India is a vibrant country with colour in textiles, streets and food. The captivating cuisine is where most foodies settle down for hearty, tasty, and healthy meals. Indian cuisine makes use of many vegetables and spices. Both of which add an abundance of nutrients. Indian cuisine has tantalized the taste buds of the world. It’s one of the most celebrated cuisines globally. Within the vast culinary landscape of Indian cuisine, the thali is celebrated across regions. It’s a symbol of tradition and flavours.
The significance of thali
The thali is a circular silver/steel platter that carries different food items. It’s a food canvas, with different elements coming together in harmony. It’s got compartments that segregate one food dish from another. While some can be poured into the main item like the rice or bread, the others would need to be separated to enjoy.
Chicken thalis come in all kinds of flavours for a meaty indulgence and leave you wanting more. Chicken thalis carry you through different preparations of chickens that are popular across different regions so you can get a taste of culturally diverse dishes and learn more about what makes them stand apart.
Varieties of chicken thali
Chicken thalis is not a rigid construct in the culinary world. The way it’s made changes across different regions. For instance, in North Indian chicken thalis, you may notice the use of more dairy products, while in South Indian chicken thalis, you may notice the use of coconut milk.
- Chicken butter masala curry: this is a staple in many chicken thalis. A butter masala gravy is rich and decadent. It elevates the thali and almost makes it seem celebratory. The unique flavour profile comes with a rich curry infused with cream and nuts.
- Chicken tikka: marinated chicken chunks cooked in a tandoor oven. Chicken tikka has a charred, smoky flavour from the tandoor that brings out the best kind of heat from the spices. It’s a drier preparation of chicken and can be enjoyed as an appetizer or the main dish.
- Chicken stir fry: chicken stir fry is a lighter dish when compared to the above two dishes. Stir fries are often enjoyed with thalis as they bring in a healthy mix of veggies. Veggies like carrots, mushrooms, bell peppers, etc, are stir-fried with some chicken. These carry a light flavour and amp up the nutritional value.
- Palak chicken: this is when chicken is prepared with spinach. It’s got the nutrients of lean protein and the fibre and iron from the spinach. The gravy often has cashews for some creaminess.
Elevating the chicken thali experience :
The chicken thali includes one or more chicken dishes. This brings in the protein that you need for a balanced diet. Chicken thali is incomplete without its accompaniments. The chicken is only a side dish, after all.
Rice: rice is what brings in the necessary carbs into the thali. It’s been a staple in most Asian cuisines. It acts as a neutral base for the chicken base.
Bread/roti: These flatbreads are the perfect tool to scoop up curries. They bring in necessary carbs that provide a sustainable source of energy.
Raita: a yogurt-based dish that includes cucumber, tomato and boondi. It provides a cooling effect, which is much needed when consuming meat.
Salad: a simple selection of cut vegetables is presented. These are to be had before everything else. This helps your body get the fibre it requires.
Final thoughts :
The chicken thali brings forth a meal that is both nutritious and tasty. And because it comes in a lot of variety, there’s always something to choose from. Trying different types of chicken thali can help you understand and explore the culinary secrets of the various regions within India.
Also read – Exploring the World of Indian Thalis
A food enthusiast and a blogger – someone who likes to eat and write about it. I’m passionate about exploring different cuisines and challenging my palette. I give into my food craving regularly and am often on the hunt to find my new favorite food place in town.