Sambar, rasam and more

Thali meals are known for their authenticity, wholesomeness, nutritive values and variety on a platter. Pots, bells and a cascading mat with a colourful menu pop up an inviting look outside Baluchi.

The Flavoursome Thali festival is here as Executive Chef Parimal Sawant, sous Chef Deepu Joseph and team put up extravagant and sumptuous thalis from Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

You can opt for Chettinad or Malabari thali depending upon your palate and mood. Being a hard core South Indian vegetarian, we called for selections from both the states.

It was disappointing to find regular starters like dal vadai or paniyarams replaced with sweet and savoury banana chips (anyway mandatory in Mallu meals) with puli inji or ginger-tamarind sauce and buttermilk spiked with green chillies were served at the outset.

Chettinad Veg Thali

Puli rasam (tamarind) made for a tangy soup. On the gravy front, this thali puts forth kathirikai kulambu consisting of baby eggplant in piquant sauce with Madras masalas – a bit on the spicier side but tasty; and vazhakkai mor kuzambu (raw banana in yoghurt gravy) while the side dishes were delicious paneer Chettinaad, gun powder potato and beans poriyal sautéed with onion and coconut.

All these went with appams and steamed rice. Cardamom-flavoured Sweet pongal made it to the finale with its creamy smoothness. Chettinad fish grilled, chicken kuzambu and mutton varuwal are the additional dishes on the non-veg plate.

Malabari Veg thali

This platter came with Malabar paratha and brown rice. Luscious tomato rasam, paruppu (lentil) curry and side-dishes of beans thoran, a kootu curry made of black chick pea, yam and raw banana in coconut-based mix with Kerala spices lent a flavoursome taste.

Puli inji had the perfect balance of sweet and sour elements. Nutritious Paruppu payasam was the sweet dish in this thali. Non-vegetarians can savour kozi varuthathu, malabari fish curry, mutton mappas – all typical Kerala fare.

Strong filter kaapi served in traditional glass-dawara made our day after a fantastic thali meal.

What: Flavoursome Thali (veg and non-veg)

When: November 15 to 30

Where: Baluchi, The Lalit Mumbai