Updated: Jan 6, 2019
With tasty new inclusions, this edition of the hyacinth bean festival has 4 distinct food sections – Traditional South Indian, experimental, desserts and dry snacks.
Winter has finally struck Bangalore. One knows it when shawl wrapped, monkey cap clad Bangaloreans make a beeline for the food street in V V Puram, Basawangudi.
It is in this season that the Avarebele (Lablab/Hyacinth bean) harvest bounty from the fields of neighbouring Magadi, Chintamani, Kolar, Mulbagal, Hunsur, Dodda Ballapur, Chikkabalapur, Chittradurga and villages near Tumkur, Devanahhali and Anekal heaps up on push carts in the vegetable markets of the city. And, for 10 days in this season, the avarebele (avarekalu/avarekai) takes fanciful forms on the plates of eager bean bingers at the festival that's 19 years in the running.
From the year 2000, Vasavai Condiments has been celebrating this bean in the town of boiled beans, making it a sought-after Bangalore event.
The festival now draws 40,000 people and involves near 600 farmer families, using about 10,000 kgs of the fresh produce. The saga began when the store’s fried avarebele grew popular with NRIs. The establishment graduated to hitikbele sambar and payasa and the growing demand evolved into a full-blown fair.
This year the mela claims to have nearly 120 dishes made from Averebele (the whole bean with the skin) and 60 kinds of fried-mix hitikble (without skin). The bean is nutritious and filling. A real dilemma when there is so much to feast on.
South Indian specialties
Akkirotti (rice roti), Uppittu, pulao, masala idli and usli, paddu, rice bath, puri-hitikbele, bonda, othu shavige and the good old dose.
Manchurian, pani puri, masala papad, roomali roti and, oh yeah, Hitikbele pav bhaji.
Holige (pooran poli), halwa, chikki, payasa (kheer), mysorepak, jalebi, gulab jamun and jangri mitai.
Nippattu, mixture, chakri, fried hitikbele in pudina, garlic, dhaniya, pepper, sabakki soppu and many such other flavours.
Dishes are unbelievably priced between Rs.20 - Rs.60.
Up ahead on the street is Sri Vasavi Mane Tindi that joins in the festival with their version of the popular dishes, and some of their own. And, in case you need a break from the Shrek green food, peck on the regular offerings at the street food stalls.
Making a debut - Avarebele Softy
After months of experimenting, this year’s festival has the Avarebele ice cream in a soft serve format. Made from boiled and mashed bean, milk, cream and sugar, I find it perfect for the chilled weather.
Priced at Rs.30.
Sajjan Rao Circle, VV Puram
Till Jan 8, 2019
Parking: Vehicles aren’t allowed on the street. Be prepared for parking far away and working up an appetite with a walk.