King Khan loves tandoori chicken, the Shamiana at the Taj and can’t live without chillies. He speaks to Express Foodie about his diet, the stuff he avoids and his restaurateur parents.
What do you eat when you’re shooting?
I generally avoid food cooked on the sets. I get home-cooked lunch – tandoori chicken or fish, and sometimes, bean sprouts or a vegetable dish.
What do you eat to stay fit?
Nothing! But I give up white rice, white bread, sugar and alcohol if I have to get in shape for a particular role besides ensuring that I eat smaller portions. I eat lean meats, pulses, egg whites and grilled chicken.
Which of your friends are foodies?
All my friends are foodies – Karan (Johar), Farhan (Akhtar), Farah (Khan), and even my childhood friends from Delhi. If they call me out for dinner, I eat at home and go out and have coffee with them.
What do you usually eat for dinner?
Tandoori chicken with tandoori roti, generally. A mutton dish once in a while.
Do you have favourite restaurants that you go back to often?
I am not into fine-dine restaurants. Several years ago, I went to a fancy French restaurant in Hong Kong. There were three glasses on my cover and I was quite puzzled. I will always remember the food my mom and dad cooked. They were restaurateurs (Khan’s parents — Mir Taj Mohammed Khan and Fatima — ran De Ramble’s in New Delhi), and knew their food. That’s why I don’t enjoy eating out, and keep my meals as simple as possible. Nothing seems to live up to their cooking. Although, I do enjoy the pastas at Mezzo Mezzo at the JW Marriott in Mumbai. I also like the Shamiana at The Taj (Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai).
Do you recall memorable meals that you’ve had during your travels abroad?
I remember restaurants more than the meals. When I travel abroad, I end up going to my favourite restaurants such as Nobu in London for their fabulous sushi, and Buddha Bar in New York for its chilled out vibe.
What’s comfort food?
Tandoori chicken. I am addicted to it and I can eat it 365 days a year. Some time ago, I had eaten a type of caviar on an Air India flight. But it’s been a while since I have eaten it anywhere again.
What are your childhood food memories?
My father was a Pathan and he ate like one, too. He used to eat a lot of dry Pathani food — which was traditional to Peshawar — particularly raan. My earliest food memory has to be of the food cooked at home. It has to be eating a wonderful raan cooked by my father.
What is the one dish made by your mother that you loved?
I loved her Hyderabadi food — the mutton biryani and khatti dal in particular. My mother cooked almost everything really well. I grew up eating Mughlai food.
What do you binge on?
And, what’s your poison?
More often than not, Bacardi but some wine, occasionally.
Is there an Indian regional cuisine that you love?
I love food from the northern parts of India — specially the raan and mutton dishes from Lucknow. I also enjoy Hyderabadi food since it tends to be spicy, and my mom cooked it rather well.
Do you like Indian sweets too?
I don’t like junk food or desserts. I sometimes eat an ice-cream, or a chocolate. Gauri (Khan, wife) makes a nice ice-cream with digestive biscuits. I don’t eat fruits.
What’s your favourite breakfast?
Since I wake up late, I usually skip breakfast. When I do have breakfast, it is usually egg whites, a glass of orange juice and a vitamin tablet.
Do you try your hand at cooking?
Well, not too much. I have cooked Batman cookies with my son when he was a little boy. I can boil eggs, make tea. And I make very good phulkas — soft and round. I also cook pretty decent pasta.
Is there a spice you love?
Red chillies, for sure, because I like spicy food.
What are you sure to stock in your fridge?
Pepsi and chicken.