Hardie Grant (2021)

Balance is key to wellbeing, particularly when it comes to eating meals that balance different food groups, flavors, and health benefits. A traditional Indian thali (platter) meal inherently adopts this harmonious approach to nutrition, as Maunika Gowardhan explains in her second cookbook, "Thali." The Mumbai-born and UK-based author shows us why a thali meal is also the best way to understand the six aspects — “hot, sour, spicy, crispy, tangy and sweet” — that govern taste. Gowardhan invites readers to “build your own thali,” recreating the balance of flavors and nutritional value of a traditional meal. Regional dishes like Rajasthani achari kaddu ki sabzi (sauteed spicy pumpkin), Konkani fansachi bhaji (coconut and jackfruit stir-fry — a nod to her Maharashtrian roots), and Bengali begun pora (smoked eggplant) are an eye-opening view to the geographical diversity and seasonal wisdom of India’s different regions. 

DIALOGUE | Q&A with Maunika Gowardhan

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The Benefits

Maunika Gowardhan explains how:

  • A thali is a balance of flavors and food groups
  • A thali offers a platter of nutritious Indian regional dishes
  • Meals can bring creativity and nourishment on a platter