Zarine Khan has always been in the wings supporting her actor-turned producer-director husband Sanjay Khan, and her four children Farah Khan Ali, Simone Arora, Sussanne Khan and Zayed Khan. For the first time, Zarine faces the camera for her new show Spices & Secrets with Zarine Khan to air on Living Foodz. Bollywood’s young and old know her for the lavish home-cooked lunches and dinners at the Khan household, and now, she invites these celebrities to the show. “It’s been a beautiful journey,” she says of her television debut. “Initially, it was overwhelming when the artist would keep touching up my hair or makeup during the shoot. But I kept my calm and told myself: Mind over matter. Once I decided to take on this show, I decided to give it my 100%. Luckily, I am a cool-minded Parsi and don’t get hassled easily,” she chuckles.
The Khan Kitchen
“A family that eats together stays together—we’re quite a rowdy bunch at the dining table. Talking about what’s happening around the world—history, politics, architecture. But never discussing people or gossip,” she quips. Holding the fort is not an easy task, but Zarine acknowledges that she’s learnt from the best. Her grandmother was extraordinary when it came to cooking Parsi food. Later, her mother-in-law Bibi Fatima Begum, was a maverick in the kitchen and passed on several family recipes to Zarine. “She also told me that the secret to happiness is having lots of children. I’m so happy that I have three girls and one boy, one of them is always around me,” says Zarine who picked up recipes and skills from both these ladies and graduated into the seasoned chef that she is today.
Luckily for her, her children were never fussy eaters. “Food is very important for us and it’s always been a love-relationship where we look forward to eating. We are mindful not to overeat or binge,” says Zarine. And that is evident looking at the fit family.
Hostess with the Mostest
The lavish soirées hosted by Zarine and Sanjay Khan are no secret, a generation of Bollywood kids has grown up savouring the delicacies from her kitchen. Actor Abhay Deol remembers looking forward to “Zarine Aunty’s chicken biryani,” and comes back for more, on the show. She takes pride in the fact that they have never had to hire any outside help for these parties, and she always serves home-cooked delicacies. When it comes to executing a good party, it all comes down to organisational skill, effort and care, attention to detail and focused planning, “We have been extremely fortunate to have excellent household staff whom I have trained and who have stayed with us for several years. All I need to do is plan the menu and make lists of my requirements whether it is ingredients, décor or crockery, and they get it all arranged, so I can add my finishing touches.”
Between shoots, Zarine is busy planning a menu for a party being hosted by her daughter Farah Khan Ali. “Every time any of my children is throwing a party, they want me to plan the menu. And they want biryani on the menu! But I’m tired of making biryani,” she says rattling off a delicious menu “…so this time I’m making Chelo rice, Parsi mutton curry, chops in hara masala, Dum ka keema….”
Rapid Fire Round with Zarine Khan:
- Favourite restaurant in Mumbai: Royal China
- Weirdest food you have eaten: I once ate frog legs at Parmeshwar Godrej’s party.
- Favourite spice: Green chilli and red chilli powder. Irrespective of the cuisine, I definitely enjoy a green chilli, just a bite is enough to add a flavoursome twist.
- What do you like snacking on: I love spicy bhel puri, sev puri and ragda pattice.
- What do you love cooking for your family: They love my chicken kurma, dum ka keema, and biryani.
- A secret to cooking great food: Always cook with love and be patient. Put in all the ingredients slowly and steadily and the flavours will come together into the food. Nothing is quick.
- Favourite Parsi dishes: Patra ni Machhi, White Fish Curry, Dhansak, Parsi Mutton Curry, fresh Bombil fish fry, Lagan nu Custard.
- Your children and grandchildren’s favourite dishes: When they were kids, my four children loved eating peeli daal, white rice and fish fry for lunch. And for dinner, they loved a good Aloo Gosht without any chilli. Now, of course, they eat fusion food. On the other hand, my grandkids love my biryani, again without chillies.
Watch Spices & Secrets with Zarine Khan on Saturday and Sunday at 8pm only on Living Foodz.
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