A DRONE camera buzzed around, as did a relentless dragonfly, as 125 kg rice, 45 kg moong dal, 20 kg vegetables, 6.5 kg salt, many kilograms of jowar and bajra, and dollops of desi ghee, went into catapulting the humble khichdi to reluctant stardom at the government-organised World Food India 2017 here on Saturday.
In the process, as a proud Minister for Food Processing Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Minister of State for Food Processing Sadhvi Niranjan, and yoga guru Baba Ramdev beamed, the 918-kg concoction also felled a Guinness World record.
“This is India’s gift to the rest of the world,” declared Baba Ramdev, who stirred the mixture with an oar-like ladle, along with the two ministers, as the team of 30 chefs led by Sanjeev Kapoor watched. Ramdev had earlier announced on Twitter he would be at hand to temper the khichdi with his Patanjali ghee. “Swasthya ka naya mantra: Bharat ki Khichdi (The new trick to health: India’s khichdi). This is also PM Narendra Modi’s favourite dish… Maybe one day we will celebrate World Khichdi Day like we now celebrate World Yoga Day,” he said.
“We will now pack it in insulated containers and Akshay Patra Foundation and Food Relief will take it across the city to feed the needy,” said Kapoor, adding he was “very happy with the outcome”. He said that the recipe, created by him and his team, had undergone many trials over the last two months — from a watery version to one with jowar and bajra.
About all that went into the Saturday mix, chef Akshay Nayyar said, “We designed the vessel 25 days ago, had to measure the volume to attempt something big… make sure logistics were in place. It’s a steam-charged vessel powered by a boiler because India Gate is a no-fire zone. We began by soaking the rice and chopping the veggies at 3 am.”
The last touch was added on Saturday at 1 pm, with the sprinkling of curry leaves.
But the job was not done. A crane was then brought in to lift the cone-like vessel holding the khichdi, and over a delicate 20-minute process ensuring nothing was spilled, placed on a weighing machine. When the scales showed 918 kg, minus the vessel weight, smiles broke out all around. The minimum requirement to create a world record was 500 kg. The category: “the largest serving of beans and rice”.
Guinness World Records’ Project Manager Paulina Sapinska, on stand by following an invitation from Kapoor and the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, said, “We are still waiting for a few pieces of evidence. For the time being, I am happy to announce that this (khichdi) wins the Guinness World title.”
It was Sapinska’s second trip to India within a week to witness a record.
Also at hand watching was Denmark Food Minister Esben Lunde Larsen, apart from executives of several corporations. “We can renew our own kitchen with your culinary traditions, starting with khichdi,” Larsen promised.
The three-day event, being organised along with industry body CII and featuring traditional food from more than 20 states, was inaugurated by PM Modi on Friday.
Badal, who has been fighting off some steam over reports that khichdi was being promoted as ‘Brand India Food’, on Saturday said, “The beauty of khichdi is that everyone has eaten it.” To rope in the rest, the government plans to “popularise” the dish and recipe through its foreign missions.
The few members of the public at the event though weren’t too convinced. Ranjana Sethi, 48, said, “We make khichdi at home all the time but that never got famous… Why so much drama around it?”