May 28, 2008
Labra-esque aloo begun aar sajne data tarkari
Recently one of the readers left a comment asking for Labra tarkari recipe. Labra by definition is a mix of vegetables that are in season (although potatoes, eggplants or pumpkin usually make an appearance) cooked with panch phoron and little bit of mustard and green chilli paste. This combination of the masalas brings out the flavor of the vegetables cooked together. It is also a favorite in the Durga pujo menu where it is served with khichudi.
But my favorite way of eating labra is with plain rice where I savor each morsel usually discovering flavors of vegetables as I eat.
Even though this recipe replicates the steps of labra, this is not a labra as it is not a melange of vegetables, rather a combination of potatoes, eggplants and drumsticks cooked like labra. It was mildly flavored and the mustard and green chillies surprise you just when you are getting to know the taste. Here is how I made it.
Ingredients: (serves 2-3 if accompanied with other dishes)
3 medium red potatoes - chopped in cubes
1 big eggplant - chopped in cubes
8-9 drumsticks (I used frozen pack)
1 small tomato - chopped
2-3 green chillies - slit
1/2 tspoon turmeric powder
1/2 tspoon cumin seed powder
1 tspoon panch phoron
2/3 tbspoon mustard paste
1/2 - 2/3 tspoon sugar
2 tbspoon oil
1/2 tspoon mustard oil (optional)
Mustard Paste - Grind mustard seeds (after soaking in luke-warm water for 30 min) with 2-3 green chillies and little salt (less than 1/4 tspoon) to a fine paste. Set it aside.
Heat oil in a deep pan and temper it with panch phoron and green chillies. Then add the potatoes and saute for a couple of minutes. Then add the eggplants and saute for another 2 minutes.
After the raw smell has disappeared add the drumsticks, tomato, turmeric powder, cumin seeds powder about 1/4 - 1/3 cup water and let it cook for 5-7 minutes till they are semi-cooked.
At this point add salt, the mustard paste and sugar and let it cook for another 8-10 minutes till they cooked and there is a thick sauce.
Take it off the heat and pour the mustard oil to intensify the mustard oil. Or you can garnish with cilantro and serve with rice or roti.