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In the olden days 'Pattal' (platters for food) was made as a doily of leaves. 'Dona' (bowls were made with of leaves as well. These were disposable items used to serve food.
Apart from these the thali is very integral to Indian food. An entire Indian meal is served at once in bowls arranged on the periphery of a thali. Most of the traditional tableware was made of brass, copper, or kansa. The food surface was coated with tin (kalai). Silver with gold trim in tableware was used for the rich class. Nowadays, most of the tableware is made of stainless steel.
Indian food is very diverse. There are many different food items available in Indian meals. Thali is one such meal. Many dishes are presented in one serving. Thali is generally a full plate of meal in which there is a variety of vegetables, lentils (daals), chutney, non-vegetarian dishes, papads, pickles, curd and also sweets served with rice or chapatis. Eating from a ‘thali’ is quite common in most parts of India. Thalis are one of the most delicious and inexpensive dishes that one will encounter throughout India.
A thali is a round metal plate in which a number of bowls are arranged along the boundary of the plate. In South India the Thali is on a banana leaf. There are different types of vegetable curries in the small bowls. In the centre of the thali is the rice and chapatis. Every region of India has different types of thalis. The North Indian thali has got vegetables like beans or cottage cheese vegetable along with puris (wheat bread rolled into small circular shapes & deep fried in hot oil), or chapatis (rotis- wheat bread rolled into large circular shapes & shallow fried over a hot tawa),in Rajasthan the thali has gate ki sabji and papad ki sabji. The non-vegetarian thali has one non-vegetarian dish that contains spice of that region. The flavor of each thali is unique to its region. Thalis sometimes go even by the regional characteristic of the items they have. For example one may encounter Rajasthani thali or Gujarati thali , the Kerala way of Thali is known as Sadya.