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Home > Sunday Mid Day News > Indian voters share what politicians should eat in the run up for the Lok Sabha elections

Indian voters share what politicians should eat in the run-up for the Lok Sabha elections

Updated on: 05 May,2024 09:30 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Nasrin Modak Siddiqi |

You are as you eat. Voters tell us what fuelling meals their representatives should eat in a run-up for the hot seat

Indian voters share what politicians should eat in the run-up for the Lok Sabha elections

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde along with Deputy Chief Ministers Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar, with other ministers attending a tea party at Sahyadri guest house in Mumbai. Pic/Ashish Raje

HOT SEAT: Gujarat
Ras rotli for reforms

Even if it sounds sleep-inducing, Gujaratis can’t stay away from mango ras, puri or be-pad (two-fold) roti during summer. “I’d say dhokla with green chatni for breakfast and ras roti for a power lunch with a tall glass of masala chaas is a complete power meal option,” says Sarla Chand Samuel, media advisor.

Even on the run, Gujaratis will eat dal bhaat saak ne rotli, and mango ras gets added in the summers. If not ras, mangoes for sure as they are enriched with vitamins, minerals, fibre, antioxidants, and more. 


12-15 mangoes
1 cup sugar 
A few strands of saffron
A pinch of cardamom
Nuts for garnishing

Choose ripe, sweet, juicy, less fibrous mangoes such as Alphonso, Sentooram, Neelam, and Banganapalli varieties. Add sugar and blend with a hand blender. Mix in saffron and cardamom and garnish with chopped nuts or a few strands of saffron. Serve cold with hot puris or rotlis.

Dahi churra for democracy

Sattu drink
Sattu drink

“One of the most consistent heavy breakfast food items in Bihar is dahi churra, which can help people fight and counter the relentless summer heat,” says Hemlekha Dubey. The state is famous for its fragrant katarni rice and chura. Dahi chura is a simple dish featuring moist poha—cleaned and soaked in water—along with curd, freshly cut Malda mangoes and bananas, if available, along with gur.

Hemlekha Dubey enjoying dahi churra, sattu and aam jhora. PIC/ATUL KAMBLE.
Hemlekha Dubey enjoying dahi churra, sattu and aam jhora. PIC/ATUL KAMBLE.

“Unlike how most of middle and western India consumes poha, the Biharis prefer it sweet. The dish acts as a coolant through quite a few hours of the day,” she informs. Pair it with a sattu drink. It is simple to make and keeps the tummy full and cool throughout the day. It’s primarily a mixture of sattu, plain salt, kala namak, green chilli, hing, corriander leaves, nimbu, and cold water. Some people also prefer the sweetened version of sattu with cold milk and sugar.

Dahi churra

1 cup poha
1/2 cup dahi
3 tbsp jaggery

Clean and soak poha. Drain. Top it with beaten curd. Serve with jaggery chunks—topped or on the side.

Panta bhaat for Parliament

“In summer, the most beneficial and popular dish in the region is panta bhaat, which is cooked leftover rice, left to soak in water for at least eight to nine hours,” says Kolkata-based home-chef and food consultant Iti Misra, adding, “This allows the rice to absorb the water, which helps hydrate the system during the hot season. Also, the starch in the rice and water ferments slightly, providing beneficial probiotics that help with gut healing and easy digestion. Overall, it is a blend of strength-giving carbohydrates,  vitamins and minerals already present in the rice, with gut-friendly nutrients from the fermenting, making it a sustaining, healthy dish. It is highly recommended for persons who spend an active day in the scorching hot sun.”

Also, there is no need to time this healthy meal—panta bhaat can be  eaten cold and can be served at any time and place, making it extremely convenient to carry around when schedules are erratic.  “Depending on your mood for the day, the accompaniments can be as simple as salt, onion and chilli, or as elaborate as fried fish and various greens and vegetable mashes. These can be customised to suit the campaigners’ taste, availability and convenience,” adds Misra. “You can start your day with a plate of panta-bhaat and have the fuel to take on any challenges. If not, end your day after a trek in the searing heat and cool off with a plate of chilled panta, and your batteries are recharged,” she adds.

Panta bhaat

Panta Bhaat, a traditional fermented rice dish popular in Bengal, Odisha, and Jharkhand, is enjoyed during the hot summer months. Made here by Kolkata chef Iti Misra. PIC/ASHISH RAJE. Panta Bhaat, a traditional fermented rice dish popular in Bengal, Odisha, and Jharkhand, is enjoyed during the hot summer months. Made here by Kolkata chef Iti Misra. PIC/ASHISH RAJE.

2 cups leftover rice
4 cups cold water

There is no recipe or directions required for this humble but power-packed dish. Just cover some cooked rice ( this can be either parboiled or raw rice )with sufficient cold water and leave aside for at least 8 to 10 hours.  If the kitchen is too hot, leave it in a cool spot in the house—no need to refrigerate.  After the allotted time, the rice will have fermented slightly, imparting a light tangy taste, which is most palatable. Add salt and lemon juice, and drizzle some fresh mustard oil over it (optional). The rice is eaten along with the water in which it was soaked—this carries all the goodness of the nutrients. Accompany it with raw onion, green chillies, fried red chillies, salt, mustard oil, and limes for that add-on kick.

Mudde for majority

“Ragi mudde isn’t a meal; it’s a colloquial Karnataka experience and an acquired taste,” says RT Nagar’s Bhavna Dalwani. The homemaker who has called Bengaluru her home for over 46 years now enjoys painting and photography, and consumes current affairs through Instagram and Google feeds. “Mudde is a popular lunch dish in Karnataka that’s nutritious, healthy, very filling, and perfect for long, hot campaigning days,” she adds.

