Serving secrets

Serving secrets

Such a ritual may not be feasible today. But good food needs tableware to match. And restaurateurs and chefs understand the significance of parosna (serving) in Indian cuisine.

Art on a plate: Jalebis at Varq; and (right) Kainoosh’s frosted glass and brass thali. Photographs by Divya Babu/Mint
Kebab shots: Varq finds creative, new ways to serve Indian food.

At Kainoosh, the food is served in a traditional thali, with a few variations. Instead of steel or copper, the plate is made of frosted glass, with six katoris (bowls) of tinned brass. “Katoris are a must with Indian food. An array of katoris with different foods serves the purpose of neutralizing and breaking food fatigue," says Sikka.

There are differently shaped katoris for different foods. The shallow ones are for food that needs better display, such as a shank of lamb or stuffed karela (bitter gourd); deeper and narrower ones are used for liquid foods such as dal or yogurt.

Lounge food columnist Pamela Timms marvels at what colourful linen can do for a table. “Indian food tends to look the same colour, like all dals, curries, sambhar, etc. So it’s a good idea to set tableware off against vibrant tablecloths and napkins." Also, she recommends glazed earthenware crockery that’s made in Auroville. “The hammered steel trays you find in Old Delhi can be used as rice trays or to serve some dry snacks," she adds.