Growing up in Cambodia, Zahidah Hyman has always loved Asian cuisine. When she was a child, her family moved to the United States; at 25, she wound up in Florida. After she settled into her new home, she noticed that there weren’t many Asian restaurants nearby.
“I called my mom every day for recipes and learned to cook Asian cuisine,” she says.
Hyman’s next move brought her to Oklahoma, where she continued to work on her new recipes. “I started having dinner parties and experimenting on my friends,” she says. “That’s how my passion for cooking started.”
Family and friends always encouraged Hyman to open a restaurant of her own, and in 2007, she and her husband, Bill, created Keo. The restaurant now has two Tulsa sites, with one on Brookside and the other on Yale Avenue off the Creek Turnpike.
Her vision with Keo is to offer modern, healthy Southeast Asian food by utilizing fresh ingredients prepared in traditional ways.
Many of the recipes reflect the best dishes in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Malaysia. Hyman notes, “When I started, I went to my mom for recipes; now I travel and get ideas for my menus from places that inspire me.”
Hyman and her husband enjoy being creative and have plans in the works for Keo. “My brain is always going,” she says. “We have a seasonal tasting menu, and this month, we’re working on our fall tasting menu.”
She says owning her own restaurant has been very rewarding, especially when she sees her customers enjoy their experience.
To learn more about Keo, visit www.keorestaurant.com.
Hyman often makes this dish at home. “I love to make Indian curry because my grandfather was from India, so my mother often made curry,” she says. “It was a staple growing up.”
Method Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onions, ginger and garlic. Cook and stir for about six to eight minutes until the onions turn translucent. Stir curry powder, cumin, turmeric, coriander and cayenne. Add chicken and cook on medium heat for about 30 minutes. Add yogurt and cook for another 15 minutes. Turn the heat down and add cilantro.
Assembly Serve over white rice or with naan bread.