A taste of India, but with the American palate in mind — that’s the underlying philosophy behind the menu crafted by the Rashtrapati Bhavan in-house chefs for the banquet for US President Donald Trump and his delegation on Tuesday.
So, wild Atlantic salmon will be on the plate but as fish tikkas. and Cajun spice, the US version of garam masala, will be sprinkled on it. “Our idea is to showcase Indian food with American spices at the state banquet,” said an official involved in the preparations who asked not to be named.
President Trump is known for his love for meatloaf, steak with ketchup, even McDonald’s burgers. As beef is out of the question, Rashtrapati Bhavan chefs are offering him an alternative: raan ali-shan.
For it, goat legs will be marinated for at least 12 hours and grilled. A rich rogan josh gravy will be available to those who want some with the grilled meat.
Dal Raisina, a signature dish of the Rashtrapati Bhavan, will also be served. The elaborate menu, with both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, will not be heavy on Indian spices and some will come with ingredients popular in American homes.
The Indian Navy band will play popular English and Hindi numbers throughout the dinner.
Around 100 guests, including the US President’s entourage, will sit for the lavish dinner that will be served on silverware. According to Rashtrapati Bhavan officials, of these, only about 85-88 people will be from the Indian side. The exclusive state banquet, to be hosted in the historic Banquet Hall, will be wrapped up in less than 90 minutes. The US President is scheduled to depart for the US at 10pm on Tuesday.
But before the main courses hit the table, the state banquet will start with an amuse-bouche made from orange covered with peels of golden leaf and sprinkles of golden dust. This will be followed by an Indian entrée of aloo tikki with paalak papdi. The two items have been picked to showcase India’s vibrant street-food. The soup will be lemon coriander shorba. Morels, a delicacy, will be used to prepare dum guchi matar, which will be followed by dum gosht biryani and deg ki biryani (for vegetarians).
As the US President is known to have sweet tooth, the dessert menu will have three options: Malpua with rabri, hazelnut apple pie, and vanilla ice cream topped with salty caramel sauce.
An Indian classical pianist is expected to play after the dinner.
President Ram Nath Kovind will receive Trump outside Durbar Hall, where the Ashoka-era Rampurva Bull statue stands overlooking the Rashtrapati Bhavan’s forecourt. “Rarely does the president receive his guest outside Durbar Hall, but for the US President, he is happy to do it,” added the official. Trump and Kovind will sit at the North Drawing Room for talks before the US President and his family meet all the guests at the Ashoka Hall.
Kovind is expected to gift Trump a replica of Taj Mahal and a Kashmiri carpet. First Lady Melania Trump and the US president’s advisors, daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner, are also expected to receive gifts from President Kovind.