Indian American girl Shreya Patel of Chicago pleases Obamas with Quinoa Burger

Patel, 9, added garam masala to the burger.

Photo via
Photo via

AB Wire

NEW YORK: Nine-year-old Indian American budding cook Shreya Patel, of Schaumburg, Illinois, was a star at the White House this past July 4th weekend, at the fourth annual Kids’ State Dinner hosted by first lady Michelle Obama, where the president Barack Obama also came by to savor dishes.

Patel, a first generation Indian American, came up with a spicy quinoa burger to clinch her spot at a festive, flower-bedecked table in the East Room, reported the Chicago Tribune.

Patel was amongst 55 young cooks who were given red carpet treatment at the White House.

The boys and girls invited to the event had won local competitions to create a recipe for a healthy lunch. Every state and territory was represented, and two guests were from the Chicago area, including Patel. The other girl, Abigail Horne, 8, from Hammond, Indiana, won with a turkey burger resting atop a wheatless bun. Jicama-and-apple slaw was her side dish.

President Barack Obama declared allegiance to an avocado dip called “Barack-amole,” the handiwork of a 9-year-old Californian.

The contest was open to children ages 8 to 12, and nearly 1,000 recipes were submitted, according to the first lady’s office.

The menu featured Mediterranean rockin’ roasted vegetables, vegetable confetti spring rolls and a California rainbow taco —with that famous Barack-amole married with “Mic-kale Obama Slaw.”

The Broadway cast of the Disney musical “Aladdin” performed after dessert and truly stole the show. Colorfully garbed singer-dancers rocked the room with hits such as “A Whole New World.”

The Tribune reported Patel started cooking at age three with her grandmother. Her quinoa burger was enhanced with garam masala, cumin, ginger and grated serrano chilis.

Shreya Patel, photo via
Shreya Patel, photo via

Patel will soon enter fifth grade at Fairview Elementary School in Hoffman Estates. When she grows up, she might be a pharmacist — like her dad. Priti Patel, her mother, chaperoned her at the meet.

The Kids’ State Dinner is part of Michelle Obama’s move to combat childhood obesity. Her “Let’s Move” initiative is 5-plus years old. After lunch, the winners got a tour of the first lady’s White House Kitchen Garden — to walk off the calories.

Here’s Patel’s recipe, according to the Chicago Sun-Times:

Here’s her recipe:



 1 cup cooked garbanzo beans

 ½ cup cooked quinoa

 ¼ cup chopped kale

 ¼ cup peeled and chopped onion

 1 small boiled potato

 ½ teaspoon garam masala

 ½ teaspoon ground cumin

 ¼ teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger

 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced

 ¼ teaspoon grated serrano chile pepper

 ¼ cup panko bread crumbs

 Salt and pepper to taste

 2 tablespoons olive oil

 ½ cup Greek yogurt

 ¼ cup grated cucumber

 4 whole wheat buns

 Sliced tomatoes

 Baby spinach leaves

 Coarsely chop the garbanzo beans by hand or in a food processor. In a large bowl, combine the chopped garbanzo beans with the quinoa, kale, onion, potato, garam masala, cumin, ginger, garlic, serrano chile and bread crumbs.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir thoroughly, then form into four round patties.

 In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the patties and cook, flipping once, five minutes per side or until brown and crispy.

 Meanwhile, in a small bowl, make the raita by combining the yogurt and cucumber. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

 To assemble the sandwiches, place the patties on the whole wheat buns, and top with raita, tomato and spinach leaves.

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