May 28, 2008

Labra-esque aloo begun aar sajne data tarkari

bengali tarkari2

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.

bengali tarkari

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.


  1. That looks really good,reminds me of a tamarind-based gravy that's often made in our homes, somehow! Same vegetables, I guess.

  2. I have never tried making mustard paste. Wish I could get fresh drumsticks. The frozen ones I get here are no flesh, only skin.

  3. Is labra somewhat similar to chorchori? We had a Bengali cook in Delhi who made it often because we all loved it ! Thanks for sharing:)

  4. that looks divine!..I guess dish with drumbstick ought to be good!

  5. The name is a mouthful.
    Never had this, but the way explained how you prefer to eat it with rice mde me drool.
    Looks delicious

  6. The combination of vegetables that can never go wrong, looks delicious.

  7. Love the pic! This is totally droolworthy. Sounds great! :)

  8. wow!!curry looks it..drumsticks too in it even more now:)

  9. As an eggplant lover, i know i HAVE TO try this one! Thanks a ton for this mouthwatering recipe :).

  10. I know very little of bengali cooking and I have been looking for this recipe all over. Thanks a lot for posting.
    BTW if you do not mind I would like to add a link of this site to my blogroll.

  11. Yummmy looking dish Mandira..:D


  12. Mmmmmmmmm....labra looks goos, me love it with rice and dla too.
    Where are you off too, have fun

  13. Mmmm, looks good... I would love some for lunch :)

  14. The labra looks so good! Hpe you are having a fab vacation somewhere gorgeous! :)

  15. Sra - it's interesting how the same vegetables can come together with entirely different taste. I would love your recipe too. Do post!

    Suganya - I found some good frozen drumsticks, but fresh ones are even better.

    Delhibelle - welcome to ahaar. There are different tastes and textures in charchari and labra. They're both delicious.

    Srivalli - thanks, it was delicious :)

    Happy cook - thanks, I am drooling thinking about the taste too!

    ISG, Kalai, Ranji, Musical, Meeso, Siri, Vani - Thanks, I got the recipe from my parents and it turned out so good. I am surely making it again soon.

    Joyeeta - thank you, I am glad you like it. Do let me know how it turns out.

    Thanks Sandeepa - I just came back from a whirlwind India trip. :)

  16. Great to see another Labra recipe. i posted one a few days back.. and now reading yours I wish I had used drumsticks. i had forgotten that altogether.

    Delicious isn't it? only with "Gorom Bhat".

  17. Arijita4:40 PM

    I was looking for some recipe of drumsticks(Sajna Data). I found the recipe from google search engine.
    I cooked it. Its awesome. It turns very teasty. Its really e good one. Thanks for sharing such a good recipe.


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