Mint chutney spices up kids' 'state dinner' at White House

Washington, July 10 (IANS) Healthy lunch recipes like "Kickin, Colourful, Bell Peppers" and "Lentil Spinach Soup and Mint Chutney" won five Indian-American kids invitations to kids' "state dinner" at the White House that President Barack Obama crashed.

"Usually, at a state dinner, I get invited, so I don't know what happened on this one," the president joked as he went around to each table to congratulate the kids at Tuesday's event.

"I hear the food is pretty good," said Obama as he made a surprise appearance at the event hosted by the first lady to welcome the winners of the second annual Healthy Lunchtime Challenge.

The five Indian-American kids were among the 54 winners - one from from each of the 50 states, plus three territories and the national capital - from more than 1,300 entries.

"This is what it's like to be a part of an official state dinner," Michelle Obama told the children and their parents gathered in the East Room. "We mirrored it exactly to what people experience when we host world leaders here."

The kids, ranging in age from 8 to 12, even got to experience an arrival ceremony in which they were officially announced as they made their way through the booksellers' entrance of the White House.

The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge is a recipe contest for kids across the country, launched in 2012 by Epicurious-a website about food-to promote healthy eating for children in the US.

The winning Indian kids and their recipes were: Shefali Singh, 12, (Falmouth, Massachusetts) - "Shefali's Scrumptious Spring Rolls"; Vijay Dey, 12, (Chapel Hill, North Carolina) - "Spring Rolls"; Anisha Patel, 11, (Blacklick, Ohio) - "Kickin, Colourful, Bell Peppers stuffed with Quinoa";

Ganesh Selvakumar, 9, (Broomall, Pennsylvania) - "Lentil Spinach Soup and Mint Chutney" and Devanshi Udeshi, 12, (Sugar Land, Texas) - "Slam Dunk Veggie Burger".

After lunch, recipe winners were treated to a performance by 15-year-old singer Rachel Crow before getting a tour of the White House kitchen garden.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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