Labra, Bengali Ratatouille?

11:51 AM

This week proves to be very busy for me. We had 2 back-to-back birthdays, 1 anniversary and finally tomorrow is Saraswati puja. The puja this year is important for us as our son’s writing initiation or hatekhori would be done tomorrow. This is a Bengali tradition where in front of the goddess the priest will introduce the Bengali alphabets to the child. The parents offer flower and pray to the goddess for her blessings to be showered on the child. Our kid is extremely excited. Though not sure but he thinks something important is going to happen to him tomorrow.

After making 2 birth day and 1 anniversary cake and cooking full birthday dinner for my father on his birthday am too tired to get excited about this. But right now am an emotional mush, this happens to me every time he makes me realize that he is growing too fast.

Anyways here is a quick recipe that a reader of mine asked for. Labra is like an Bengali ratatouille or vegetable mishmash. Lots of varieties of vegetables are cooked together with ginger and Bengali five spices till they are soft and coated in their own juice. This is a very basic and simple dish but very rich in flavours. Mostly served on puja days with niramishkhichuri and roasted papad.

Eggplant: 1 cup (thickly sliced)
Carrots: ½ cup (sliced in thick long wedges)
Cauliflower: 1 cup (small separated florets)
Cabbage: ½ cup, thickly chopped
Yard long beans: ½ cup 9cut in 1” pieces
Pumpkin: 1 cup; cut in small cubes
Radish: 1/3 cup (cut in cubes)
Spinach: 11/2 cups (chopped thickly)
Ginger paste: 1 tsp
Asafetida or hing: 1/8 tsp
Dry redchillies: 2 pieces
Oil: 1 tbsp (preferably mustard oil)

Prepare the veggies as mentioned above. Wash and keep them separate.

Heat the oil in a heavy bottom pan or a kadhai. Add the panch foron, dry chillies. Once they splutter add the hing. Immediately add the ginger paste mixed with 1 tbsp water and salt. Stir and cook till the water evaporates.

Add the cabbage, radish, carrots and yard long beans. Stir and add turmeric. Cover and let it cook for 3-4 minutes.

Uncover and add the rest of the vegetables. Mix and cover. Let it cook on a medium flame. This would get cooked in its own juice. Stir at regular interval till the veggies are soft (8-10 minutes)

Adjust the seasoning and add ½ cup water and sugar to balance the taste. Cover and cook till the water is absorbed and the veggies are coated with the gravy.

This is a dry dish so adjust the water and cooking time as required.

A Homemaker’s notes:

You can also add sweet potatoes, broad beans, drumsticks and potatoes.

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  1. looks super delicious..very nicely presented..

  2. looks delicious and wonderful clicks ........

  3. Sayantani,
    onek shubecha ..kaal ke special din tumaar kid 'er jonno..amar labra bishon bhalo legy..garam bhat er sathe..eyi ta ekdom delicious hoyeche..hugs and smiles

  4. This pic looks really zestfull

  5. Gr8 recipe with mixed veggies..thanx for sharing

  6. With a just a teaspoon of oil this will be a healthy recipe for my heart :) Can smell the flavors right thru the pictures, will make it soon...

  7. This looks like one healthy dish with so many veggies, very delicious..

  8. this is ghanta in orissa... Love the combination of veggies, tastes great!
    All the best to your son!



  10. Delicious and comforting food.


  11. Dear Sayantani
    This is called just in time recipe and that too from you. I am gearing up for making Labra today and will follow your recipe. Let me see what all I have missed.
    have a nice weekend

  12. Simply healthy and hearty,wat a fabulous looking labra..

  13. healthy and nice!..all the best to your son.

  14. Tempting..I loved the way you presented it !

  15. A mix of veggie- very simple and delicious one. Happy Saraswathi Pooja!

  16. I love the mix of vegetables used here. Such a hearty and delicious winter meal!!!

  17. I remember how big Saraswati puja is in Kolkata, and how every body dresses up for it, kind of miss it in Hydearabad. Never heard of Labra though, it looks delicious

  18. Sayantani, I love this Recipe. This would be an excellent start for me to learn making Bengali dishes.I have the Panchforan. Labra is a Healthy and delicious meal !!!

  19. Wow your labra looks delectable...its been ages since I had any....

    Love your blog!



  20. Labra recipe sounds very delicious and healthy veggie pack :) nice click as well..

  21. Sure it would have tasted awesome and luv the presentation

  22. Interesting recipe, I love to have it with both rice and rotiz1

  23. labra is defintely bengali ratatouille, very well said, am very fond of it too, tomar ta dekhte khub bhalo hoyeche, loved it with khichuri ooohh...

  24. wow luks yummy...vl tryout this...

  25. Get to know about this recipe very recently...looks yum...

  26. wao..will try this surely..being a new cook your recipies really help

    Dora's unique Touch

  27. Sayantani,

    Check out this site : ( The bengali food is all copied mostly from you, Click on the gray button which says Read More and the entire post is copied. And many more posts... The above link goes on and on with yours and Jaya's and few others recipe. Are you aware of this? This site is copying from everyone!

  28. iissshh i had forgotten about this totally until now. I love it with khichuri. This reminded me of Durga Pujo :)

  29. Love this side dish. Happy to follow you

  30. Tried and tested today. Thanks for the recipe.

  31. Labra is one of the best and delicious bengali recipe


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