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Picture and Dish by Mayura Gujar

PM Modi touched down in New York today. A month long flurry of Modi headlines rose to a crescendo. After thirty-three years, an Indian Prime Minister was visiting the Valley. A grand reception for about 700 people is being planned on Saturday the 26th of September in Silcon Valley, California. The who’s who of the valley is invited to meet the VVIP guest.

Whenever a guest comes to town one of the first things planned is what should we serve him for dinner. What would Mr. Modi like to eat? The ladies at Euphoric Delights Facebook group threw up many ideas. Nita Shah was the first one to make a suggestion “Bajra rotla, Khaman dhokla,” she wrote. Shuchi wrote, “Thepla, kandvi”. Kajal Patel, another Gujarati piped in “He is a gujrathi most likely puri, shaak, dhal baat, achar, papad shrikand chaas.” Devashree Javalkar ‘s suggestion, “Dal batti, chicken wings” was interesting. She was taking care of the VVIP with the choice of daal bhati, but keeping in mind the local Valley guests she threw in the chicken wings. ‪Dhanashri Bhate‪ echoed her sentiment, “butter chicken , may be not for Mr. Modi but for others. If other big vigs from Silicon valley are there then it won’t be all veg all gujrati menu.”

The complexity of catering for a diverse group must make life interesting for the people in-charge of organizing the event. I asked Vidya Gurikar of Silver Spoon who is the preferred caterer for Fairmont Hotel, San Jose and who was invited to submit her suggestions for the grand reception dinner. After much arm twisting I was able to obtain a copy of the menu she had planned.

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Silver Spoon

Dinner Menu

Peach & Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho with Garlic Toast Floaters

Pomegranate Lettuce Nests (tossed with fresh Avocado and Mint sauce)

Chipotle Paneer Shashlik

Parmesan Murgh Kebabs

Organic Cauliflower Posto (batter fried and tossed with poppy seeds in a tangy sauce)

Mint and Walnut Basmati Pilaf

Paneer Chimichurri (Cottage Cheese marinated in a special blend of herbs including Oregano, Parsley & Cilantro)

Malabari Murgh Rollatini (Chicken stuffed with asparagus, roasted peppers, pepper jack cheese and infused with coconut curry sauce)

Root Vegetables in an orange & ginger glaze

Badami, Corn, and Water Chestnut Bhaji

Hara Bhara Arbi

Roasted Aubergine with Spring Onions (Eggplant infused with a mellow cashew nut sauce and roasted to perfection)

Organic Blueberry and Sprout Salad

Raita, Pickle & Papad, Savory Lentil Doughnuts dipped in creamy yogurt

Naan (Plain/Cheese/Garlic/Pesto/Kashmiri)

Shahi Kulfi (Handmade Indian Ice cream with cardamom and pistachios)

Mango Lychee Panna Cotta

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Silver Spoon

Lunch Menu

Roasted Green Banana Cutlets with mint and tamarind sauces

Carmalized Onion Fritters with freshly made coconut chutney

Baby Spinach Quinoa Kichidi

Mini Veg Uttapam Served with Chutney & Chettinad Kurma

Gujarati Kadi with dhokla floaters or Jackfruit

Panchmel Dal

Pahadi Panner

Sonari Paneer Makhana (Cottage cheese cubes and Lotus root flower in a creamy sauce)

Aloo Dum Banarasi

Asparagus and Brussel Sprout Kofta

Baby Spinach with Pecans tossed in an Italian Vinagerette

Moong Dal Halwa or Dry Fruit Chenna Payesh

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The mouth watering dishes with exotic names reflected the colors of the national flag and represented cuisines from different parts of India. The flavors, colors and the history of the dishes spoke of a mélange of the Indian American life.

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When asked to dish the scoop on the event’s management she shared her impressions of the planning process. “I was told,” she said, “The Prime Minister is not shy in giving feedback. He will be forthcoming about his likes and dislikes after a meal. He enjoys his food and is fond of simple meals.”

Even though his reputation is one of a man of simple tastes, as far as food is concerned, it doesn’t stop the chefs from cooking up a storm. Euphoric Delights’s Chandini Somayajula shared the news that during Mr. Modi’s stop in New York on September 24th, dhokla, the Gujarati snack is being given a makeover. While Vidya Gurikar planned to float them in her Gujarati Kadi with dhokla floaters, Chef Vikas Khanna has planned a corn dhokla molten cake with a berry compote. The chef seemed to be taking the advice of Gujaratis like Jweta Patel to heart who wrote on Facebook, “Gujraties like sweet more so I would suggest in dessert Basundi, Srikhand , churma laddu ,suji halwa”

The final word was had by ‪Nirjara Pillai‪ who noted,  “It’s not Navratri … So Atleast he will eat ?… Unlike his previous visit to DC.”

The excitement and delight was palpable on the Facebook page of Euphoric Delights. ‪Swati Agarwal‪ wrote, “I just made dhokla n posted that yesterday in his love. Mere pyaare pyaare Modiji !!!”

Would it not have been wonderful if one of the ladies from Silicon Valley could personally serve PM Modi a meal cooked in her kitchen. Shalini Sinha says, “wo recipe jo dil se banayi jati hain wo world best hoti hain.”

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