Shukto is a traditional Bengali cuisine and is considered as a delicacy. This is a mixed vegetable curry which has a fair amount of bitter gourd in it. It is cooked into a mustard and milk based gravy. It is mildly spiced with the addition of one whole dry red chilli and tempered with Panch Phoron, the popular Bengali five spice.
Drumstick, french beans, eggplants and carrots too can be added. It is served with hot steamed rice at the beginning of a full course meal as it is believed that the bitterness helps in purifying the blood.
- 1 cup radish, diced
- 1 cup green plantain, diced
- 1 cup green papaya, diced
- 7-8 broad beans, chopped into half
- 1 cup yam, diced
- 1 small potato, diced
- 1/2 cup bitter gourd, sliced
- 2-3 tbsp. mustard oil
- 6-7 bori (lentil dumplings / mangodi / vadi)
- 1 whole dry red chilly
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp. panch phoron (equal quantity of fennel, mustard, cumin, fenugreek & nigella seeds
- salt to taste
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
- 2 tbsp. mustard paste / kasundi
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tsp. ghee
- 1 tsp. sugar (opt)
Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a pan and fry the bori till golden brown in colour. Drain and keep aside. In the same oil fry the sliced bitter gourd till light golden brown and keep aside.
Heat the remaining of the oil and temper with the dry red chilly, bay leaves and the panch phoron.
After it stops spluttering, add the chopped veggies and saute on low flame for 5-7 minutes till light brown. Add 11/2 cups water, fried bori, salt and turmeric powder.
Cover and cook on low flame till the veggies turns soft and the gravy is slightly reduced. Now add the milk, ghee, sugar and mustard paste. Simmer for 2-3 minutes and serve with steamed rice.