Palakkad Mini Thaali (Thali Ideas)

A Thaali is a 3 course(and above) Indian meal which features a combination of dishes that are wholesome, mix and match with each other in terms of texture and  flavour, and are balanced. India being a country with a huge food culture and heritage there are a great number of thaalis which can be cooked, either within a single cuisine, or a mixture of cuisines that match well.


This is an attempt by me to bring here as many Thaali ideas as possible for you all to create. We all want an balanced meal which takes very little time to create, and this is just that. The Thaalis in this series will range from simple to complex, and festive to on the go thaali’s. 
The below Thaali took me under 60 mins to create. All the recipes mentioned here are also available separately. But here I am giving the whole process of how I went about creating it, and also giving the recipes side by side.
Do let me know in the comment section if I should create more Thaalis like this for you to try. This current one is a simple working day thaali, which one can create before leaving for work(can pack this as lunch as well), or once back home, or any day.

Before I delve into the recipe I would like to give you a small introduction to Palakkad also called Palghat, which is a city in the state of Kerala. It shares its border with Tamilnadu and has a cuisine of its own. Many people are not aware of the amazing dishes this small district in Kerala has and so I am taking it on me to bring you all a few varieties from this cuisine.

This is a cuisine I was born into. Yes, on my paternal and maternal sides I am a Palakkad Iyer. We are a different breed by ourselves, and our cuisine is very unique.
Palakkad people are mostly vegetarians. The dishes are mostly cooked with coconut and usually tempered in coconut oil.
In the blog, I have recipes of Sukhiyan, Adai, etc, which belong to that cuisine.
Like all cuisines, Palakkad cuisine also has some unique combinations. For example, this dish of Keerai Molagootal, meaning a spinach/palak based dal with spiced coconut gravy, tempered in coconut oil, and the Mathan Puli Pachchadi, which is a pumpkin chutney simmered in a tangy tamarind sauce with a small bit of jaggery is a unique combination. Here the dal is mildly spiced and flavoured and the chutney or pachchadi, as it is called is a sweet and sour one that perfectly balances the mildness of the Molagootal.
Molagootal is a dish that can be made with many varieties of vegetables like- Snake gourd, Ash gourd, or a combination of vegetables like yam, ash gourd and drumsticks etc;
Similarly Puli Pachadi is a dish can can be made with a variety of vegetables like Ladiesfinger, Brinjal, and  Ripe mangoes.
  Planning goes a long way in creating a wholesome, and delicious meal. Please go though all recipes to check if you have all ingredients mentioned.


PREP TIME: 30 Mins(previous day)                       COOK TIME: 55 Mins
 TOTAL TIME:85 Mins                                              COURSE:  MAIN/ THAALI
 CUISINE:  NORTH INDIAN                                    SERVINGS: 5
 AUTHOR: Rajni Ram







Elements of this Thaali:
*Carrot Salad, *White Rice, *Keerai Molagootal(spinach dal),  *Mathan Puli Pachadi, *Lotus stem crisps, and *Poppadum *Curd(not in picture)
Pre prep: All Vegetables were cut the previous day ( Julienne or Grate the carrot for salad. Chop the spinach finely, wash and drain, chop Pumpkin to cubes, and store in fridge.)
Preperation and cooking:
STEP 1: Wash the rice and Tuvar dal and put them in individual vessels and cook in the pressure cooker upto 5 whistles. (alternatively use the method you regularly use to cook rice and dal).
    STEP 2: Start cooking the Palak/spinach as per recipe
    STEP 3: Start cooking the Pumpkin as per recipe
    STEP 4: While the palak and Pumpkin are cooking, grate the carrot and finish the salad.
    STEP 5: Temper both the Molagootal and Mathan Pachadi at the same time.
    STEP 6: Fry the Poppadums incase using.
1. Keerai Molagootal:


    Spinach/Palak 1 bunch chopped finely
    Tuvar dal/Toor dal 1/2 cup cooked soft in a pressure cooker
    Grated coconut 2 tbsp
    Cumin seeds 1tsp
    Dry red chillies 1 or 2 depending on spice preference
    Peppercorns 4 to 5
    Salt as required 
    Turmeric powder 1 tsp
     For tempering
    Coconut oil ( or refined oil) 2 tsp
    Mustard seeds 1 tsp
    Chana dal 2 tsp
    Urad dal 2 tsp
    Dry red chilli 1 broken to bits
1. Chop the Palak finely, wash, drain the water and cook the palak with a small amount of water, salt and turmeric powder. Cook the Tuvar dal in a pressure cooker until soft and keep aside.


