Syed’s bandi in Banjara Hills dishes out yummy mirchi bajji, complete with khatti chutney and onions
The lane that leads up to Star Hospital at Road No. 3 Banjara Hills is also famous for another reason. People in the neighbourhood know why this lane is ‘must visit’ in the evening hours, despite the absence of any shopping destinations. . The star attraction of this lane is a bandi selling mirchi bajji, egg bajji, masala vada and samosa.
Syed Mumshaad Ali’s bandi is popular primarily because he serves mirchi bajji the way it should be — with a generous helping of khatti chutney inside the vertically cut mirchi which is then batter fried and served with some indigenous masala.
One bite and you get a sense of the distinctly unique taste of mirchi — hot and sour crunchy mirchis with chopped onions that add spunk to the flavour.
The idea of seting up a bandi struck Syed when he wasn’t able to find the right mirchi bajji for an evening snack. Syed is wheelchair bound; he had lost his legs in an accident and his friends got him a ‘1 Re coin box phone so that he could earn his pocket money and stay busy. “One day, as usual I was near the box when I had the urge to eat mirchi bajji, so I sent out one of my cousins to fetch me some. But none of the bajjis had the taste that I was craving for,” says Syed.
Syed then asked his mother, aunts and friends about how they love the mirchi bajji and everyone spoke about the cut mirchi with khatti chutney.
Only a few stalls sell this sort of mirchi bajji.
“I remember the taste and soon I set up a small place selling bajjis of all sorts. Every evening by 3 p.m, I open my shop and prepare the bajjis just as customers begin trickling in. I don’t keep these things ready as they get soggy and cold and I don’t believe in re-heating them and serving,” says Syed.
To ensure that his customers do not block traffic, Syed offers a super quick service.