World leaders served humble millet at G20 gala dinner

India hosts G20 leaders' summit

By Krishn Kaushik and Aftab Ahmed

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India served millet, a staple for millions of Indians, to world leaders at a gala dinner at the end of the first day of the G20 Leaders Summit in New Delhi on Saturday.

From leaf crisps to pudding, the foodstuff was served at the high table occupied by leaders including U.S. President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

The dinner hosted by Indian President Droupadi Murmu involved three courses of vegetarian food that celebrated an "autumn season of abundance", with different kinds of millet.

The main course was a jackfruit pastry served with glazed forest mushrooms, millet crisps and curry leaf tossed Kerala red rice. Bakarkhani, a thick sweet flat bread generally served in Mughlai cuisine, and Mumbai's famous "Pao" or soft buns were dished out alongside.

Kashmiri kahwa from the northern region, south India's famous filter coffee and Darjeeling tea were also served.

Millet has come into fashion as a healthy alternative to wheat or rice after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization named 2023 as the International Year of millets.

Earlier this year, the versatile and climate friendly superfood grain featured at the White House state dinner for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Earlier the G20 states adopted a consensus declaration that avoided condemning Russia for the war in Ukraine but called on all states not to use force to grab territory.

Millet also found mention in their declaration.

"We encourage efforts to strengthen research cooperation on climate-resilient and nutritious grains such as millets, quinoa, sorghum, and other traditional crops including rice, wheat and maize," the statement said.

(Reporting by Krishn Kaushik and Aftab Ahmed in New Delhi; Editing by Alexander Smith)