Fullerton, is home to a unique culinary treasure: Khan Saab Desi Craft Kitchen. This 100% Halal eatery, masterminded by the acclaimed Pakistani Chef Imran “Ali” Mookhi, has become a beacon of gastronomic excellence. Recently, it earned a spot on the prestigious 2023 MICHELIN Guide and was honored with the Bib Gourmand Award for the third consecutive year since its opening in 2020. This accolade, signifying “good quality, good value,” is a testament to the restaurant’s commitment to excellence, subjected to the same meticulous scrutiny by MICHELIN inspectors as their starred counterparts.
Nestled in Downtown Fullerton’s vibrant neighborhood, Khan Saab is renowned for pioneering upscale Desi cuisine, seamlessly blending the tastes of Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan into a singular, Halal menu. Chef Imran “Ali” Mookhi, a virtuoso in the culinary arts, has honed his skills under MICHELIN-starred mentors across the globe. His creative fusion of traditional Desi flavors with contemporary flair has earned him national acclaim, with notable stints at prestigious establishments like Tantra on Sunset and Tamarind of London in Newport Coast.
Chef Mookhi’s passion for reinventing Western perceptions of Desi cuisine is palpable. MICHELIN guide again is a true honor and reflects our team’s dedication to reimagining Desi cuisine,” he remarks. Khan Saab’s success, he believes, is a collective achievement, bolstered by a loyal clientele and a supportive community. Known for his innovative approach, Mookhi skillfully infuses modern techniques with traditional Desi recipes. This fusion not only preserves the essence of the original dishes but also introduces them to a broader audience in a new and exciting way. “To be recognized in the MICHELIN guide again is a true honor and reflects our team’s dedication to reimagining Desi cuisine,” he remarks. Khan Saab’s success, he believes, is a collective achievement, bolstered by a loyal clientele and a supportive community. Plus, he actively engages with the community and promotes cultural exchange through his culinary creations.
Here are some of dishes to look out for:
Beef (Sirloin) Kebabs: These kebabs are a testament to Chef Mookhi’s mastery over red meat. Marinated in a blend of spices, mustard oil, yogurt, and garlic, the beef is succulent and rich in flavor. The kebabs are grilled to perfection, showcasing a charred exterior and a tender, juicy interior. They are presented elegantly on skewers, garnished with fresh herbs and accompanied by a side of dipping sauce, making them both visually appealing and delicious.
Khan Biryani: This dish is a celebration of aromatic spices and tender meat. Layered with basmati rice, marinated meat (often chicken or lamb), and a medley of spices like saffron, cardamom, and cloves, the biryani is slow-cooked to allow the flavors to meld beautifully. Visually, it’s a vibrant dish, with the golden hues of the rice contrasted with the bright greens of coriander and mint. The biryani is often garnished with fried onions, adding a delightful crunch.
Chicken Karahi: A popular Pakistani dish, chicken karahi is known for its rich, spicy tomato base. The chicken is cooked with tomatoes, green chilies, ginger, and a variety of spices, creating a robust and tangy flavor profile. The dish is typically served in a karahi (wok), which not only lends its name to the dish but also adds to the rustic aesthetic. The vibrant red of the gravy, complemented by the green of fresh coriander and ginger julienne, makes it visually striking.
A novel aspect of Khan Saab is its craft, 100% non-alcoholic bar program, a pioneering concept in Southern California and a rarity nationwide. The mocktail menu is as innovative as the food, featuring Desi-inspired concoctions like the Tower of Peshawar and the Smoked Negroni, adding an extra layer of intrigue to the dining experience.
In conclusion, Khan Saab, under the leadership of Chef Imran Ali Mookhi, is not just a restaurant; it’s a cultural experience that brings the essence of Desi cuisine to the heart of California, marrying traditional flavors with contemporary culinary practices, all while staying true to its Halal roots.
For more insights into this culinary gem, visit khansaaboc.com or follow @khansaab_oc on Instagram.
Hours: Monday – Friday: 4pm-11pm
Saturday and Sunday: 2pm-11pm
Address: 229 East Commonwealth Avenue, Fullerton
Photo credits: Courtesy of Khan Saab and Ajenda Public Relations