BENGALURU: There are more reasons than one behind the excitement with which Bengalureans are looking forward to the 20th edition of the Avarekai Parishe. Well, to be precise, there are 120 reasons. You can expect those many dishes made of the hyacinth bean this year. After a lot of discussion, Avarekai Parishe is set to take place this year from January 17-26, during which the street of Thindi Beedi in VV Puram is expected to be packed with visitors, with the number swelling to twice the usual crowd.
Taking inspiration from the Kadlekai Parishe (groundnut fair), this 10-day mela will be featuring delicacies like vade, dosa, sagu, chikki, etc – all made from the humble bean. While many of the delicacies are an annual feature, several preparations are making a debut this year. Case in point: avarekai rasgulla and salad. Yes, you read that right.
“This time, we are offering more than 120 food items prepared of avarekai seeds. More than 50 farmers will be selling their harvest at the event,” says Swathi Shivakumar, who is organising the fair. According to her, the exact spot for the mela is in front of Shree Vasavi Condiments, because the beans are abundantly available there, besides the experimental dishes that one can try. Along with dishes like avarekai pav bhaji, pulao, and biryani, you can also try preparations like avarekai manchurian and even jalebi.
“The parishe has resulted in an increase in the demand of avarekai. Farmers who earlier used to cultivate averekai in lesser quantity, have almost doubled their cultivation,” adds Shivakumar. Besides eager visitors, the highlight of the occasion is the farmers who have been selling beans at the spot for almost four decades. “I have been selling avarekai here even before it became a parishe,” Ramanna, a farmer hailing from Magadi who has been selling his harvest for 40 years here, tells CE. “The children who are running the parishe now, were not even born then. But now, thanks to this fair, the sale has gone up,” he adds.
In its 20th edition, the fair could have got discontinued this year after Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike officials cancelled it, citing improper maintenance of solid waste and haphazard parking of vehicles. After multiple discussions, the permission was granted on the condition of cleanliness being maintained.
Before the fair came into being, farmers used to come to sell Avarekai seeds at the edge of VV Puram street, right in front of VV Bakery. K D Geetha Shivakumar, the proprietor of Shree Vasavi Condiments, noticed that when they were done with the sale, the farmers used to throw the beans which were not sold, since it has a very limited shelf life. “Seeing this as a huge waste, I started buying the beans from the farmers and sold them in the form of delicacies like vada, dosa, etc,” says Geetha. As the popularity of these dishes grew, she converted the yearly ritual into a Parishe in 2000.