Ever since the White House unveiled the menu of the state dinner hosted for PM Narendra Modi with a preview on Wednesday, food enthusiasts have been wondering about one dish mentioned on it. Marinated Millet.
The menu also has corn kernel salad, stuffed portobello mushrooms accompanied with saffron-infused creamy risotto, and other vegetarian dishes, created by renowned Californian chef Nina Curtis, who specialises in plant-based cuisine.
While most people know the popular millets like ragi, jowar, bajra, cheena and sorghum, what is marinated millet?
“Marination basically means adding masala of the chef's choice," Chef Pillai says. "The menu does not say the millet of choice or the type of marination used. The chef can prepare the dish after softening the millet or even as a salad.”
India has been promoting millets widely this year and it's declared as the International Year of Millets as well, says the chef. “We have been seeing many campaigns with NGOs and governments joining hands to produce and use millets. As Chef Curtis said, the menu seems to be trying to combine the best of American and Indian flavours for the dinner,” says Chef Pillai. Millet cakes are also part of the menu and stalks of millets are included in the event's décor as well.
Modi was in the US to lead the events to commemorate the 9th International Day of Yoga on June 21. His state visit ends on June 24. The dinner at the White House also will give its 400-odd guests the option to add fish to their main course.
A few other interesting additions
Compressed watermelon, tangy avocado sauce, creamy saffron-infused risotto, sumac-roasted sea bass, yogurt sauce punched up with lemon and dill, and rose- and cardamom-infused strawberry shortcake are also part of the official menu.
The décor of the event also features Indian elements like the national flag, lotus flower, peacock, Indian silks, and more.