Labra tarkari recipe: Growing up in a Bangal (immigrant East Bengali) household in a refugee colony, Lokkhi pujo was the biggest pujo at home. The sudden emptiness one feels knowing that Durga pujo is over was somewhat ameliorated by the knowledge that Lokkhi pujo is just around the corner. On the eve of Lokkhi pujo, heaps of vegetables would be cut and prepped for the array of dishes that were to accompany thamma’s bhuna khichuri (a dry polao like khichuri). The star of the show—aside from the bhuna khichuri—was thamma’s labra’r torkari. On the evening of Lokkhi pujo friends, family and neighbours would sit down to eat thamma’s bhuna khichuri and labra. The next morning, we would have the leftovers for breakfast. Some family members argue that it tastes better stale than on the same day.
This recipe was passed on to thamma (my paternal grandmother, Durga) by her mother-in-law, my great grandmother. It has a particular set of vegetables cooked in a specific order. Family recipes differ based on which vegetables go into the labra—in our family, for example, mulo (radish), common in many households, is not added.
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