Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Monday, Jan 12, 2004

About Us
Contact Us
Metro Plus Bangalore Published on Mondays & Thursdays

Features: Magazine | Literary Review | Life | Metro Plus | Open Page | Education Plus | Book Review | Business | SciTech | Entertainment | Young World | Quest | Folio |

Metro Plus    Bangalore    Chennai    Coimbatore    Delhi    Hyderabad    Kochi    Madurai    Thiruvananthapuram    Visakhapatnam   

Printer Friendly Page Send this Article to a Friend

BEAN there, done that

Even the otherwise boring uppittu acquires an angular flavour, thanks to winter and avarekai. Well, to savour more dishes made of avarekai, stop at V.V. Puram


COME WINTER, and the true Bangalorean starts gorging on avarekai — the aromatic bean. It gets into everything from saaru to rotti and you can't scoop a mouthful of anything edible without making eye contact with a shiny bean. But there is one Bangalorean who has pushed the borders of creativity to unimaginable frontiers.

Meet Ms. Geetha Shivakumar at the Sri Vasavi Avarekai Mela. And feast on gulab jamoons, rasgullas and sonpapdis — all made of avarekai! And for those who don't have a sweet tooth (what a pity, you poor folks) there is an array of spicy stuff — from chats, vadas, dosas, and rottis , sambar, rasam, and fried beans in different flavours.

Ms. Geetha, who started Sri Vasavi Condiments out of her small house in Mavalli eight years ago, is pleased as punch. "During winter, our regular customers have been carrying `hitikina masale avare bele' in kilos for their kith and kin abroad. And since we make so many different kinds of hitikina avarekai, we decided to have this event to make Bangaloreans aware of the potential of this bean," says this enterprising woman. For the uninitiated, hitikina means `deskinned', where the beans are soaked for a few hours and the seed coat `pinched' out. If you've strayed into Vishveshvarapuram, do be careful of all the skins thrown on the streets — they are supposed to ward of the evil eye!


Gowramma, a farmer from Magadi's Belagumba village has been supplying the cluster beans to Vasavi Condiments for several years. "In the 15 villages in our area, we take pride in growing avarekai without the use of pesticides and other harmful chemicals," she says. "Yields have decreased drastically in the past three years, and one can't see the mounds of avarekai that we used to see earlier in Sajjan Rao Circle," laments the villager.

And old Bangaloreans know that future generations may not be able to feast on this bean. Says Ms. Pushpalata Shetty, who has lived near Sajjan Rao Circle for over 65 years, "The men in the house used to bring sack loads of the pods. We used to spend all afternoon de-podding them and the smell used to be so strong. The avarekai that are available now lack that characteristic smell, and most of the magic of avarekai-based dishes is gone. So, it is really good that such an event is taking place here to show our children the different things that can be made with avarekai."

Close by, her grandchildren watch the dosas sizzling on the huge tava, fascinated with the way the cook sprinkles the deskinned, boiled legume on the dosas. "I come to V.V. Puram just for this avarekai," says Ms. Vinita Panjabi, on holiday from Chile. Too much of a good thing? "Many people are suspicious about the health aspect of avarekai," says Ms. Geetha. "But anything seasonal is nature's way of saying that it is good for our health. We only use fresh beans. And we are very particular about hygiene and quality of our items," she adds. Her condiment store has 40 salted items and 40 sweet ones. At the mela, at least 15 items use avarekai.

Priced at Rs.4 per plate and beyond, an entire family can load up with hardly a scratch on the purse at the Vasavi Mela. Opposite V.B. Bakery on Sajjan Rao Circle, from 7.30 a.m. to 11 p.m. till January 18, 2004. The chat counters open at 3.30 p.m. Ph: 6573018. Season's gorging!

MALA KUMAR

Printer friendly page  
Send this article to Friends by E-Mail

Metro Plus    Bangalore    Chennai    Coimbatore    Delhi    Hyderabad    Kochi    Madurai    Thiruvananthapuram    Visakhapatnam   

Features: Magazine | Literary Review | Life | Metro Plus | Open Page | Education Plus | Book Review | Business | SciTech | Entertainment | Young World | Quest | Folio |


The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | Home |

Comments to : thehindu@vsnl.com   Copyright 2004, The Hindu
Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu