Cook's Hideout: Simple Vegetarian Tamil Nadu Thali

May 24, 2014

Simple Vegetarian Tamil Nadu Thali

Blogging Marathon# 40: Week 4/ Day 1
Theme: Bookmarked recipes from BM# 39
Dish: Tamil Nadu Thali
Today we are starting the final week of blogging marathon# 40. After posting the unused posts from last month's mega marathon, this week's theme is still related to the mega marathon. I'm going to post the bookmarked recipes from my fellow marathoners for the next 3 days.
Mega marathon was sure mega in lots of different ways -- mega research, mega posts, mega yapping on Whatsapp and then mega bookmarked posts after the marathon itself. I had bookmarked a lot of dishes, which I'm sure I will not be able to get to if not for this theme. After seeing so many amazing thalis during the marathon, I'm kind of obsessed with the thali concept. So for the next 3 days, I decided to do 3 thalis with bookmarked recipes.
For the first day, I have a very simple thali from Tamil Nadu. Initially I was planning to make an elaborate thalis like the ones Sandhya & Nalini posted. But one the day I planned to cook, one dish after the other got dropped out of the list and in the end it was an extremely simple thali with everyday dishes. In case you are wondering what I took off the list, I planned to make masala vada/ paruppu vadai, sundal and a lentil based dessert.
Simple Vegetarian Tamil Nadu Thali

Finally this is what my Thali consisted of:
Simple Vegetarian Tamil Nadu Thali

Simple Vegetarian Tamil Nadu Thali

Simple Vegetarian Tamil Nadu Thali
Kootu: I used Sandhya's Chow-chow kootu recipe and since I didn't have chow-chow (chayote), I used bottle gourd/ sorakaya instead. The use of ground masala paste gives this dish a lot of flavor and it goes well with both rice and roti.
Simple Vegetarian Tamil Nadu Thali
Bottle gourd/ Sorakaya - 1 small, peeled and diced (or use 2 chayote/ Bangalore vankaya)
Masoor dal - ½cup 
Coconut - ¼cup grated, fresh or frozen
Green Chilies - 2~3, slit
Cumin seeds - 1tsp
Raw rice - 1tsp
Turmeric powder - ¼tsp
Salt - to taste

For Tempering:
Urad dal - 1tsp
Mustard seeds - 1tsp
Dry red chilies - 2
Asafoetida/ Hing - ½tsp
Curry leaves - 8~10


  • Pressure cook the dal and veggies until tender using enough water. Alternately dal can be pressure cooked and veggies can be cooked separately in the microwave.
  • Grind coconut, cumin seeds, green chilies and rice to a smooth paste adding just enough water.
  • Once the dal and vegetables are cooked through, add the ground paste, turmeric and salt; let it come to a boil. Cook for about 10 more minutes till the kootu reaches the desired consistency.
  • Heat 2tsp oil in a small saucepan; add the urad dal, mustard seeds, dry red chilies and asafoetida/ hing. Once the seeds start to splutter, add the curry leaves and add this to the simmering dal.
Tomato Rasam: Tamilians sure know how to make a mean rasam. So I just followed Sandhya's recipe for rasam and it sure was super tasty.
Simple Vegetarian Tamil Nadu Thali
Tomato - 1 large, chopped
Tamarind paste - 1tbsp
Green Chili - 1, chopped
Toor dal - ¼cup
Rasam Powder/ Sambar powder - 1tsp
Asafoetida/ Hing - ¼tsp
Salt - to taste
Sugar - ½tsp
Cilantro - 2tbsp, finely chopped
Mustard seeds - 1tsp

  • In a sauce pan; combine tamarind paste, chopped tomato and green chili and 1 cup of water. Heat on medium-low flame. Add the rasam/ sambar powder, asafoetida, salt and sugar and let the mixture come to a boil partially covered and simmer for about 10~15 minutes or until the liquid reduces to half of its quantity.
  • In the meantime, pressure cook the toor dal until very soft and mash it well with 1~2 cups of water. 
  • Once the rasam boils well, add the mashed dal to the saucepan and also add the cilantro leaves.
  • Let the rasam come to a soft boil, just until it froths up. Do not let the rasam boil too vigorously. Turn off the flame.
  • In another small saucepan; heat 1tsp ghee and add the mustard seeds. Once the seeds start to splutter, add them to the rasam and keep it covered until ready to serve.
Lets check out what my fellow marathoners have cooked today for BM# 40


  1. Omg, ur thali makes me hungry even after i finished with my lunch, those dishes are simply delicious.

  2. This thali itself looks elaborate to me. If you had cooked all sides you had planned to, it would have been a mega elaborate thali. Wonderful job! Even I have a long list of bookmarked recipes and don't know when I will try all those recipes!

  3. What a lovely thali! All the dishes look great.

  4. Lovely recipes Pavani and this is not simple....Such a elaborate meal for the bookmarked theme :)

  5. The thali is by no means looks just perfect!..lovely dishes and they look inviting, I have yet to do thalis from South..I am book marking..will come back for reference!..well made and well presented.

  6. Wow! Lovely homey recipes. Love these everyday kind of recipes.

  7. That surely looks so inviting Pavani, all the dishes look so complementing and so delicious..very well done..

  8. Wow ! Love.y thali and all dishes looks yummy ..especially mango pachadi...

  9. Lovely platter. A south Indian style thali like that is welcome anytime. :)

  10. Delicious thali. Love the mango pachadi.


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