Bengali labra recipe with step-by-step pictures. Labra is a Bengali mixed vegetable curry prepared for kojagori lakshmi puja (Lakshmi puja). “Labra” is a Bengali term basically used to identify a quite mushy Bengali mixed vegetable curry. Mainly cooked in mustard oil and with simple spices available in every Bengali kitchen. However, without using bengali five spices won’t get the exact taste of labra belongs to the exotic kitchen of Bengal.
What is Labra?
Labra is a preparation of mixed vegetables, taste-wise a little sweet, and due to the use of simple spices along with enhancing the taste indeed a healthy recipe that is generally prepared on puja occasions in Bengali kitchen.
Though sweet pumpkin, sweet potatoes, brinjals, and coconut are must-used vegetables in labra torkari. However, you can prepare this recipe with any sabji of your choice. Sometimes people use spinach in it, and some say spinach should not be used in traditional labra tarkari. However, can make it with any vegetables that suit you best. Like, people use raw bananas and banana stems in it. For me only taste matters. Whatever sabji can be used but that authentic taste must be intact there.
Labra is a pure veg tarkari (like jain or sattvic veg). Which means onion and garlic have never been used in it. That is why I specially prepare it for puja bhog. Basically I serve it with Durga puja and lokkhi puja’r bhoger khichuri. Though you can have it with niramish khichuri too.
As I belong to a ghoti family by birth, so since my childhood I’ve been seeing chchanchra is a common preparation in a lunch menu of bengali (ghoti barir) marriage. And chorchori is one more preparation comes from ghoti barir rannaghar. Whereas “labra” is a recipe of an exotic bengali paanchmishali tarkari, a specialty of Bangal bari. Though ghoti and Bangal both have their own version of making ghonto.
But don’t ask me why these recipes are named labra, chchanchra, chorchori, ghonto etc. I can explain to you in my way but that may not be correct. So better to leave that discussion and focus on today’s Bengali puja special labra tarkari recipe.
I fell in love with labda when used to go to Masimoni’s house at lokkhi pujo and this torkari is served with khichuri as pujo’r prasad. So every year I and my sister never missed going Masimoni’s house at lokkhi puja to relish their puja special khichuri labra combo.
My mom never cooked labra at home, so when I grew up really miss this torkari with pujar bhog. After getting married, I started making labra on my own with mixed vegetables as my husband and I both love it a lot. Though at the beginning I was not satisfied with its taste as I felt something was missing and couldn’t compare with that awesome taste of labra that I had in my childhood(at Masimoni’s house). Later after trying a lot in my kitchen and adding several ingredients finally I got success and almost reach that unforgettable taste of labra.
Here I’ve used ground dry roasted spices and a few little tricks to make this recipe scrumptious and to know all the secrets about it, stay with me till the end.
Try this recipe at home and please let me know how it worked at your home by leaving a comment in the comment section below.
You may try this dish with my bhoger khichuri recipe too.
Bengali labra recipe – Bengali mixed vegetable curry for kojagori lakshmi puja
Prep time: 40 mins
Cooking time: 55 mins
Total time: 1 hrs 35 mins
Servings: 7-8 people
Course: Main course
Author: Moumita Paul
Vegetables for this recipe (cut into cubes)
- A Medium Size Bundle of Spinach/Palong Shaak
- 100 g Pumpkin/ Kumro
- 200 g Brinjal/ Begun
- 200 g Cabbage/ Bandhakopi
- 100 g Radish/ Mulo
- 75 g Sweet Potato/ Misti Aloo
- 75 g Ridge Gourd/ Jhinge
- 100 g Potato/ Aloo
- 50 g Tomato
- 1/2 cup(8 tbsp) Grated Coconut/ Narkel Kora
- A handful of Chopped Coriander Leaves / Dhonepata
- 2 Green Chilies/ Kancha Lonka
Spices for labra
- 1 tbsp Ginger paste/ Ada Bata
- 1 pc Green Chili Paste/ Kancha Lonka Bata
- 1 tsp Turmeric Powder/ Holud Guro
- 1 tsp Cumin Powder/ Jeere Guro
- 1 tsp Coriander Powder/ Dhone Guro
- 1/4 tsp Red Chili Powder/ Lal Lonka Guro
- Ground dry roasted spices/ Bhaja Moshla
- 3 tbsp Water
- 2 tbsp Sugar
- Salt(as per taste)
- Ghee or Clarified Butter
Dry making dry roasted spices/ Bhaja moshla
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 1 tsp Coriander Seeds
- 1 tsp Fennel Seeds
- 1 Whole Red Chili
Dry roast the spices then ground them to make a powder form of it.
For Tempering in Oil
- 1 tsp Panch Phoron or Bengali Five Spice
- 3 tbsp Mustard oil
- 2 Whole Dry Red Chilies
- 1/8 tsp Hing or Asafoetida
How to make puja special bengali labra recipe at home with step by step pictures
- First, rinse all the vegetables with water and then peel off (which have skin to peel off), and cut into cubes.
- Then make 1 tsp ginger and 1 green chili paste with a mortar and pestle.
- Now, take a bowl, and add ginger-green chilli paste, 1 tsp cumin powder, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1 tsp turmeric powder, and 1/4 tsp red chilli powder to it.
- Then add 3 tbsp water to the bowl to mix all the spices together and make a smooth paste out of it.
- Now take a wide pan and place it on medium flame, add 3 tsp mustard oil and let it get hot. Add 2 dry whole red chilies and 1 tsp panch phoron or bengali five spice to it. let the spices crackle first.
- Then add 1/8 tsp hing or asafoetida to the oil. Stir it well.
- Then first add pumpkin(≈100g) to the pan and stir it nicely after 2 mins add potatoes(≈100g) to the pan. Mix it well.
- After 2 more mins add brinjal(≈200g) to the pan and mix it well. After 3-4 mins add sweet potatoes(≈75 g) and radish(≈ 100 g) to it. Mix it nicely.
- After 2-3 mins add cabbage(≈200 g) to the pan and mix it with other vegetables.
- Then add ridge gourd(≈75 g) and saute it for 4-5 mins then add tomato(≈ 50 g) to it. Mix it very well.
- After a few minutes add spinach(a medium-size bundle of spinach/palak) to the pan and mix it thoroughly with all veggies.
- Now cover the pan with a lid and let it cook for 1 min in low flame(slow down the flame).
- After 10 mins remove the lid and add the masala paste(prepared earlier) to the pan.
- Then add 1+1/2 tsp salt and 2 tbsp sugar to the pan and mix it with the vegetables nicely. Stir it well.
- After 2 mins add a handful of chopped coriander leaves to the pan and mix it with the vegetables.
- Cover the pan with the lid and cook it for some time.
- Let the masalas be infused in the vegetables. Stir the vegetables occasionally.
- When the vegetables are almost cooked then add grated coconut(≈1/2 cup or 7-8 tbsp full) to it and mix it nicely.
- Once again cover the pan with the lid till the vegetables are cooked properly.
- When the vegetables are perfectly cooked then add slit 1 green chili to it.
- Now dry roast the spices(1 tsp Cumin Seeds, 1 tsp Coriander Seeds, 1 tsp Fennel Seeds, 1 Whole Red Chili) and ground them to mix them well with the veggies.
- let the spice get infused in the curry.
- About after 2-3 mins add 1 tsp ghee to the labra tarkari. stir it well. Switch off the heat. And cover the pan with the lid.
- Serve it( labra tarkari) hot with bhoger khichuri or niramish khichuri, even offer it to the deity of your house.