Khalid Khan, the head chef at Lasan, draws on the many regional influences and styles of his homeland to elevate Indian cuisine to a new level
Tell us about your cooking.
My style is true Indian, but India is a vast country with so many regional styles and great variety. At Lasan, we draw on those regional influences, retaining the authentic flavours but adding finesse. We are faithful to India but not bound by tradition and are more interested in the values that underpin those traditions and have made Indian food so captivating.
How did you become a chef?
I began cooking in 1996 in my home state of Bihar in East India and have worked in high-end restaurants and hotels in India, Saudi Arabia and Dubai. I enjoyed learning new things and gaining more experience.
What do you eat when at home?
We’re always trying new things at home. There’s new stuff coming on the market all the time to try. But seasonality and freshness is always important.
Who’s the best chef in the world and why?
I have a lot of respect for Gordon Ramsay who I met when Lasan was named Restaurant of the Year on his programme The F-Word.
Is the customer always right?
There are times when the customer isn’t right, but it’s important for restaurants to always listen to what they have to say because customers are paying and their feedback is important to us.
Share a cooking tip
Planning is absolutely crucial ¬¬– whether you’re cooking in a restaurant or at home. Work out your timings and have ingredients ready prepared to use as they are needed. If you don’t plan, you can become rushed and confused and things can go wrong.
What was your favourite food as a kid?
The dish I always enjoyed as a child in Bihar was biriyani and I’m happy to say that we serve absolutely fantastic biriyanis in the restaurant!
Food heaven and food hell?
My idea of heaven is Indian food that has been prepared with skill and love and with an understanding of the values that make it unique. To be honest, I’d be hard-pressed to say what was my idea of food hell because I enjoy most types of food.
If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?
I’d be a lecturer teaching people to cook. I’m so passionate about this industry that I’d want to pass on that passion together with my knowledge and skills to the next generation.
What do you recommend from this evening’s menu?
I have to smile at that question because I’d recommend any of the dishes on the menu. But, because of my love of biriyani, that would be high up the list.
KHALID’S ROASTED QUAIL AND SAFFRON POTATO (KESRI BATAER)
- 1 whole skinless quail
- 5g cumin seeds
- 1 whole red chilli
- 50ml hung yoghurt
- 10g ginger and garlic paste
- 20g boiled onion paste
- 1/2tsp raw mango powder
- 1tbsp Channa Masala
- 5ml lemon juice
- 10ml mustard oil
- Salt to taste
- Rub salt, ginger and garlic paste, lemon juice onto the quail and rest for 1 hour.
- Lightly toast the cumin seeds and red chilli, then blend into paste.
- Together with the remaining ingredients mix the marinade and apply on to the quail, keep aside for another hour.
- Cook in preheated oven on a tray, under moderate heat for approx 15 to 20 minutes.
(PS: You can use the same marinade to bring barbecues alive!)