I am first American president to have recipe for daal: Obama
New Delhi: Former US president Barack Obama had the audience here in splits when he said that he was the first American president to have a recipe for daal, the humble Indian dish which is staple in many Indian households.
Speaking at the HT Leadership Summit in a question-answer session, he explained to Karan Thapar that the night before the waiter who served him daal, among other dishes, began explaining how daal was made. Obama said he told him that he need not do so, since he knew how to make daal and had his own recipe learnt from his Indian roommate when he was a student.
Even while he began speaking about his daal expertise at the summit, both the hand-held mikes of the interviewer and the interviewee malfunctioned. The two had to enter into off-mike small talk before it was replaced a couple of minutes later. "My keema is also good, and my chicken is OK," the main who earlier headed the most powerful office in the world said to smiles all around.
When Thapar asked him whether he could make a chapati, Obama said he could not. "Chapati is hard," the man who was one of the most popular presidents of the United States said.
At a time when Manmohan Singh is under attack from the ruling BJP, Obama praised the former Prime Minister saying he was a great support in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.
"(Manmohan) Singh was the primary partner while we were working during the financial meltdown (of 2008)," Obama said, admiring a "great" friend who laid the foundations of modern Indian economy.
He also praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his efforts to modernise Indian bureaucracy, saying he was "the primary partner during the making of Paris (climate) accord".
"I like him," Obama replied when he was asked about Modi. "I think he has a vision for the country... He is modernising elements of bureaucracy."
But he quickly added how he admired Manmohan Singh with whom he shared a friendly relationship.
"I was also great friends with (Manmohan) Singh... When you look at the steps Singh took to modernising the economy, it was the foundation for modernising Indian economy."
He said both Manmohan Singh and Modi were "sound leaders".