President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday night hosted a dinner for visiting South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation leaders and Prime Minister Narendra Modi where the guests were treated to a variety of dishes drawn from various parts of the country.
From Gujarat's popular dish 'kela methi nu shaak, to mouth-watering 'Chicken chettinad' from Tamil Nadu, the lavish spread-out at 'Yellow Drawing Room' was also attended by former prime minister Manmohan Singh.
The dinner began with chilled melon soup with snacks including chicken and mutton tikka, tandoori aaloo and arabi kebab as starters.
The dishes served in the main course to the foreign dignitaries include 'Prawns Sukka' and 'Chicken chettinad' Birbali Kofta curry (Mughlai), Jaipuri Bhindi (Rajasthan), Dal makhani (Punjab and Potol Dorma (Bengal) besides the Gujarati dish which has bitterness of the methi complemented by the sweetness of bananas.
The visiting leaders from SAARC countries and Mauritius, were in New Delhi for the swearing-in of Modi as India's 15th prime minister.
Dishes for the menu which are popular in different parts of the country were finalised by Rashtrapati Bhavan and External Affairs Ministry officials in consultation with in-house chefs.
For dessert, they were served with mango 'shrikhand', Sandesh and fruits before the VVIPs were given a 'Paan' as mouth-freshener.
The visiting VVIPs include Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, Prime Ministers of Bhutan and Nepal Lyonchen Tshering Tobgay and Sushil Koirala and Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.
Bangladesh parliament Speaker Shirin Chaudhury, who represented Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina now on a tour of Japan, was also present.
Besides the SAARC leaders, Mauritian Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam also attended the dinner.
Among others present at the dinner were union ministers Sushma Swaraj, Nitin Gadkari and M Venkaiah Naidu.