The Good City takes you to V V Puram in Bangalore where the winter special hyacinth bean, locally popular as Avarebele, has a street food festival in its honour for 17 years in row.
Also, don't miss the quick guide to popular dishes!
Read the article & see the video* too
The Sajjan Rao circle in Visvesvarapuram is ringed by many temples. The oldest are the Subramanya temple, which is also the most famous, the Venkataramana temple and Sathyanarayana temple.
If the devout come to offer prayers in the morning, they are equally fervent come evening.
They are headed not to a temple but to a lane that leads off Sajjan Rao Circle, Old Market Road, that has become famous as Food Street.
It is the place to savour local delicacies* like paddu, akki rotti, kodbale and a variety of dosas slathered with butter. In recent years, popular street food from other parts of India have also found their way here.
Today, we are in luck as the famous avarekai festival is going on. Avarekai or the hyacinth bean is a winter favourite and is supposed to have antimicrobial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, appetite suppressant, antispasmodic and even aphrodisiacal properties.
It is believed that the hyacinth bean is from Africa and was brought to India sometime between 1600-1500 BC
Once a year, avarekai is the 'Queen' of the menu, headlining every dish. Avarekai is commonly used in popular dishes akki rotti, uppittu and saaru. For the duration of this food fest, all the familiar favourites are there but with an infusion of this bean.
The avarekai dosa - a dense utthapam-style dosa liberally sprinkled with avarekai and served with a spicy saaru, avarekai holige, avarekai jalebi, avarekai idli, avarekai vada, avarekai kodubale, avarekai nippattu, avarekai bhaath and even avarekai cutlets!
The traditional sweets like
holige & jalebi also have
avarekai in them! The only dessert that has so far escaped avarekai is the gulkand; made from rose petals, it is as unique as this Food Street, avarekai or no avarekai.
A quick guide to popular dishes on Food Street
Paddu, also known as gulliyappa in Kannada, paniyaram in Tamil and gundponglu in Telugu, this cute little dumpling made of fermented batter of urad dal and rice is a cross between an idli and a dosa.
Akki rotti is a roti made of rice flour that is patted on to a plantain leaf and released on to hot tawa.
Uppittu or upma is made of roasted semolina, cooked vegetables and seasoned with curry leaves and mustard seeds.
Saaru is a nourishing broth made with tamarind and jaggery extract, with dal or greens or just pepper.
Holige is a sweet flatbread made with split yellow gram, plain flour, jaggery or sugar, cardamom powder and/or nutmeg powder and ghee.
The avarebele mela is on from Jan 5 - 15, 11 am to 10 pm at