Assam -- Labra (Mixed Vegetable Curry)
Blogging Marathon# 39 - Indian States: Day 3
Assam is a state in the North eastern part of India. It is located south of the Eastern Himalayas and comprises of the Brahmaputra and the Barak river valleys. It is surrounded by the six of the other Seven Sister States. Geographically Assam and the other sister states are connected to India via a narrow strip of land in West Bengal called the Silguri Corridor or 'Chicken's neck' (this is something new to me and wanted to share with all of you)
Cuisine: Because of the geographical location, Assam has both the mountains and plains which influence their style of cooking. It 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 the many rivers and ponds that run through the state. The cuisine is characterized by very little use of spices, little cooking over fire and the preparations are rarely elaborate.
Staple Food: Rice, Fish, Meat & Vegetables.
Specialties: Tenga (light and sour fish dish), Pura (Assamese version of smoked or barbecued meat or fish), Pitika (side dishes), Bor-a etc.,
Today's Dish: So for today, I made Labra or mixed vegetable curry from Assam. The combination of ingredients was quite unusal and different for me. I was initially skeptical how the curry would taste with the sweet squash, pungent radish and mushy eggplant, but everything came together in a delicious way and the curry tasted awesome. Using mustard oil was another new addition for me and I really liked the subtle flavor it gave this dish. All in all this is a very hearty & delicious curry, perfect to serve with rice or roti.
I also made Assamese style Masoor dal along with white rice to make a complete meal.
Recipe from Sunita's space.
Labra (Mixed Vegetable Curry)
- Grind onion, ginger, garlic and red chili to a smooth paste.
- Heat 1tbsp mustard oil in a saute pan; add the tempering ingredients and once the seeds start to splutter, add the onion paste and cook stirring continuously until the mixture dries out and doesn't smell raw anymore.
- Next add the veggies one after the other, making sure to mix well after adding each of the veggie. Add turmeric, salt and sugar; mix well. Lower the heat and cook covered until the veggies are half cooked.
- Add ground cumin and mix well. Add 1cup of water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until the veggies are tender, eggplant should very mushy; squash, potatoes and radish should be cooked through.
- Add garam masala and cook for 3~4 minutes. Curry should not be too dry.
Recipe from here.
Assamese Masoor Dal
- Pressure cook masoor dal along with the chopped tomatoes and enough water until tender. Alternately cook dal in a pan on the stove.
- Once the cooker cools down, open the lid and fish out and discard the tomato skins.
- In a small pan/ kadai, heat 1tsp mustard oil and add the mustard seeds, once the seeds start to splutter, add it to the dal.
- Add turmeric and salt to the dal and cook for 4~5 minutes. Add some water if the dal looks too thick. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve.