Monday, April 30, 2012

Thali Dinner

By the end of Week 1 of April's Blogging Marathon, I had already completed all the recipes lined up for Week 2, so I was again free to cook whatever I wanted, regardless of theme.  I happened to have a house guest that weekend.  I woke up on Sunday morning to a day that was a little gray, so I was in no mood to go to the store, so I wanted to cook with whatever ingredients were on hand.

My friend had come over with some food too.  She had been telling me about something called Black Fish.  I said I had never heard of it.  She was surprised - she is from the Dominican Republic and my dad is from Haiti - much of the food is very similar.  They do share the same island, after all.  She wanted to come over and make it for me.  She came in with her bag of ingredients on Saturday..and then I realized what this Black Fish is smoked herring. She just didn't know the proper name for it.  I HATE smoked herring - the smell, the taste..everything about it!  Whenever my parents would make this smelly fish, my sister and I would hide in our bedroom with the door closed, waiting for the smell to go away.  My parents always had to make something different for us on the days they cooked this.  Even if they tried, they would not even have been able to force feed us this!  My friend felt so bad, but I told her don't...she had no way of knowing how much I despise this dish.  She went ahead and made it for her breakfast Sunday morning, while I ate some leftover oatmeal.

I figured she had gone to all this effort the least I could do is repay the favor and cook a grand dinner for her.  I had been so inspired from all the amazing feasts featured in my fellow Blogging Marathoners who chose to do the Indian thali meals.  I had seen so many recipes I wanted to try and thought wow I have enough Indian recipes for a year.  Instead of them just staying in my bookmarks without me ever looking at them, I decided I would do my own thali, using only one recipe per blog, to highlight as many of my blogger friends' talents as possible.

She had also brought over some veggies that she knows I love, specifically beets and okra.  There was some extra leftover staples after she had made the herring - tomatoes, cilantro, etc. that I knew I had all the ingredients to make a mini-thali for dinner.  Invite some more friends over for a wonderful Sunday meal!

I came up with this menu for my mini-thali Indian dinner.  I wasn't trying to make an authentic thali from a specific region of India, so this is a hodgepodge thali from areas of the whole country.

Methi Gota

wonderful appetizer fritters made with chickpea flour (via Pradnya) - I added 6 tablespoons of water to make the batter the perfect consistency.  This is actually very similar to something we make in the Caribbean called phulourie, except we make it with ground channa dal (yellow split peas)...her chickpea flour based ones I loved as much as phulourie

Toor Dal Chutney 

chutney made from split pigeon peas..a new one for me (via Harini) -  I am accustomed to chutney's being smooth and creamy as in coriander chutney or tamarind chutney.  This one is coarse and even a little crunchy.  I added 6 tablespoons of tamarind extract when I did her recipe.
Coconut Podi

a wonderful spice powder that I accompanied with brown Basmati rice, cooked in rice cooker with frozen green peas (via Rasi) - I followed her recipe exactly, except I used dried dessicated grated coconut, as I didn't have any fresh.

Bhindi Patata

stir fry made with potatoes and okra (via Vaishalli) - I added more water to this because I like the okra cooked a little softer.  I've never cooked okra this way before, stuffing it with a spicy spice paste and it was super delicious!

Mutton Chukka

lamb simmered in a coconut-poppy seed curry (via Priya)  - I had to make my own variation of this because I didn't have any more poppy seeds, so I substituted black sesame seeds.  I used a regular pot, instead of a pressure cooker. I used leg of lamb meat and her recipe didn't specify black or green cardamom - I used black.

...I still had some leftover Mango Coconut Flan, so that was dessert

the only thing missing was roti and dahl..with the next day's leftover's Missi Roti was added (via Aarthi) - for my detailed methodology for making her roti, see time, I will make a complete thali and include dahl also!

Although not all of these recipes were specifically posted as part of the Thali theme, they became part of my Thali

The whole meal, except the dessert can be done in about 2 hours, so next time you have dinner guests coming over, impress them all with this authentic Indian meal!

Chef Mireille


  1. Mireille...u r thali has left me speechless...I think this is the best efforted me u being a foreigner..have put in so much effort and cooked from everyones blog..super!!..Thanks for choosing Bhindi Patata from my blog..they look delicious..great job!!

  2. This is such a great feeling...almost like a virtual potluck party...i m so glad you enjoyed the gotas...i will now search for the carribean phulorie recipe or wait for you to post it some day...

  3. Thali looks fantastic.. its really nice to know that you are such a keen follower of dishes & honored that you did a recipe from mine :).. love the new green background to the blog.. keep rocking :)

  4. very nice.. like the step by step pictures most you have come up with i am tried the similar recipe, you have many of good recipes.. do try to visit my place when time permits love to have your feedback dear ..i have followed u glad if u follow me back.. Have a good day.....!


Thank you for your feedback. All comments are appreciated.
Chef Mireille

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