We are huge fans of beautiful cookbooks, especially if we can use them to discover our favorite nooks and crannies of Asia. Few things make us happier than a new book on Indian food, especially when it focuses on a specific region, method of preparation or even a single dish. Thali literally means “plate” in Hindi and described a tray on which a full meal is served with a variety of curries, breads, rice and side dishes. And it is on the art of preparing thali that this book focuses.
And there is a lot to be inspired by, because each Indian region has a different way of putting together a plate. You will find recipes for vegetable wonders, such as kobi vatanachi bhaji from Maharashtra, with cabbage as the main ingredients and tastes best served with a bowl of warming dal and chapatti bread.
However, this is not a vegetarian book, so if you eat meat, you can try your hand at cooking Goa’s famous version of chicken in a sauce called xacuti (coconut, chilli, black pepper… and poppy seed).
However, I was most intrigued by the recipe for stewed eggplant seasoned with coconut and tamarind paste from Andhra Pradesh and slightly sweet broad beans from Gujarat, with Indian cumin and unrefined sugar. You will also find some ideas for desserts and snacks, and at the very end: suggestions for thali inspired by specific regions. If I had to choose only one, my choice would be Gujarati Thali!