Ethnic Food Competition was the highlight of the East Indian Ethnic Food Festival 2015, organized by Maurya Kala Parisar on Friday 3 April, 2015 at Ras Salmiya. 70 dishes prepared by 42 contestants were on display at the competition. Mrs Rupam Sinha who had prepared “Khaja” (crisp croissants soaked in the sugar syrup), a sweet preparation specific to the regions around Rajgir region of Bihar, old capital of Mauryan Empire, was declared overall winner. She won the bumper prize of return trip to India sponsored by Air India.
A full vegetarian thali with vegetable kofta prepared by Deepti Pullela won the best prize in vegetarian section while Sana abdul Hameed won the best prize for her mutton malai korma dish. Assamese assorted platter, banana flower with chicken, another preparation from Assam, Vegetarian Momo a Nepalese delicacy, Mutton Malai Korma and Veg Kofta dishes from east India along with traditional dishes of Bihar & Jharkhand like Litti chokha, Dal Puri, Pitha Malpua, Pedakiya (Gujiya), Thekua (rural homemade cookies) and Khaja from Bihar and the region were on display in Ethnic Food Competition. Some gave exotic names to their dishes like Fishy Tales and then some were adventurous to experiment and match traditional vegetarian Ghughni with Chicken.
H.E Sri Sunil Jain, Ambassador of India to Kuwait, visited the Festival and gave away prizes. His wife Mrs. Gargi Jain accompanied him. “Generally Health and Taste do not go together” Sri Jain commented in good humor. He suggested there should be a category for fusion of Ethnic and Healthy Food next time. He commented ‘probably no other association is organizing regional food festival’. He was full of praise for Maurya Kala Parisar, Kuwait for bringing events of different kinds to the community in Kuwait. Maurya Kala Parisar has organized events like MindSpark: Dr. Rajendra Prasad Memorial Debate, Dinkar Hindi Poetry Awards, and Maurya Manch during the last one year.
A major attraction at the festival was taste of authentic East Indian ethnic food to the audience. Participants of this section also offered their contributions to audience on stalls provided by Maurya Kala Parisar. Participants’ enthusiasm to distribute their dishes to audience was surprising along with audience rush to the stalls. Ladies were seen comparing notes, how many dishes one was able to dish out and how fast.
One lady who was not able to find space to put her dish on the stall was encouraged by other to squeeze through otherwise she would have to take her dishes on a tray around for distributing. Her husband commented that was a good idea, we should have some mobile stalls also. The atmosphere was festive indeed. Men were tested for their skills of rolling a roti/ chapatti in on the spot Fun Competition. Results were mixed from round to unknown shapes.
The Festival also featured exhibition of culture and crafts from Bihar and Jharkhand, handmade greetings card, ethnic wear and accessories, and Thanjore art.
The total 9 prizes were given in three categories 1. Vegetarian 2. Non-Vegetarian 3. Dessert. The winners were, Deepti Pullela, Supriya Singh, Bhakti Sharma, Roopam Sinha, Anoo Srivastava, Chanchal Sinha, Sana Abdul Hamid, Bushra Ansari, and Tamanna Fazal. All other participants were honored also with consolation prizes and certificates. A large crowd gathered to savor the event and encourage the participants.
Judge panels for each category were headed by professional chefs and experts from prestigious Indian Restaurants in Kuwait and food enthusiasts from the region being the other two members. The judges were Mr. Mukesh Kumar, Mr. Ratheesan Valary, Mr. P. Jeganatha Reddy, Mrs. Meera Verma, Mr. Ashok Kumar Singh, Mr. Kamal Saxena, Mr. Chandrashekhar Verma, Mr. Bimal Sinha, Mr. Anurag Shrivastava, and Mr. Vivek Shrivastava.
Mughal Mahal & Air India sponsored the prizes for the event. Mr. Abhay Kashyap thanked them specially Mr. Mukesh Kumar of Mughal Mahal for devoting time and effort to support the event.
Maurya Kala Parisar (MKP), fondly known as Maurya, is active in Kuwait since 1995. The association registered with Indian Embassy in Kuwait is dedicated to promotion of arts, culture and social service among Indian community in Kuwait. The organization gets its name from the great Maurya dynasty of Patliputra of ancient India, which had kings like Ashoka, Chandragupt and Sher Shah Suri.
Organizing Team for the event included Mrs Divya Ritwik, Mrs Nivedita Sinha, Mrs Nitu Sinha, Mr Afroz Alam, Mr. Abhay Kashyap, Mr Sabir Ansari, Mr Vivek Sinha, Mr. Ramesh Kumar, Mr Shabih, Mr. Shahnawaz Mirza, Mr Zafar Siddiqi, Mr. Mohd. Mahtabuzzaman, Mrs. Sujata Kashyap, Mr. Uday Prakash, Mr. Mridul Kishor, Mrs. Bushra Ansari, Mrs. Shruti Katiyar, Mrs. Anu Shrivastava, Mrs. Pratima Ritwik, Mrs. Renu Singh, Mrs. Neelima Shrivastav, Mrs. Neelika Khan, Mrs. Shweta Shruti, Mrs. Supriya Sinha, and Mr. Ramesh Saini.