|With the star bakers of Yazdani. Pic: Shaheen Peerbhai|
We met up for lunch. I introduced her to my Fort. A place where banana leaf meals are a fact of life and not just the name of a restaurant. Our little baker wanted to eat light and ordered a Keralite fish curry and rice. She changed her rice order when she saw my banana leaf sadiya (vegetarian Keralite meal). Spoon in hand she soon dug in and clicked away too. And for those who believe in what K and my in laws do, the surmai fry at Deluxe had just a masala coating. No frigging batter.
We stepped out and I offered to take her to Yazdani Bakery. Then got waylaid as I stumbled upon a coffee shop which looked exactly like a chai ka dukan (streetside tea shop). Never saw something like that before. Even after about four months at Fort. My Fort never stops surprising me.
Of course I had to stop. Had a filter coffee. The owner looked a bit worried as we took photos but got into the spirit of things once assured that we wouldn't report him to the authorities. He took over from his assistant and made the coffee himself. Gets the coffee from his gaon (village) at Karnataka apparently.
Shaheen clicked away with her fancy camera with detachable lenses. I looked in awe as she showed a camera function where things automatically looked blurred in the background. Made me felt like the Indian football team which made it to the World Cup in the 50s but couldn't go as they didn't have shoes.
The coffee was milky. Really strong and potent.
I then took our Size Zero Baker to Yazdani where Tirandaz Irani immediately allowed us into the baking zone. I felt honoured and at home at the same time. It felt great to see little Shaheen's eyes light up when she saw the wood fire oven. She was mumbling something about getting a pizza and tossing it in. Kids of today. She marvelled at the speed at which the bakers were packing the dough for the bread. I was in a spell as I saw the Christmas cakes going into the oven. My favourite raisins kept in a pile. Little did I know that I would actually have one of those cakes, fresh from the oven, at our office lunch on the 24th. Soft, fresh, full of raisins doused with rum which made me feel wary about driving back.
The two of us created quite a storm apparently. The bakers thought we were from the media, 'mediawalleh hain' and started posing for us. Everyone wanted to get photographed by young Shaheen who obviously added a touch of purple to the monochromatic settings.
On the way out we chatted with Tirandaz who enacted out the ad film shot at Yazdani involving Boman Irani and a fat woman. Tirandaz caught hold of one one of his bakers and made him play Boman while he sportingly played the fat wife. This was a film Kainaz had worked on and I texted her.
I asked Tirandaz about the story food journalist Vikram Doctor told me. Apparently Yazdani was the only bakery open this side of town during the riots of '92. Vikram and a group of Samaritans used to collect pao (local bread) from Yazdani every morning and take it to people stuck in the riot affected area. Triandaz confirmed and then said "luckily those days are long gone."
We spoke to Mr Rashid Irani, Tirandaz's uncle who introduced himself as 'Haroon Al Rashid' to Shaheen after the Arabian Knights. Shaheen had obviously won many hearts specially when I introduced her as a baker. Mr Irani had some advice for our Purple Foodie. "Women shouldn't be bakers, they should only bake babies". (!)
The icing on the cake was when the gentleman sitting beside Mr Rashid, Mr Mehernoush from Canada, asked Shaheen for the name of her blog. He exclaimed in recognition when he heard 'Purple Foodie'. Turned out that he loves to cook and that he reads Saheen's blog. Now what are the chances of that?
And this is what Shaheen Tweeted about our afternoon at Fort.
@ After a fabulous afternoon eating Keralite food and peeking into the Yazdani Bakery kitchen with @Finelychopped, I am truly #FortEnchanted
|A coffee shop which looks like a chai ka dookan. Fort continues to surprise me|
|The coffee comes all the way from Karnataka|
|Show me a cappuccino machine which can beat this|
|The boss takes over after we brandish our camera|
|Now, does she look scary like a Municipal Ma'am?|
|The Christmas cakes go into the oven at Yazdani|
|I am a raisin fanatic...no wonder yazdani works for me|
|"Butter to my bread"|
|Christmas Cake straight out of the oven|
|Had the Yazdani Christmas Cake at the office Christmas lunch. Am still heady (BB pic)|
|I am sure she would have like to pack the oven and take it home|
|Baker meets bakers "they are so fast"|
|Tirandaz Irani plays the role of the fat wife as he re-enacts "the washing soap" ad shot at Yazdani with Boman Irani. K had worked on the film|
|Mr Rashid Irani|