In India most dishes are served at the same time in a Thali. Curries and lentils or gravy/sauced items go into small bowls, and dry-cooked accompaniments are placed directly on the plate/thal.
A thal is a platter and the thali is a way of serving an Indian meal. The thali is a well balanced meal with dishes that include rice, dal, vegetables, flat breads, yoghurt, chutney, pickle,papad and a sweet dish.
It is a delightful way of dining Indian. The meal is balanced (infact, it could be construed to be a form of a dietary pyramid). The tastes are well rounded from the sublime yogurts to the fiery curries, from the fresh salads to the pickled vegetables, from the sweet to the sour chutneys. The texture too runs the gamit from the crunchy papads to the softness of the rice and the soupy lentils.
© Kavita Mehta
photo credit Ben S