Since her husband, Ramesh was born and raised in the city, Bhavna learnt to make it for him 20 years ago and has slipped it into their stronghold Sindhi menu. “It is healthy and filling and goes year-round with sambhar or a non-veg gravy. It’s a lump (meaning mudde or hittu as it means dough), and you are meant to swallow it. Making it is more of a technique than a recipe—mix ragi flour and hot water. I occasionally add rice flour and ghee and have mastered the technique and proportion over the years.”

Ragi mudde

1 cup ragi flour
2 cups hot water
1 tbsp ghee
Salt, according to taste

Heat the water in a saucepan with salt and bring it to a hard boil. Add half the ragi flour in it and stir continuously to prevent lumps. Reduce the flame and slowly add the remaining ragi flour. Keep stirring it till the mixture thickens and forms a semi-solid consistency. Add ghee to it and keep stirring until you see a glaze; it should take about eight to 10 minutes. Remove the vessel from flame and pour into small bowls to make the mudde. While hot, roll them into balls using a spoon so as not to burn your palms. Serve hot with a bowl of sambhar and a tall glass of buttermilk.

Rajma chawal for rajneeti

Quintessentially Delhi, Rajma chawal is a capital staple. “With the hot election campaign, my ideal recommendation would be dal chawal, but I am going to recommend rajma chawal, kyunki election mein dal mein kuch kala toh hota hai,” laughs Urvashi Anand, functional trainer and Reebok India running squad coach who leads a running community, Adobe India Runners.

“This classic comfort dish for North Indians combines red kidney beans with steamed rice—a balance of carbohydrates and protein. The complex carbohydrates from rice can help increase serotonin levels in the brain, promoting relaxation and better sleep. Additionally, the protein in kidney beans contains an amino acid called tryptophan, which supports melatonin production—a hormone that regulates sleep,” informs Anand.


1 cup rajma
3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 inch ginger 
1 cup onion, finely chopped
3 green chillies
1 cup tomatoes, finely chopped 
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala

Soak rajma overnight; pressure cook it the next day with mild salt. Sauté garlic and ginger. Add chopped onion and green chilli onions, cook till soft. Add chopped tomatoes and cook till oil separates. Add salt and dried spices and roast well till the raw smell goes away. Add rajma and pressure cook for two whistles. Garnish with coriander and serve with hot steamed rice.

Jowar khichdi for justice

In Telangana, jowar and ragi are the preferred millets for daily diets, with jowar roti usually a staple for lunch or dinner. “In fact, the present CM, Revanth Reddy, usually eats jowar roti, some rice and country chicken curry, called natu kodi pulusu,” informs nutritionist Sujatha Stephen, who has over 20 years experience in clinical nutrition and is currently working as a chief dietician at Yashoda Hospitals, Malakpet, Hyderabad.

She says, “A power meal for any politician should be his breakfast because it is the first meal and most politicians start their day early, especially during campaigns. Once they go out, they have no control over time as they meet many people and have meetings. So a healthy breakfast is a must as it takes care of their sugar levels, aids in weight management and keeps their brain active. A foxtail and jowar khichdi will help them feel full for longer, prevent overeating, and give them the energy to carry out hectic tasks easily. They won’t get mood swings or be irritable during the day,” she adds.

Foxtail jowar millet kichdi

1 cup foxtail millet
1 cup jowar rawa
1/2 cup green moong dal
1 cup mixed vegetables (green peas, carrot, etc) 
3 cloves 
1 tsp jeera 
1 tsp chopped ginger 
3 chillies, chopped
Few curry leaves 
1/4 tsp turmeric 
1/4 cup onion chopped 
1 tsp ghee 

Wash and soak the dal and millet together for three hours and drain. Add ghee, chillies, cloves, jeera, ginger, curry leaves, and onion in a cooker. Sauté for 30 seconds. Add four cups of water and salt, and once it comes to a boil, add the dal-millet mix and veggies, then a pinch of turmeric. Mix well and let it cook. This can be had for breakfast.

Fiery pork for the front runner

“This fiery smoked pork cooked in axone and bhut jolokia is a high protein power-packed meal that will keep politicians in high spirits—at least until the results are out,” laughs Alison Lethorn an Anglo Indian home chef, born and raised in Dimapur. “A hearty meal sounds right for the most stressful yet exciting time for them,” says Lethron, who posts recipes on YouTube and Instagram.

“The culture, the scenic beauty, the food—the whole aura of Dimapur is so special to me and the only way to experience it all when being away is the food. Naga food is a staple in our home even today,” she adds. While pork is a preferred choice of meat, soyabean, axone, or akhuni is essentially fermented soyabean, which is further preserved by drying. These are  the indigenous flavours of 
Nagaland as well as a few other states of the North East.

Fiery smoked pork in axone and bhut jolokia

1 kg smoked pork
2 tbsp ginger
1 tbsp garlic
7-8 dry red chillies
2 bhut jolokia
4 tomatoes
1/2 cup axone
Salt as per taste
250 gms mustard leaves

Cut the smoked pork into cubes, add to a pan, and fry well until it starts releasing oil. Add salt and fry well for a few minutes on high heat. Add pounded fresh ginger and garlic and fry, then add tomatoes cut in half, whole dry red chillies, and axone. Add water, cover, and cook on low heat for 30 minutes. Remove the red chillies and tomatoes, and mash well with a mortar and pestle. Add the chillies and tomato paste back to the pan. Let it boil well, and add more water if needed (as per preference), and let boil for another five minutes. Add the bhut jolokia chillies and mustard leaves. Cook for another five minutes. Serve with steamed rice, veggies of choice, and a fiery hot chutney.

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