2. Grind the coconut, cumin seeds, peppercorns, and dry red chillies to a fine paste and keep aside.


3. Once the palak is cooked, add the ground coconut paste and allow it to boil for a few minutes( around 2 to 3 minutes will do).


4. Once the rawness of the coconut paste is gone, mash the cooked tuvar dal with the back of a ladle and add it to the palak and coconut mixture. Let it cook on low flame for 4 to 5 minutes. If it is too thick, add some water and dilute. Check for salt and adjust and put off the flame.


5. In a small tadka Kadai take 2 tsp coconut oil or refined oil and heat. Add the mustard seeds and as they splutter add the chana dal and urad dal followed by dry red chillies and fry until light brown. Drop this into the Palak and dal mixture. The simple and healthy Palak Molagootal is ready.


1. One can use refined oil if they don’t prefer coconut oil. Coconut oil enhances the taste of the dish manifold.
2. The consistency of the dish should be like a dal fry and not too thin or too thick.
3. Add more coconut for the gravy if you prefer, but increase the spiciness by adding more chillies in case you are using more coconut.
4. The palak should not be overcooked and must retain its texture.




   Mathan/pumpkin   200 gms chopped to cubes
    Tamarind pulp   1/2 cup or make pulp from gooseberry sized bit of   tamarind 
     Asafoetida 1/4 tsp
    Grated coconut 2 tbsp
    Mustard seeds 2 tsp 
    Cumin seeds 1 tsp
    Dry red chillies 2
    Jaggery 1 tsp 
   Turmeric powder 1/4 tsp
    Salt as required
    Red chilli powder 1/4 tsp
    For tempering:
    Coconut oil or refined oil 2 tsp
    Curry leaves a few
    Mustard seeds 1 tsp
    Urad dal 1 tsp
    Dry red chilli broken to bits 1 
In this recipe, we will be tempering first and then making the dish.
1. Heat Coconut oil/refined oil in a pan for tempering(dish will be made in the same pan so choose appropriately). Now add all the tempering ingredients one by one starting with mustard seeds. Fry for 30 seconds. Add turmeric powder.


2. When the dals in the tempering turn light brown add the cubed pumpkin and saute for a minute or two.


3. Now add the tamarind pulp(should be dilute) and let the pumpkin cook in it. Add required salt while cooking, and 1/4 tsp of red chilli powder. 


4. Grind the coconut, dry red chillies, mustard seeds and cumin seeds to a fine paste by adding little water. Add this paste to the cooked pumpkin and continue to cook for a few minutes, on low flame.


5. Finally, add the jaggery, few more curry leaves and drizzle some coconut oil(optional) stir well to dissolve the jaggery and put off the stove. The sweet and sour Mathan Pachadi is ready to serve.


1. This pachchadi can be made with other vegetables like Lady’s finger, Brinjal, Ripe mango etc;
2. Maintaining the balance between the tanginess and sweetness is prime to this dish. so sticking to the quantities given will help.
3. Adding more mustard then required can turn the dish bitter.

If you tried this recipe and liked it please comment below. I would love to hear from you. If you have a query about the recipe email us and ill respond as soon as I can.

If you would like to receive our recipes in your mail please leave your mail id at the homepage. Every time Rajjo’s Kitchen has a new post we will mail the recipe to you.


3. Carrot Salad:


     Carrots 2 meduium grated
     Green chillies chopped finely
     Curry leaves a few, chopped finely
     Salt as required
     Lemon juice 2 tsp approx
     Oil for tempering 2 tsp
     Mustard seeds 1/2 tsp
     Asafoetida 1/4 tsp
    Directions: Take the grated carrots in a bowl. Add salt and lemon juice. Now take oil for tempering and heat it. Add the mustard seeds, once they crackle add, green chillies and curry leaves to the oil followed by asafoetida. drop this tempering into the carrot and mix nicely. Healthy and delicious carrot salad is ready.


     1. This same recipe can be tried with radish too.
     1. 1. Planning goes a long way in creating a wholesome, and delicious meal. Please go though all recipes to check if you have all ingredients mentioned.
     2. All vegetables can be chopped and washed and stored the previous day itself.
     3. The Poppadum and other fries are completely optional. While at home we prefer eating that way, but while carrying it for work, I exclude the Poppadums.
    4. The carrot for the salad can also be grated and stored the previous day.

