The humble 'avarekai' is back to entice food lovers in the city. Organised by Shri Vasavi Condiments, the 18th edition of the 'Avarebele Mela' offers more than 200 types of sweets and savouries, all made with 'avarekai'. The items offered here use the bean in two forms - 'hithkabele' (peeled) and 'avarebele' (unpeeled).
Foodies from all over the city are lining up in front of the stalls to have some of their favourites.
Manjunath, a professional, and his wife Gayatri were on their way to work when they saw that the annual 'mela' was back on Food Street. They made a quick stop to relish some of the available items.
Manjunath says, "I'm glad that we stumbled upon this during the daytime. It's quite packed in the evening and on weekends. 'Dosa', 'gulab jamun' and 'akki roti' are some of our favourites."
The fair offers fresh beans right from the farms. However, the vendors say that the business is less this year. Kumar. who works at 'Annapurneshwari Hichukida Avarabele', says, "We are hoping for more people to come over the weekend but the crowd so far hasn't been as much as we had expected. Nevertheless, there are many who come every year without fail; it's nice to see some familiar faces around."
It's the first time for assistant professor Kannika at the fair. "I work at CGS Jain College in VV Puram so this is walking distance for me. I didn't know that you could make such a variety of dishes with this bean. My family has asked me to bring some raw 'avarekai' so that we can make some items at home too," she explains.
There are many takers for items like 'holige', 'jalebi', 'upittu', 'akki roti', 'vada', 'bonda' and 'dosa'.
Visiting the fair every year has become a must-do activity for Purnima, a homemaker. This year, she came with her neighbours Sandhya and Suja.
Purnima says, "Even though I live in Bommanahalli, I make it a point to visit the fair every year. The taste of every dish is consistent, especially that of 'dosa', 'akki roti', 'holige' and 'vada'. 'Avarekai' is a vegetable unique to the State. It is great to try out some authentic dishes prepared by the farmers themselves."
Sandhya adds, "It's the first time for me and Suja and I'm glad we came here. There's plenty more to explore and we hope to taste every item available here, and maybe even take some home."
The 'Avarebele Mela' at Food Street, VV Puram will conclude on January 15. The 'mela' will also be held in Malleswaram from January 19 to 28 and in Nagarabhavi from February 2 to 11. Entry to the festival is free.