Sunday 6 January 2013

The festival of beans

The Sajjan Rao Circle in VV Puram in Bangalore is a landmark. It is well-known for VB Bakery and also the long line of shops that dish out delicious dosa, idli and other mouth watering south Indian dishes during the evening and night.
The huge roundabout or circle is one of the few that have been left alone by the civic authorities. Many such roundabouts such as the one at the junction at Queen’s Road and Indian Express have been demolished to make way for smoother movement of traffic. Whether they have led to smooth flow of traffic is debatable.
Coming back to VV Puram, it becomes an ocean of beans during the first week of January every year when the Avarekai Parashe is held.
Lovers of baked beans and those wanting to relish one of the specials of Bangalore throng VV Puram in the first two weeks of January to taste the many varieties of dishes prepared from beans.
The Old Market road in VV Puram is the cynosure of all eyes as a variety of beans are dumped here. Shops here begin bean based eatables, which are a treat to the palate. 
The dishes may vary from Hidukida Bele Payasa, Mosaru Kodbale, Avarekai Sambhar, Masala Vada,  Avarekai soanpapdi and jamoons to another 40 other varieties, Uppitu included, all of which are sold out at the end of the day.
The Avarekai Paddu and Baked Nippattu is another dish which you have to taste. While more than 40 farmers from Magadi, Kanakapura, Bidadi and surrounding areas are taking part, many shops have joined in the preparation of Avarekai based dishes.
However, keeping in trend with the rising inflation, the prices for Avarekai have almost doubled to Rs 400 a kg for fried avarekai from Rs 280 last year. While soaked (raw) avarekai will cost Rs 100 to Rs 120 per litre and the cashew mix Rs 500 a kg.
The Avarekai Mela is worth a visit as it is a completely native gastronomic treat of Bangalore. You can buy several varieties if  beans from the bushels  that are dumped on the footpaths. If you want to buy skinned beans, shell out a little more money.  
Beans belong to the botanical family of Fabaceae also called Leguminosae. India is reckoned to be the world leader of beans followed by Brazil and Myanamar. Currently, the world genebank holds 40,000 varieties if beans if which only a handful are consumed domestically.
In Bangalore, the avarekai season is generally between December and March. This crop can be grown in short span of time, using little water and ever lesser quantity of fertilizers and chemicals.  Most farmers grow 1250 to 1500 kgs of avarekai in one acre of land.
The Avarekai variety of beans is called Lablab purpureus It is also known as Dolichos bean, Hyacinth bean or Field bean.
Botanists say this is one of the most ancient crops among cultivated plants in Asia and Africa.
Karnataka is a major cultivator of Lablab followed by the states of  Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. Karnataka contributes 90 per cent, both in terms of area and production in the country. Karnataka produced 18,000 tonnes of Lablab from 85,000 hectares.


  1. Oh I miss avarekayi... its that time of the year again when almost every preparation uses avarekayi...

    1. Yes, your are right. The Avarakail season is really special

  2. Really i missed last year but now i wont