The best part of Indian food is that it is always cooked fresh and people love eating it piping hot. Every item in Indianthali has a role to play in boosting a person’s health. While bread and rice recipes offer the carbohydrate, the seasoning made of oil and spices supplies the required amount of fat and anti-oxidants. Pulses and legumes are rich sources of proteins and starters like salad offer vitamins and fibers. Thus, a complete Indian thali is a storehouse of good health and energy. In addition, there are certain side dishes that not only enhance the flavor of the whole food but also contribute to the health benefits that a complete meal provides. Some of the side dishes worth knowing about are:
a. Homemade pickle: Pickling is not just preparation but a tradition followed in Indian kitchens. As soon as the season of raw mangoes arrive and the sun starts shining its brightest, Indian women start canning the cut and diced raw mangoes in salt and other spices and cook it in solar heat.
The availability of certain vegetables in an aseasonal manner (like turnips and cauliflower are found in markets in abundance in winters mostly) allows Indian women to have freshly prepared pickles throughout the year.
Summer season corresponds to the canning and pickling of raw mangoes. Chilli and lemon pickles another variety that can be made anytime during a year. Thus, homemade pickle bottles refuse to leave the eating table no matter what season is going around.
These add a lot of taste and are responsible for the spicy flavor that people search for. If any food is cooked bland, just have a little pickle as a side dip, and your taste-buds get the flavor this desire.
b. Raita: In addition to homemade achaar, what Indian foodies love to call pickles as, there are a number of raita recipes that offer dependable side dish in Indian thali. Raita is nothing but beaten and whisked curd with vegetables and spices added into it. Some fruits like pomegranate seeds, pineapple, and mangoes can also be added in this curd recipe.
One of the most common raita recipes cucumber raita. The shredded cucumber is combined with the beaten curd. You can adjust the consistency of the recipe by adding water. However, in the case of cucumber raita, adding a lot of water is to be avoided. It is because the cucumber oozes a lot of water when salt is mixed or otherwise. Thus, only adding cucumber can help attain the required consistency.
The most important health benefit of raita is that it helps maintain probiotic bacteria in the gut. Good bacteria promotes a healthy gut. Also, people suffering from acidity and indigestion find much relief in curd-based recipes like this.
c. Papad: A flat, dry, and round-shaped and ready-to-roast disc is made from some pulses cooked and needed into a dough. Some papad recipes are made using potatoes, rice, and sago too. This side dish offers something to munch upon with the main course. This side dish is flavored and can be spiced up by sprinkling tangy chat masala or black salt and pepper combination on it. This side dish is also known for improving digestion along with providing more flavor to the Indian thali.
So, next time when you go out to eat an Indian thali, take a look at the side dishes it offers. Do not hesitate to ask for a lime pickle or sour mango or chili pickle when dining at some friend’s place. These side dishes most probably will available in any Indian house.