Hey guys, over the summer I went to India to visit my family as you might now from my previous posts. Over the course of the trip I had some awesome home cooked meals but some almost as great meals at some of the restaurants we visited.
Thali is a classic Indian dish consisting of some white rice, various curries such as sambar, rasam, and kootu, a mix of vegetables, a sweet, oorga (processed pickled vegetables), curd with some minced vegetables, and finally appalam which is fried black gram flour. The order you eat the different curries is, sambar, rasam, payasam (a sweet dessert) and finally curd rice. Why you eat these curries in this specific order is because the ingredients in each curry affect your digestion. When you put the curries in this order, the ingredients become optimal for the best digestion. This leads me to one of my favorite foods of all time and the first curry you are supposed to eat. Sambar Rice, which was served as part of the Thali. It is a simple dish consisting of sambar which is a South Indian curry, and, well, rice obviously. Even though it sounds so simple, the complexity comes in with the flavor of the sambar. Sambar is made by grinding various types of basic Indian spices like coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, black peppercorns, dry red chilies, fenugreek seeds and cinnamon with chana dal. This mix of ingredients is what makes this so good. In the sambar is also some other vegetables such as drumstick, onions, and carrots. Along with sambar rice was the mix of vegetables which is called poriyal. The poriyal consisted of carrots, green beans, and finely grated coconut, when combined, proved to be a great addition for the sambar rice. Another key piece to the dish was the appalam. Almost like a wonton, the appalam added a crunchy aspect to the dish which made all the difference.