Assamese Labra

By Priya Srinivasan - I Camp in My Kitchen - Thursday, April 03, 2014

Today we are travelling to assam. I m sure all the BM-ers doing this marathon, would definitely agree, that the NE states gave us a tough run while searching for their food habits. But, this gave me the strongest urge to learn more about their food habits, a deep digging gave me lead to few journals published about their Food,culture and ethnicity of their tribal life. Here i present a glimpse of what i absorbed. 
Northeastern India is one of the richest floras in India, where people depend on shifting cultivation systems and forest based food products for their sustainable survival. This region, which lies under eastern Himalayan ecosystem, is not only rich in plants diversity but also have a great treasure of cultural, social and linguistic variability, conserved by tribal people. The region is a treasure of indigenous knowledge systems pertaining to agriculture, food, medicine, and natural resources management
People are habituated to live and survive with the forest and Jhum cultivation culture, which ensure a range of ethnic foods rich in nutrition and compatible to culture and ethnicity of tribes. Since time immemorial, tribal women have conserved many local crops, ethnic vegetables and indigenous fruits used in local diet for food and nutritional security.
Assamese Cuisine,is a style of cooking that is a confluence of cooking habits of the hills that favor fermentation and drying as forms of food preservation, and those from the plains that provide fresh vegetables and abundance of fish from its many rivers and ponds; both of which are centered on the main ingredient—rice.
The cuisine is characterized by very little use of spices, little cooking over fire and strong flavors due mainly to the use of endemic exotic fruits and vegetables that are either fresh, dried or fermented. Fish is widely used, and birds like duck, squab etc. are very popular, which are often paired with a main vegetable or ingredient. Preparations are rarely elaborate—the practice of Bhuna, the gentle frying of spices before the addition of the main ingredients so common in Indian cooking, is absent in the cuisine of Assam.

Info Source : CSIR - NISCAIR, WIKI
Recipe Inspired from Sunitabhuyan
1.5 Cups chopped butternut squash/pumpkin
1 Cup chopped aubergine
1 medium-sized moola/mooli(Daikon radish), chopped
2 medium sized potatoes, chopped
1 medium raw banana, chopped
1/2 tsp sugar
salt to taste
3/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin powder
3/4 tsp garam masala powder
1 and 1/2 Cup water

To Grind
2 nos  medium onion
4 cloves of garlic
2 inches of ginger
2 whole red chilli
2 tbsp mustard oil/vegetable oil
1 tsp paas puron/paanch phoron
1 bay leaf
1 whole red chilli, halved

  • Grind the ingredients given under "To Grind" to a paste. Heat the oil in a pan and add the ingredients for tempering. When the seeds splutter, add the onion-ginger-garlic-chilli paste. Keep stirring till the moisture evaporates and the mixture is lumpy.
  • Add the vegetables, radish, potatoes,butternut squash, raw banana and aubergine, stirring well after each addition till everything is nicely coated with the spices.Add the sugar and season with salt.
  • Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook till the vegetables are done 3/4ths of the way, stirring every now and then.Add the turmeric and cumin powders, stir well for about a minute and add the water. Bring to a boil over high heat. 
  • Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook till done, stirring every now and then. The aubergine should have lost its shape, the squash and potatoes very soft ( no sharp edges) and the radish slightly firm. Add the garam masala powder.
  • Increase the heat and stirring continuously, reduce the gravy, but do not let it dry out completely.Serve hot as a side dish with plain rice and dal.
  • The Labra was amazing, the aroma of it while cooking, was fantastic, keeping in mind the amount of masala/spices used, it was mind-blowing. It paired well with rice, while hubby had it with roti's and i had it as such to serve my daily dose of veggies.

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  1. This sounds like a nice sidedish for rice. Lovely!

  2. Delicious labra, panchporan makes this dish more flavourful na..Inviting dish.

  3. Lovely labra. I made labra too.. I upped the red chillies slightly fearing my family might not take too a less spicy curry. yours looks perfect

  4. Flavorful curry with the paanch poran spices,sounds very inviting..

  5. wow very deliicous labra prep , looks very inviting dear :) Love panch poran in it give out so very nice aroma :)

  6. very beautiful pictures, loved the labra recipe

  7. so flavorful and aromatic!!! delicious labra

  8. Is it the 'Labra' day today?? Good choice, Priya.

  9. Surely it's Labra day today ! Yours looks delicious ...

  10. I made Labra too and LOVED it. Yours looks awesome.. Lovely clicks.

  11. Nice write up. Lovely presentation and delicious dish.

  12. Such a delicious plate Priya..and nice to much research..:)

  13. Your presentation and write up is amazing. And I like your Labra better than mine.;)

  14. Love the labra! They look very very tempting.

  15. I made this too..tasted differently but delicious!! your labra looks great..

  16. wonderful write up and a fantastic dish..I think it is a wonderful meal.

  17. like the combination of veggies you used

  18. Wow.. Great combo for rice & roti..

  19. Wonderful dish!Like you I too would love to eat it as such.

  20. Labra looks like a nice side dish. So many labra recipes. Now this is on my to try list.

  21. It was a labra day for Assam. Love the flavorful vegetable medley.


Thanks a Lot for taking your time out and Visiting my Kitchen!!!!! Your Valuable Comments keep me going!!! Feel free to ask your doubts , i will definitely try reply you back. Good Day!!!