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Avarekai Mela 2015

Tuesday, January 06, 2015Me! In words

I love the way Bangalore city upholds some culinary traditions - the Kadlekai Parishe is one of them and now its the Averakai Mela. The story is by now legendary on how Mrs Geetha Sivakumar of Vasavi Condiments decided to help Avarekai farmers (who are aplenty in this region) by giving them a means of selling their wares. Besides being able to buy avarekai directly from farmers, you can also gorge on a host of preparations with avarekai as the core ingredient.

Each year the number of things you get to eat gradually increases. While Vasavi Condiments specialises in every kind of thindi (snacks/munchies) made of Avarekai, massive shamianas outside the store house open air kitchens that are dishing out so many things that your senses will go into overdrive just trying to narrow down on what to eat. 

The festival is on till January 14th and all dishes are available from 11.30AM onwards till a very crowded 10.30PM. But, as I realized this year, many of the fresh, peeled Avarekai sellers only come in towards early evening. 

This year, there were three separate shamianas with the same array of dishes stretching across what is popularly called Food Street. A neat coupon system is in place and there are multiple bins to dispose of your plates. There is a lot available to drink - goli sodas, bottled water, flavored sodas and more. I carried wet wipes as well. 

The entrance to the street

The menu

These plates were disappearing at quite a pace

Men at Work! - Kodubale being made

Avarekai dosas in the making

We began with the Avarekai Dosa - More like an onion uthappa that's laden with avarekai and served with Hithkabele Saaru. On our last visit, I found the saaru quite spicy, almost killing the taste, but this year it was the kind that you dip right in and eat.  

This time round, most of the dishes available were neatly plate like you see here and put on display. Clockwise from top you see - Avarekai shavige baath, chittranna, masala vada and nippat. In the next plate is the avarekai idli and hitkebele saaru, then paddu, avarekai dosa, uppitu, jamu, am not sure and avarebele payasa. There was also obattu that we had packed and brought home for Anoushka. 

A closer look at the paddu

Obattu in the making

Crunchy Nippat

The Shavige Baath - they will douse it in the hitkebele saaru if you would like it that way. We preferred it on the side. I found the Shavige baath a little too dry for my liking. 

The uppitu was moist and really delicious. Inspired me to try making this version at home. 

We had the jamun - it was a really well made one and you can't really tell that there are beans
in this one.

I had to end on a savoury note and so asked for a plate of the freshly made kodubale.
Good choice this. 

And you have got to hand it to them for attempting to reach out to a wider audience. A north Indian version with rotis, dal and hitkebele saaru. 

We ended with a round of masala soda from the Goli Soda guy wandering around. Brought back a load of childhood memories.

The festival is on till the 14th of January. For all of this put together we did not spend over Rs 400. I would suggest going on a weekday afternoon as you get a chance to really savour what you are eating. Else it is a stick your elbows out on both side and eat type of scenario. 

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