India took center stage in promoting millet, a staple grain for millions of its citizens, at a prestigious gala dinner that concluded the first day of the G20 Leaders Summit in New Delhi on Saturday.
Among the world leaders attending, including US President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, millet dishes took a prominent place on the menu.
Indian President Droupadi Murmu hosted the dinner, which featured a three-course vegetarian meal celebrating the “autumn season of abundance” with various millet-based offerings.
The main course showcased a jackfruit pastry complemented by glazed forest mushrooms, millet crisps, and Kerala red rice with a curry leaf seasoning. Additionally, Bakarkhani, a sweet flatbread traditionally served in Mughlai cuisine, and Mumbai’s iconic “Pao” soft buns were part of the spread.
To quench the leaders’ thirst, the dinner included Kashmiri kahwa from the northern region, South India’s renowned filter coffee, and Darjeeling tea.
The inclusion of millet in the meal highlights its growing popularity as a healthy alternative to wheat or rice. This shift has been encouraged by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, which declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets.
Earlier this year, millet gained recognition as a climate-friendly superfood when it featured prominently at the White House state dinner hosted for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The G20 states adopted a consensus declaration during the summit, refraining from explicitly condemning Russia for its actions in Ukraine but calling on all nations to refrain from using force for territorial expansion. Remarkably, millet also found its way into this declaration, emphasizing the importance of research cooperation for climate-resilient and nutritious grains, including millets, quinoa, sorghum, and traditional staples like rice, wheat, and maize.