The great Indian thali/ Plating Indian food


Another one from my instagram account which I want to keep here too. Sukha mutton and cauliflower with roti and dahi

In my endeavour to follow my yoga teacher’s advice to have vegetarian meals at night, I am trying to push my non-veg consumption to the afternoon and this is an example of that. His logic is that non-veg is hard to digest. The body can’t rest till the food is digested. I want to sleep earlier than I do so I am trying to implement this and see. 


His other advice is to eat earlier. At least by 9 pm and lunch latest by 1 pm. That requires lifestyle and working pattern changes and is tougher though.


He has also said that at my level of very minimal physical activity, given that I work from home, I don’t need much non-veg for energy. He can be quite convincing. 


So I took a bit of the alu fulkopi that Banu made last night to balance the Maharashtrian Sukha mutton that Maya Tai made as Banu is bunking today. Maya Tai, who helps to cook and clean when Banu bunks, is Maharashtrian and her curry is coconut based. Unlike what cooks do in many Malvani restaurants here, she has not bulldozed the curry with chillies and you can taste the ingredients. The mutton could have been cooked a bit more and I gently gave her the feedback as she can give you a steely look to shut you up. Both Banu and Maya Tai are life savers of course and it’s thanks to them I can have home cooked meals regularly.


The cauliflower is a version of the  Bengali alu fulkopi. I told Banu to make it in the style of the alur dom that the cooks of Peetuk Caterers had taught her to cook at our place. Don’t ask me what the recipe is.


At the last minute I decided to go for a thali style of plating for the picture. I feel that it helps to show that traditional Indian food and traditional Indian plates can look attractive too. Secondly, using a thali, and with no second helpings, can help one achieve better portion control. Yoga theory apparently is that your food intake should be half your fist size. A quarter is left for air and a quarter for water. The stomach is the size of ones clenched fist it seems. That’s a tough one to follow though. Baby steps as I say.


With respect to the cauliflowers, my teacher is not in favour of eating leftovers so I hope he is not on insta.


Here’s a funny story. It took a while for me to adjust to stainless steel plates as a kid. I was fussy and was not used to them in the UK or in Iran where I lived before India, and found them smelly and strange. 


Then I grew up. We used to eat on stainless steel plates while growing up in Kolkata. 


What’s your lunch story today? Truth be told, I have more stories than recipes myself.


Note: Maya Tai is looking for a permanent job in Bandra. Cleaning, cooking. Folks who have contacted her after reading about her on my pages want someone who can come to work before 9 am she told me. She can’t do that unfortunately as she has water problems where she lives



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