Durga Puja is less than a week away, I am sure everybody is done with the major part of the Puja shopping or have you already completed it? Mahalaya marks the end of pitri pakshya and the beginning of devi pakshya, it is said, this is the auspicious time of the year – anything you start during this time will definitely be successful. More about Mahalaya and its significance in this funny yet informative post by The Indian Bibliophile.
When it comes to Durga puja, the first thing that comes to mind is the plethora of street food – from phuchka to churmur and rastar aloor dum to egg roll; but what matters most is the freshly made thakurer bhog. I am proud to say that we are the few families in Kolkata who still continue to perform the rituals of the 5 day long puja. This Puja has been continuing in my family for the past 150 years. Nothing has stopped my family in welcoming Maa Durga in our house not even the Indian partition in 1947 when my grandfather crossed the borders of the then East Pakistan to settle in Kolkata, India. Pujor bhog reminds me of my mom painstakingly cooking the auspicious meal for the goddess since the wee hours of dawn, and labra is something I always cherish.
I had been missing the grandeur of this big festival for the past several years, but when you cannot visit Kolkata you bring Kolkata to your kitchen. Labra is a very tasty yet simple recipe to prepare. You can add any kind of vegetables you love. I made this recipe with cabbage, cauliflower, radish, sweet potatoes, beans, brinjal and carrots, you can also add drumsticks, thor (banana stem), potatoes, and pumpkin. For the detailed recipe, please click on the video. Hope you enjoy it.