What are Indian appetizers (starters)?
Indian appetizers consist of snacks (Pakora Kebab Samosa Chaat Papad), Salad Plate, Soups, and
condiments (Pickles and Chutney)
Concept of appetizers does not exist in traditional Indian cuisine. The entire dinner is served on a Thaali
(Platter). On the platter you have snacks, salad and condiments, curries, lentils and soups, rice and
bread, and desserts. The entire meal is served at the same time.
During British Raj, the food service broke up into 3 basic courses.
1. Appetizers consisting of snacks, salads, soups, and condiments
2. Main Entree consisting of curries, lentils, bread and rice
The appetizers can be broken up into 4 categories
Condiments include various types of pickles (Achar), and Chutney. The condiments are not removed at the end of
Appetizer course, condiments remain on the table through the main entree.
Popular pickles include 'Aam Achar' (Mango pickle), and 'Nimboo Achar' (Lime pickle).
Popular chutney include: 'Dhania Chatni' made with fresh cilantro onions and spices, and spicy sweet 'Imli Chatni'
made with Tamarind sugar and spices.
2. Salad Plate
Do not confuse 'Salad Plate' with traditional western salads. Indian Salad Plate consists of: thinly sliced
onions, sliced tomatoes, sliced Mooli (Indian white long radish), sliced cucumber, wedges of limes, fresh
ginger root cut in the form of matchsticks, and fresh green hot chili peppers called 'Hari Mirch'. Salt,
ground cayenne and few drops of Sirka (Sugarcane vinegar) or fresh lime juice may be used for dressing.
Hot and cold soups may be included. The cold soup is called Raita, grated onions and cucumbers are stirred in
whipped yogurt with some spices. Popular hot soup served is Dal Bukhara (baked creamy whole black beans.
Restaurants in UK and USA serve Mulligatawny soup
made of pigeon-peas.
Deep-fried Snacks: Samosa (May be baked), Pakora, Papad (May be dry-roasted), Kachori
Kebab or Tikka: Tandoori Jhinga (Prawn), Chicken Tandoori, Shami Kebab, Seekh Kebab, Paneer Tikka,
Tandoori Aloo (Stuffed potatoes), Murgh Malai Kebab
Chaat: Goal Gappa, Aloo Chat, Fruit Chaat, Paapri, Dahi Bhalla.
The world famous 'Bukhara Restaurant' is part of Maurya Sheraton Hotel located in
New Delhi. On July 20, 2009 US secretary of state Hillary Clinton visited the restaurant and expressed a her desire to have a dish
named after her. The chef obliged with 'Hillary Platter' consisting of: Paneer Tikka, Tandoori Aloo, Murgh
Malai Kebab, Sikandari Raan, Tandoori Jhinga, Seekh Kebab, Dal Bukhara, and Mixed Raita.
Mrs Clinton was also served a variety of fresh fruit juices, and Naan. For dessert, Rasmalai was planned but changed
to Kulfi by Mrs Clinton.
In 2000, President Clinton, first lady Clinton and daughter Chelsea dined at
Bukhara leading to creation of non-vegetarian 'Presidential Platter', and a vegetarian 'Chelsea Platter'.