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Cooking Indian & South Asian

My Thali

A Simple Indian Kitchen

by (author) Joe Thottungal

with Anne DesBrisay

photographs by Christian Lalonde

Figure 1 Publishing
Initial publish date
Mar 2023
Indian & South Asian, Individual Chefs & Restaurants, Canadian
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2023
    List Price

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The Indian answer to tapas or tagine, thali is as fun to eat as it is pretty to serve.

Like a tagine or casserole, a thali describes not only a type of kitchenware, but a type of meal. A thali is constructed of many small dishes served on a platter that harmonize through contrasting textures, visual appeal, complimentary spices, and sheer deliciousness. Once reserved for special occasions, this traditional way of eating is now a popular way of dining at home.

In My Thali, award-winning chef and author Joe Thottungal shares his favorite home-cooked recipes and stories from his homeland of Kerala, connecting past and present in the world of Indian cooking today. This exploration of food heritage features a collection of 85 signature recipes - from simple raitas to nourishing dals and fragrant curries - that can be easily re-created at home, using accessible ingredients and everyday cooking equipment, and without any compromise to flavor or authenticity. Each recipe can be enjoyed on its own or joined together to compose a complete and balanced meal; suggested menus are included for constructing these "feasts on a plate."

My Thali celebrates the South Indian cooking and the joys of thalis, both simple and homey, and grand and glorious.

About the authors

Contributor Notes

Joe Thottungal is a Canadian chef and the owner of the restaurants Coconut Lagoon and Thali in Ottawa. Joe was born in Kerala, trained in Mumbai, and worked in the Middle East before moving to Canada, where he earned his Certified Chef de Cuisine (CCC) designation. In 2008, Joe was named Ottawa Chef of the Year by the Canadian Culinary Federation. In 2016, he won the top prize at Ottawa's Gold Medal Plates competition, followed by a silver medal at the 2017 Canadian Culinary Championships.

His first cookbook, Coconut Lagoon, celebrated regional south Indian cuisine and won the gold at Taste Canada Awards in 2020. Joe lives in Ottawa with his wife and three children.

Anne DesBrisay is the award-winning food writer and author of Ottawa Cooks . As a journalist, she was the restaurant critic for the Ottawa Citizen and Ottawa Magazine for twenty-five years, an editor for Taste & Travel magazine, and a judge for the Canadian Culinary Championships and Canada's Great Kitchen Party (formerly Gold Medal Plates). She lives in Ottawa.

Christian Lalonde heads Photolux Commercial Studio, a Photography Studio in Ottawa, Toronto & Montreal that specializes in food, architecture, advertising, lifestyle, corporate, editorial, aerial, complex image compositing and products.

Editorial Reviews

"Joe Thottungal is one of my greatest philanthropic culinary heroes."
- Margaret Dickenson, award-winning cookbook author

"Chef Joe remains a symbol of compassion and generosity in our community."
- Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa

"[Joe] has always been making dynamite South Indian food: it just took some of us awhile to catch up."
- Paul Wells, Maclean's Magazine

"Joe Thottungal's My Thali transports the reader through an adventure for the senses. This book is a journey. The stunning photographs and collected recipes immerse readers in the fragrances and the tastes that these recipes represent."
- Apt 613

"The book is a meaningful marker of Thottungal's 25 years in Canada, and an homage to his Kerala heritage in more ways than the recipes."
- Laura Brehaut, National Post

"Author, restaurateur, and Malayali chef Joe Thottungal is putting Indian thalis on the world food map"
- South First

"Thottungal infuses each recipe with a heartfelt narrative that instantly transports readers to his family kitchen and the bustling streets of India."
- Canadian Cookbooks

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