February 25, 2009

Cleaning the fridge with labra


You know how it happens, I buy a bunch of different vegetables, cook a few and there is just a little bit of it sitting in the fridge for the next few days. Before I know, there is a little bit of pumpkin, radish, potatoes, eggplant etc in different bags. I was in one of my cleaning moods and wanted to get rid of these little bags. So I decided to make labra.

Labra is a classic Bengali dish which is a mix of different vegetables delicately flavored with panch phoron, little bit of ginger and really brings out the flavor of the vegetable. I think it is a great way to use these leftover vegetables and if you ask me "you can make labra with anything you have in your fridge".

Ingredients: (serves 2-4)
1/4 pumpkin - chopped
2 potatoes - skinned and chopped
3-4 radish - chopped
1/2 eggplant - chopped
2 medium carrots - chopped
1/4 medium cauliflower - chopped in small florets
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 tspoon panch phoron (panch phoron is a mix of five spices: fenugreek, mustard, cumin, nigella and fennel seeds)
1 1/2 tspoon ginger - grated
1 green chilli
1 dry red chilli
1/4 tspoon turmeric powder
1/4 tspoon cumin seed powder
1/4 tspoon sugar
salt to taste
1 tbspoon oil
up to 1/4 cup water
bunch of cilantro - chopped for garnish (optional)

Take a deep bottomed ban in which all the vegetables will fit. Heat oil and temper it with panch phoron, ginger, bay leaf and the chillies. Then add all the vegetables one by one and saute it for 2-3 minutes.

Then add the turmeric powder, cumin seed powder, salt and water and let it cook on medium low heat on closed lid for 10-12 minutes. Add more water if needed. Keep mixing it every 3-4 minutes to check. The water should all evaporate and the vegetables should all mix together.


Garnish with cilantro and serve warm with rice, khichuri or rotis. You can also add boris for added crunch.


  1. our bengali friends visited us a few months back and once night cooked for us. they made this and dal. I didnt have panch phoron and i have no idea what all they used but it looked very similar! gotta try :)

  2. perfect for clearing up the refrigerator!! i have small bags of various veggies in my fridge...this is my task for this weekend..thanks a ton!!

  3. Looks so colorful and delicious, Mandira! I'm always happy to learn a new dish for panch phoron :) I just love the orange pumpkin -- though a winter veggie, it makes me think of spring :)

  4. wow...labra looks wonderful..this is the best & easy recipe to eat a lot of veges in one dish and you can put any vege..amar barite once a week compulsory

  5. Ki sundor makha makha hoyeche Mandira! Ekhuni ekta porota diye chai. :-)

  6. Labra is a common dish for us too :-) and yours looks yum :-)

  7. love this. i would buy fresh veggies just to make this! thanks for the recipe!

  8. Wow awesome.....Love the color, flavour....

  9. I do understand! I am a hoarder of sort and sometimes I have to cook the whole day to get all the veggies out of the fridge!!:D

    Labra is new, looks very tasty! :)

  10. Labra looks great..i have never tried this dish ..The recipe is soo simple and will give a try soon :)

  11. Looks Great. One of my favorites:)Khichuri & labra.

  12. lovely presentation, nice idea for finisihing the veggies.

  13. I was just thinking the same thing while I was looking through my fridge :) I have an assortment of vegetables and I may just try making this! Sounds delicious!

  14. That looks delicious, Mandira! I make mixed veggie bhajis, curries, parathas and even dosas to clear up my fridge.
    Love the colors in the labra

  15. Labra looks very yummy & healthy

  16. Labra looks so colourful and delicious...

  17. I need to try this .. looks delicious

  18. Great blog mandira. I'm new to blogging n will definitely follow ur pages.

  19. This is best to clear up all veggies isn't it ? Been a while since I made it.
    Eita dekhte o khub bhalo lagche

  20. Mandira,
    Labra ta khob bhalo hoyeche and its a nice way to clean the fridge or use left-overs ..
    hugs and smiles

  21. That really looks like a great way to use up all the veggies... Will remember this!


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