Unni Appam/Nei Appam/Sweet Appam

This Appam recipe is the Kerala style Appam, made with soaked raw Rice, Jaggery, Banana and Cardamom. It is one of the most simple recipes and is also one of the main offerings in festivals like Janmashtami, and Ganesh Chaturthi. In our house, it is also an instant snack that my mother would make in a jiffy apart from the soak time. Usually, an Appam mould/ Appa karai is required for this, but some also make it by directly pouring a ladle of batter into the oil and deep-frying. If fried without a mould the shape is flat like that of a Pancake, whereas the one made in a mould is round. It is best made with ghee, though oil too can be substituted for ghee.

Grinding the batter to the right consistency is a critical step, as too dilute a batter will affect the moulding of the appam and the batter may just scatter away in the oil. Therefore I have mentioned the right way to grind the batter in the recipe. Once the batter is ground we are just five minutes away from yummy tasting Nei Appams.

While you are here look at my other Sweet dish recipes like Sugiyan, Vella Aval, Akkaravadisal, Chakkara Pongal, Maa Ladoo, Carrot Kheer, Pineapple Rabri and more.

Here is the recipe of Sweet Appam/ Unni Appam for you– 

PREP TIME: 10Mins+ 1 hr(soak)                        COOK TIME: 30Mins
TOTAL TIME: 40Mins                                          COURSE: DESSERT/SWEET
CUISINE: SOUTH  INDIAN                                 SERVINGS:15 pcs
AUTHOR: Rajni Ram



Raw Rice 1 cup  soaked for 1-hour minimum ( 1 cup equals 200 gm) ( refer note1)

Jaggery 1 cup powdered/shredded

Banana 1/2 to 3/4 th of 1 large 

Cardamom powder 1/2 tsp

Coconut grated or cut to small pieces 2 Tbsp


Soak the Rice for a minimum of 1 hour and up to a maximum of 1.5 hours. After soaking, drain all water and out the rice into a blender. Grind it first to a Rava/Sooji like texture without adding water, now add little water and grind to a smooth paste. Take care not to add too much water, as adding jaggery will liquify it further. So try to use only 1/4 cup water to get a smooth texture. Now add the Jaggery and grind again. Add coconut grating and blitz. Mash the bananas with your fingers and add them to the batter and bring again to a smooth batter. Transfer to a vessel and add the cardamom powder. The Appam batter is now ready.

Now put the Appam mould/Appam Chetty or Appa Karal on flame and heat it well.  Spoon in the ghee into the moulds liberally. Let the ghee heat up, now spoon the batter into the moulds and fry on one side until golden brown, using a kambi/skewer or a fork, to loosen the edges of the Appam and flip it to the other side and fry until golden brown. To check for doneness, pierce the appam with the skewer/toothpick or fork in the center, if it comes out clean, remove appams from the mould. The delicious Unni appam/ Sweet Paniyarams/ Nei Appams are ready. Enjoy. Bon Appetit.


1. Soak rice for 1 hour. It can be soaked up to a maximum of 1.5 hours.


2. After an hour drain all the water and put the rice ina blender and grind it without any water at first to a Rava/Sooji like texture.


3. Now add water little by little and grind it to a smooth paste. Water should be used minimally. I used around 1/4 cup water to grind. Check cup measurement given above.


4. Now add the jaggery again and grind to a smooth paste, add the coconut gratings and blitz again.


5. Now mash 3/4 of a Banana with your fingers and add it to the paste, grind once again to a smooth batter. The consistency should be that of dosa batter. Transfer it to a vessel and add the cardamom powder. The appam batter is ready. Have added a mini video to show the consistency of the batter.


6. Put an Appam Chetty on the flame. Spoon in the ghee and heat it. Now spoon in the batter into the moulds and fry on now side until a golden brown. Using a skewer or fork loosen the edges of the appam and gently flip it to the other side and fry again to a golden colour. Repeat for all batter. The Sweet Appams are now ready. 



1. Any raw rice variety can be used other than Basmathi as the Basmathi rice does not have a lot of starch content that is required for binding. The appams turn out rubbery with it.

2. While grinding if you end up with a runny batter accidentally, then add rice flour a tablespoon at a time until you achieve the right consistency.

3. If the batter splits or breaks apart in the ghee either your batter is runny or too much jaggery has been added. So modify accordingly and fry.

4. It is ideal to fry these appams in ghee/clarified butter as it tastes best. But oil also can be used.

5. Banana varieties that are sweet can be used. Avoid the slight sour ones like Poovan. 

6. Always start with frying a single Appam first so that if something needs to be adjusted it can be done and then the rest can be fried.

If you tried this recipe and liked it please comment below. I would love to hear from you. If you have a query about the recipe email us and ill respond as soon as I can.

If you would like to receive our recipes on your mail please leave your mail id at the homepage. Every time Rajjo’s Kitchen has a new post we will mail the recipe to you.