Khazana changed my mind about Indian food
Khazana is located at 4900 North May Ave in Oklahoma City (map). Give them a call at 405-948-6606.
Growing up, I remember my grandfather going to India and always taking lots of peanut butter and crackers so he wouldn’t have to eat the food. I remember disregarding his advice and trying a few Indian places long my life’s journey, including places here in town, and having a similar sentiment. I never hated it, it just seemed the flavors and spices were a bit strong for my taste and they seemed to linger on the palate and skin for hours, and even days, to come. I was invited several months back to an Oklahoma Indian food place that changed my perception, opened my taste buds to dynamic flavors, and gave me the opportunity to eat one of my favorite occasional meats … goat!
The owners of Khazana position themselves as a trendy Indian buffet experience. They have the curries and masalas that you expect to see on any Indian buffet, but they somehow bring a level of flavor that puts the other Indian buffet’s in town to shame. My favorite is the goat masala, but it is not offered every day. It seems to be there a few times a month. The fine Indian chef geniuses at Khazana know we need to be healthy and strong and eat our spinach, so they serve it a few different ways. They have Palak Paneer, which is a spinach curry. It doesn’t look that great in my opinion (sort of like a vegetable puree), but it tastes fantastic. According to my local Indian expert, Palak means spinach, and Paneer means cheese. I sure didn’t see cheese in it, but it tasted good. They also kick spinach up another notch by deep frying it. Brilliant!
You know, I think our Indian friends could learn a little from our French friends when it comes to presentation. I mean, curries, masalas, and other Indian favorites don’t look all that great to me on the plate. Maybe that is why some people are hesitant to try Indian food since the saying “you eat it first with your eyes” is a very accurate reality. These dishes, however, have to be tasted before you write them off by their looks. The chicken and lamb curries are good. They are spicy but not so hot you can’t enjoy them. I think I’m a bigger fan of the masalas. Masala is a blend of spices that ranges from spicy to sweet, including cinnamon and cumin, and really has a flavor that is unique and rich. I particularly like it poured over bits of stewed goat. Yum.
Perhaps the star of the show at Khazana, though, is the tandoori chicken. Tandoori chicken is chicken marinated in yogurt, then seasoned with a special tandoori masala and cooked in a tandoor (oven). It’s spicy, but not overly hot. It’s bright red and brown and leaves a nice red slick on your hands that doesn’t wipe off real easy. That’s why I use a fork. It’s very flavorful chicken, though. It pairs well with a couple slices of Indian bread, or Nan (a crispy flat bread also cooked in the tandoor). Other things to enjoy here are various rice and vegetable dishes. Lots of words that I can’t decipher or remember. All I know is that the food at Khazana is a real step above any other Indian place I have ever tried. It is a buffet, and that is the extent of my Indian food adventures. You can order off the menu here, but I have never done that. I’m sure if you knew what you were doing that would be a good thing. I bet I could get goat right off the menu. Hmmm.
There isn’t a lot of bad about Khazana. It’s a buffet, which I would normally say is bad, but in this case, it’s all I know, and it’s pretty good. The worst part, as I mentioned before, is that these aromas and flavors really stick to you and linger for some time. Do your coworkers and families a favor and have a breath mint, or a handful of fennel seed,which you can grab on the way out, to help soften the blow.
So, if you have never had Indian food before, or even if you have and haven’t liked it in the past, try Khazana. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.