Gujarati and its vivid vegetarian platter is a popular treat. While I have always been a fan of Gujarati snacks like Dhoklas, Khandwa and Aam Ras, the real interplay of its rich flavors was only introduced to me during my trip to Ahmedabad when I tried their majestic Thali. And what stroked me the most was, the practice every server would follow as you call for a thali in any
Restaurant. As soon as you place your order you would be promptly asked to make a choice between ‘Gujarati thali and the ‘Kathiyawaid’ thali. It is advisable to ask them about the contents of the thali before making the choice while a Kathiyawadi thali is often only described as a spicier and greasy variant of a Gujarati Thali, there lots more left to be explored.
Kathiawar is a peninsula in western Gujarat and a part of what is known as the Saurashtra region of Gujarat. The coastal region just like the rest of Gujarat has a high count of vegetarians. But what differentiates the Kathiawari thali from the Gujarati thali is its characteristic use of spices, which is mellowed to great extent in ties central counterpart, and also its generous use of garlic and onions. Buttermilk or lassi forms an essential part of the Kathiawari thali, instead of the aam ras which usually starts as an opener for a Gujarati Thali. In winters, temperature and this spicy platter help them keep up with inhospitable weather conditions.
What does the great thali comprise of? Kathiyawadi thali impresses from the very start itself. The papad and tideland march, or fried green chilies, served right at the beginning give a perfect opening to the grand feast. The papad makes a re-entry in a curried form with papad kid sabzi. Sev Tamatar Subzi (chickpea noodles in tomato gravy), Dahi Bhindi, tindora nu Shaak (sweet-and-savory ivy gourd), and dal follows soon after. There are also some seasonal dishes added in Thali for a short them when fresh produce is available like Ringana Methi Nu Shaak (eggplant cooked with fenugreek leaves) or Bharela Rinagan(stuffed eggplant) Lasania Bataka(boiled potatoes cooked in ginger garlic and tomato mix) and Kathiawadi Dhokali nu Shak(besan dumplings in spicy gravy)are also some of the popular delicacies you would find in the thali. Rotli(Rotis) and Bakhris(a coarser bread made of bajra) with huge dollops of ghee or butter is another common find in a typical Kathiawadi thali. However, it is the spicy Tikhari or kadhai( unlike its sweet counterpart in the Gujarati thali) and Khichdi or Undhiyo that thali. After your meal, you must try Gol and Kathiawadis that is made with melt-in-mouth jaggery and desi ghee, to conclude the lavish treat.
By a food enthusiast