Donald Trump may be big on beef steak but Indians seem to be determined to make the President of the United States eat his vegetables.
In the run up to Trump's visit, many wondered what the aggressively non-vegetarian President, whose eating habits often make the news (and not for the best reasons), will eat on his maiden visit to India. After all, beef steaks and "gau-raksha" don't often go hand in hand. So how to create a vegetarian menu that perfectly symbolises the East meets West aesthetic that Indians love to glorify? Enter the "broccoli corn samosa".
Created specially for Trump by Ahmedabadi chef Suresh Khanna, the ultra-fusion dish will be served to Trump as part of his maiden Indian meal. First Lady Melania along with daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner would also be served the same. The first family will be spending the first leg of the trip in Ahmedabad to attend the grand and symbolic Namaste Trump event before heading to the customary Taj Mahal outing in Agra.
The breakfast menu which will be served at Gandhi Ashram also includes vegetarian Gujarati delicacies like Khaman and the delectable kaju katli and apple pie for dessert. The full menu from tweeted by a journalist soon went viral on Twitter.
Indians are big on food and hospitality. So it was of no surprise that as soon as the menu appeared on social media, netizens were instantly all over it. And while the vegetarian menu failed to inspire many compliments, the "revolting" broccoli samosa did manage to cause "gross affront" to some senses.
Samosas are fried corflour snacks stuffed with spicy mashed potato, peas, peanuts and sometimes chunks of cottage cheese. It is the aloo, in fact, that gives samosa its unique taste. The association is so strong that the phrase "samose mein aloo" has become almost idiomatic in India and has even found its way to popular Bollywood songs. So when chef Khanna of Fortune Landmark, the man behind the special broccoli corn samosa, decided to swap the potato for the greens, many were shocked.
Broccoli samosas??— CeeEss (@SeattleSingh) February 24, 2020
Broccoli-corn samosa? Even for the on-diet-perpetually-hungry, that just sounds revolting. What is a samosa without aloo https://t.co/VQotRoLRxC— Nupur J Sharma (@UnSubtleDesi) February 23, 2020
Indians after learning that there is something called Broccoli Samosa pic.twitter.com/MoRDj2rGfW— Debankan Mukherjee (@debankan) February 24, 2020
Broccoli samosa? Taking fusion food too far! https://t.co/BXl93bbFgy— Selina Sen (@selinasenwrites) February 24, 2020
What gross affront to the senses is a broccoli samosa?! https://t.co/RJHUSU8Ckx— Narayani Basu (@narayani_basu) February 24, 2020
Prepared specially for Trump by chef Khanna, the samosa has been created in accordance with Gujarat's climate. According to the chef, broccoli and corn are healthier and easier on the palate than potato and cottage cheese, especially in Gujarat's heat. The "lighter" version of the snack is meant to ensure Trump gets to explore Indian cuisine while also enjoying good health.
#NewsAlert | Authentic Gujarati food for the Trumps.— News18 (@CNNnews18) February 23, 2020
What is going to be on Donald Trump’s plate?
CNN-News18's @Zebaism talks to Chef Suresh Khanna about the desi delicacies that he’ll prepare for the US President and his team.#NamasteTrump pic.twitter.com/cWWkIaV4ny
However, not many were sold on the health argument either.
Imagine welcoming the most powerful man of the world without any protein meal in the menu. Shame!!!— Chirag Barjatya (@chiragbarjatyaa) February 24, 2020
What kind of welcome is this!!
We should protests https://t.co/BtpKUc60l2
Along with the dishes, the President will also be provided a bunch of packaged foods and beverages like coconut water in tetra packs, canned juice, assorted cookies, assorted teas and dry fruits including roasted cashews and almonds, dry dates apricot. But even this part drew criticism.
Canned juice??? Tetra Paks? Chocolate chip cookies? Seriously??— Amy Kazmin (@AmyKazmin) February 24, 2020
Apple pie? Why?— Gargi Rawat (@GargiRawat) February 24, 2020
And canned juices and tetra pack coconut water? Health concerns?
Canned juice??? Er, even I don’t offer tetra pack/ canned juices when I invite folks home ..— PatralekhaChatterjee (@patralekha2011) February 23, 2020
Trump, who is set to land in India within minutes, will spend two days in the country with the Indian government hoping the trip ends with a n eagerly awaited trade deal and a ramping up of bilateral defence and strategic ties. However, the trip may fail to ease thorny issues such as trade tariffs that could mar Indo-US relations in the long run.
In the first leg of the visit, the POTUS, who is also accompanied by wife family as well as top brass of his administration, will get a taste of India's cultural potpourri during his Gujarat itinerary which is high on symbolism, especially after the bonhomie between the two leaders at the 'Howdy, Modi!' event in Houston during the Indian prime minister's visit to the US in September 2019.
He will then leave for Delhi for the main leg of the visit during which restricted and delegation-level talks between Trump and Modi will be held at Hyderabad House on Tuesday.