (c) tripadvisor

Photo of Nagaland, India by Karishma Shaikh

Naga cuisine comprises a variety of recipes from each tribe residing there. The thali would include boiled veggies, rice, Galho is one famous naga khichidi which are prepared in many ways with veggie & meats and Naga chilli chutney. The thali would end with the traditional Rice beer.

Such simple and yet flavourful food (c) magicpin

Photo of Tripura, India by Karishma Shaikh

The thali from Tripura is healthy and tasty, like its sisters, and comprises of majority non-veg items. The most famous item in their Mui Borok thali usually are - Khichuri, Begun Bhaja, Tomato Chutney, Aaloo sabzi, Fish Stews, Mua.

Phew, that was a long train of food through the entire country and I am sure you are drooling for some great food now. This is the beauty of India; it connects people from all across the country through the language of food. A language that does not need any words, just feelings, and love. So, this Independence Day, go ahead and prepare (or order if you aren’t the MasterChef) a thali from one of your neighbouring states and enjoy the true diversity of this country that we call “Home”.

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