Thali (Hindi: थाली, Nepali: थाली; meaning "plate") is an Indian and Nepalese meal made up of a selection of various dishes. Thali dishes vary from region to region in South Asia and are usually served in small bowls, called katori, which are placed on a round tray, the actual thali; often a steel tray made with multiple compartments is used. Typical dishes include rice, dal, vegetables, roti, papad, curd (yoghurt), small amounts of chutney or pickle, and a sweet dish to top it off. Restaurants typically offer a choice of vegetarian or meat-based thalis.
Depending on the restaurant or the region, the thali consists of delicacies native to that region. In general, a thali begins with different types of breads such as puris or chapatis (rotis), and different vegetarian specialities (curries).
In some restaurants, a thali may include "bottomless" refills on all components of food, the idea is that one eats until fully satisfied; such thalis are referred to as "unlimited" thalis. In some places the term means that everything on the plate, except a few items, like the sweet dish or dahi vada, is open to unlimited helpings.
Thalis are sometimes referred to by the regional characteristic of the dishes they contain. For example one may encounter Nepalese thali, Rajasthani thali, Gujarati thali and Maharashtrian thali. In many parts of India and Nepal, the bread and the rice portions are not served together in the thali. Typically, the bread is offered first with rice being served afterwards, often in a separate bowl or dish.
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