How are katoris used in homes?

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#1 Jun 12th, 2015, 12:57
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#1
In thali restaurants, the katori is king - what could be prettier than all those little shiny bowls with colourful items. But I've been wondering for a while if meals at homes are also served using katoris.

In my experience, in Tamil households even the most liquid of rasams and sambars are poured directly on the rice, usually by the lady of the house, while the people eating are frantically mixing it in so that the liquid doesn't go all over the place. In Telugu households I have seen the katori holding payasam (maybe the naivedyam?) but again the wet items are poured directly, and that too in the course which follows the rice and curry and precedes rice and yogurt. It makes sense not to have the pulusu or chaaru getting cold in a little bowl.

I suppose the katori is more common in the North? Particularly in meals that involve chapatis or breads with a very wet dal or chole? Would one also put dry-ish curries in katoris?

What do you do at home?
#2 Jun 12th, 2015, 13:03
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#2
In Rajasthan, we put the dishes in the katoris - but usually not the dry ones. All daals, sabzis with gravy etc would be served in the katoris. Other dry items such as baati, choorma and papad would also be served directly in the thali.

I have been laughed at in the south (multiple occasions) for asking for a spoon. Never dared ask for a katori.
#3 Jun 12th, 2015, 13:06
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#3
This pic is very similar to how food is served in my home daily - Bengali house hold. Instead of bone-china(as in the picture) it is stainless steel. Katori is called baati in Bengali.
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-ymac9STFNN...photo+(42).png
#4 Jun 12th, 2015, 13:06
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#4
I do not use Katoris as it saves on washing up. Mrs GP on the other hand is a fan of katoris. Every item gets a separate katori including dry curries. Rice and breads are placed in the plate. Her logic is that it keeps the items hot.
#5 Jun 12th, 2015, 13:15
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#5
Katoris are almost as massively useful as towels! I use them for serving, as others have pointed out, but also to store excess masala, oil, cut ginger or garlic, etc. When my baby started on solids, I used katoris to serve his portions.

I use Corelle glass katoris. Expensive, but immensely durable, easy to wash and microwavable.
#6 Jun 12th, 2015, 14:18
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#6
Very nice to hear about the variations on the theme. Nayan's photo makes me ask: are katoris often placed out of the main plate? And are they usually dished out by the host or would each diner serve themselves? With the former, could it look like the food is being rationed?

Vaibhav, I've had guests ask me for a katori, no offence taken. But as a host I've wondered if I should just put out a pile of katoris on the table.
#7 Jun 12th, 2015, 14:38
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#7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rasika View Post Very nice to hear about the variations on the theme. Nayan's photo makes me ask: are katoris often placed out of the main plate? And are they usually dished out by the host or would each diner serve themselves? With the former, could it look like the food is being rationed?

Vaibhav, I've had guests ask me for a katori, no offence taken. But as a host I've wondered if I should just put out a pile of katoris on the table.
For us - at home the katoris/bati are always placed outside the thala.

Restaurants often arrange them inside a giant thala in a very pretty way.

Traditionally they would be dished out by the hostess. The guests/diners would not see the main vessel in which the food is kept. that would be kept in the kitchen area.
The diners would constantly be pestered for refills As soon as a bati is half empty the hostess would refill it.

Nowadays - unless its a formal diner - the vessels would be on the dinning table too. If the host/hostess is supervising(ie not eating with the guests) then she will refill the batis. If she too has joined in with the other diners(more and more the case these days) then most likely each person with refill his own bati(accompanied by the pestering from the hostess).
#8 Jun 12th, 2015, 14:40
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#8
I'd venture to say, that in the majority of north Indian gharanaas (households) katoris are an essential component of any proper meal.

It's worth noting that unlike the south, the mainstay of the north has for long been wheat-based roti. And one needs solid katoris to hold daals and other gravy-based dishes like matar paneer, saag, or even yoghurt etc such that scooping them up is easy.

I know several people who can't eat a meal without a katori on (or to the side of) their plate.
#9 Jun 12th, 2015, 14:41
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  • vaibhav_arora is offline
#9
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Originally Posted by Rasika View Post would each diner serve themselves?
The katoris are placed inverted on the outside of the thali to begin with, then filled up in sequence and placed either inside or outside depending on how large the thali is. I really dont know if there's any logic to where to place the katori but it must be filled up individually by the host for the guest.

Basically, guests do not serve anything to themselves. That's offensive on our part to the guest. Repeated en-treatments to eat more and more by filling up the katori again on the host's part are called 'manuhar' in rajasthani culture.

On the other hand, if the guest didnt make any polite noises about serving themselves and that the host should eat at the same time as the guest then we'd find it quite smug of them.

Strange are the Ps and Qs of the thali ....
Last edited by vaibhav_arora; Jun 12th, 2015 at 14:44.. Reason: xposted with nayan and BB
#10 Jun 12th, 2015, 14:49
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#10
You see, rice eaters can do without katoris. They place dal curry and vegetables on different places at the top of the rice. Kashmiris will create a katori in rice to put dal in. Same for rice eaters in Bengal, Tamilnadu and other places. Roti (tortilla) eaters require katoris, therefore Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, etc. IMHO, more of Indians eat rice than rotis.
#11 Jun 12th, 2015, 14:56
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#11
Bengalis are rice eaters but baatis are always used
(except maybe for a very informal meal with just one or two items where a mess on your plate does not matter)
#12 Jun 12th, 2015, 15:01
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#12
The relative lack of katori use in the south is likely also linked to the more free use of one's palm while eating rice with rasam/sambhar. In the north, scarcely does one employ anything further than the fingertips... Even in Bihar, which is rice-eating country, the use of one's palm while eating daal bhat is less free than the south (from what I have seen at least).
#13 Jun 12th, 2015, 15:46
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#13
Quote:
Originally Posted by vaibhav_arora View Post Basically, guests do not serve anything to themselves. That's offensive on our part to the guest. Repeated en-treatments to eat more and more by filling up the katori again on the host's part are called 'manuhar' in rajasthani culture.

On the other hand, if the guest didnt make any polite noises about serving themselves and that the host should eat at the same time as the guest then we'd find it quite smug of them.

Strange are the Ps and Qs of the thali ....
Well, the 'manuhar' is not for what is in the katori but for the sweets kept in the thali; barfis, ladoos and besan chakkis. After much persuasion, our hosts after my marriage, Mewari jains, gave us more puris (Puri kya loge, meetha khao, meetha khao). Small two inch dia jokes; and my wife did not like much sweets. That is about Rajasthani feasts.
Last edited by Aupmanyav; Jun 13th, 2015 at 10:03..
#14 Jun 12th, 2015, 15:51
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#14
Manuhar is for all the items, it's not limited to sweets.
#15 Jun 12th, 2015, 15:59
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#15
"Manuhar" refers to the act of persuading guests to keep on eating ?
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