I am a little behind on my photo challenges, but I will do my best to post them in retrospect!
I absolutely loved Indian food – especially idlis for breakfast 🙂
A perfect meal for lunchtime is a typical thali – literally, plate – and the best ones seemed to be had in Kerala, such as this vegetarian thali at Ariya Niwas in Trivandrum.
As you can see a thali consists of a big plate filled with little bowls containing various dishes, ranging from sambhar or dal (thin curries) to thick brinjal (aubergine) curry, served with curd, a paratha (bread) and some papads. Often the bowls will continue to be refilled until you have had enough.
The idea is to first dish on the paratha – tearing off pieces and using those to grab hold of some of the thicker curries. Once the paratha is mastered, someone will come and pile a heap of rice in the middle of your thali.
This is the point where you have two choices: go the easy way and grab the spoon… or you can be daring and do it the Indian way, using the ‘other’ cutlery you have: your hand! (any proper restaurant will have a washroom in the vicinity, solely for this purpose, so don’t worry 😉 your ‘spoon’ will be clean)
I decided to accept the challenge. One warning though: you might need to overcome some mental barrier here… Mine consisted of hearing my mom in the back of my mind, telling me off, just like when I was little: “Don’t play with your food! Use your spoon!”
So I started with pouring one of the more liquid curries on top of my rice. Next I used my hand to gently mix it slightly together and off I went!
Step 1: use all five fingers to make a little heap of rice plus curry. Step 2: twist your hand and, using your thumb, scoop the rice onto the top end of your middle finger, ring finger and pinky. Keeping your thumb in the vicinity when you are done (you will still need him!). Step 3: now bring your scooped hand to your mouth and use your thumb to slide the rice into your mouth – keep your hand sideways and slide from the middle finger to the pinky.
Once you get the hang of it, it is actually not as difficult as you might expect! And I can proudly say that I finished the entire plate without ever reaching for the spoon (and with minimum spillage). It even got me a compliment for my perseverance 🙂