Rajma-chawal catches on in US Air Force

August 31st, 2008 - 2:38 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 31 (IANS) Besides getting intrigued by the skills and prowess of Indian Air Force’s (IAF’s) fighter jets, the US Air Force warriors got hooked on Indian rajma-chawal (kidney beans and rice) during the latest multinational war games held in the US.The US Air Force personnel got a taste of Indian cuisine during the multinational exercise the Red Flag-08 at US air force base Nellis, in which the IAF participated for the first time.

“The IAF hosted a small lunch for the US Air Force and South Korean Air Force personnel on Aug 15 with Indian food, like Hyderabadi biryani, rajma chawal and shahi paneer on the menu,” a senior IAF official in the contingent participating in the exercise told IANS.

“Finding a taste for the Indian delicacy, the air warriors also tried to emulate the Indian way of eating rajma chawal, that is by hand. In fact they were licking their fingers at the end of the lunch,” the official added.

The commander of the Pacific Command Lt. Gen. Lyod Utterback also attended the party and savoured the Indian food.

“The IAF contingent which has gone to the US for participating in the month long military exercises has taken along with it packed food to avoid eating junk food there,” the official added.

In fact, the IAF carried 2.5 tonnes of packed food packets of rajma chawal, Hyderabadi biryani, shahi paneer, palak paneer and other Indian dishes with them.

“Nearly one quarter of the IL-76 of transport aircraft was stored with the packed Indian food. On Independence Day we just thought of throwing a party,” the official added.

After relishing the food the US Air Force and South Korean troops only said one thing -”Indian food is good, but red hot!”

The Red Flag-08, considered one of the toughest military exercises, was held at the Air Force base Nellis in Nevada, US.

Though India has participated in many US-led war games, this is the first time it is taking part in the Red Flag. India has spent around Rs.1 billion ($25 million) for the exercise. IAF participation in the exercise began Aug 10 till Aug 24.

This year the Red Flag features air force contingents from France, South Korea, India and the US.

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