Shukto is a traditional Bengali cuisine and is considered as a delicacy. This is actually a mixed vegetable curry which has a fair amount of karela (bittergourd) in it. It is had at the beginning of a meal as it is believed that the bitterness helps in purifying the blood. There are many versions to it.
It is sometimes cooked in a simple way or sometimes in a rich gravy. Today I prepared with only lauki (bottlegourd) and minus the bittergourd, as the latter was not available at the moment. Nevertheless, the taste and flavour were intact. It was simply yummy and I enjoyed it with hot steamed rice.
Heat oil in a pan and fry the vadi till golden in colour. Drain and keep aside. In the same oil temper with the mustard seeds and bay leaves.
After it stops spluttering, add the ginger and asafoetida. Fry till the raw smell is gone. Then add the green chilies, lauki, fried vadi, salt, sugar, turmeric powder and cumin powder.
Mix everything well and cook, covered on a medium flame till the moisture is dried up and the veggie turns soft. When done, add the ghee and the panch phoron powder. Mix well and switch off the flame. Serve with plain steamed rice.