Dal Raisina

BJP leader Narendra Modi tasted success for the second time in the Indian general elections conducted in April-May: He took oath as prime minister in New Delhi on Thursday, May 30.

The ceremony also saw 57 other newly-elected Members of Parliament (MP) being sworn into the Modi Cabinet New Delhi.

Modi is expected to announce the portfolios of the ministers soon. However, all 58 ministers had their plates full on Thursday evening, As did the thousands of dignitaries who attended the event.

Here’s the menu for the evening, including the delectable Dal Raisina — a lentil soup reserved for special occasions by the President’s staff.

Oath-taking ceremony menu

India’s MPs traditionally take oath as ministers at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the official residence of the country’s President.

Ceremonies held there are usually followed by a luncheon or dinner hosted by the President, in this case, Ram Nath Kovind.

Thursday was no exception. The dinner included:

  • Vegetarian and non-vegetarian options
  • Soup
  • Fish
  • Chicken

However, there was another item on the menu — one that deserves special mention. This was Dal Raisina.

Chef Machindra Kasture (extreme right), who created Dal Raisina, receives the Nation Tourism award for the Best Chef of India in 2016. | Picture courtesy: Twitter/Chef Machindra Kasture

What is Dal Raisina?

A “dal,” as anyone who knows anything about Indian food will tell you, is a lentil soup. Lentils are a staple in most Indian households, being a rich source of protein — sometimes the only source of protein to vegetarians.

The “Raisina” in the name of the dish comes from Raisina Hills, the hilly region that houses several politically important buildings. This includes the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

As for the recipe, we know that Dal Raisina takes 48 hours to cook. And yes, for it to be served on Thursday, preparations had begun on May 28!

Chef Machindra Kasture, who first made the dish in 2010, also told a news organisation that black lentils (urad dal), tomato puree and saffron go into it.

Kasture worked as the first resident chef of the Rashtrapati Bhavan. His tenure lasted from 2007 to 2015. He received the Nation Tourism award for the Best Chef of India in 2016. [See photo above]

He was quoted by the news organisation as saying: “It is such a big honour to have your dish being served to world leaders even now. We used to continuously experiment in the Rashtrapati Bhavan kitchen, and Dal Raisina was created at one such occasion.”

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