Bengali labra tarkari / sabzi for Durga Pujo - a mixed vegetable dish cooked without onions and garlic
Wash , peel and cut the vegetables.
Potato , sweet potato, pumpkin, brinjal into chunks. Try to maintain same and similar size.
Radish into 1 inch baton. Yard long beans, broad beans into 1 inch size.
Cauliflowers into small or medium size florets.
Dice the banana stem.
Try to maintain an equal proportion of all the vegetables. If brinjal and broad beans are more than the other veggies, let it be.
Overall, in labra we try to maintain all the vegetables in equal proportion like 1 cup measure for all veggies.
Heat a kadhai or large pot. Heat the mustard oil to smoking point.
Reduce the heat and temper the oil with 1 tsp panch phoron, dry red chillies and bay leaves.
Next add potato, pumpkin , cauliflower and brinjal. Saute them on high heat till veggies are little tender. This will take around 5-8 min.
Next add the ginger paste. Add mix it with the vegetables. Fry for 3-4 minute more till the rawness of the ginger is gone.
Add rest of the vegetables, keep sauteing them on medium heat. Add salt, turmeric powder and keep on frying for 5 more minute.
You can add 1/4 tsp cumin and red chilli powder now. This is optional and traditionally not added.
Add the green chillies now. Cover with a tight lid, lower the flame and let it cook on slow heat for 10 minutes.
Vegetables will release lots of water and it will get cooked in its own juices.
If that does not happen, then add 1/2-1 cup warm water and let the vegetables cooked till done.
When all the vegetables are soft and tender, cooked through and brinjals are mushy, labra is done.
Now add the grated coconut and 1 tsp sugar. Give everything a nice stir. Check for the salt. If needed, add now.
Switch off the heat.
Lightly roast the remaining 1 tsp panch phoron and crushed it coarsely.
Heat some ghee in a tadka pan. Add the grated ginger. Fry for few seconds. Add the roasted panch phoron and immediately add this to the labra. Give a nice stir.
Sprinkle bhaja masala / roasted spice blend over the labra.
Close the lid and let it stand for 10 minute.
Serve bengali bhoger labra with khichuri / khichdi
It also goes well with the luchi / poori too.
Panch Phoron - an equal mix (1 tsp each of) cumin seeds, methi seeds (fenugreek), kalojeere (kalonji / nigella) , fennel seeds (saunf /mouri) , Radhuni (wild celery seeds).
If radhuni is not available, then substitute it with small balck mustard seeds.
Bengali Bhaja Masala / Roasted Spice Blend -
1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp fennel (saunf/ mouri) seeds, 1 small bay leaf, 1 dry red chilli. Dry roast them very nicely, specially the bay leaf. Grind it into fine powder.