Friday, May 25, 2012

Shukto : Be a Bong!!

Shukto is an essential part in authentic bengali steamed rice-meal. This is actually a bengali version of mixed vegetable. Speciality of this bitter-sweet dish is the aroma of spices. There are many variations of Shukto. But almost all the cases we see bitterness agent like Karela/uchche or Nim or other vegetables that tastes bitter.  Another speciality of this dish is it's spices...Randhuni -Methi and Sorshe gives it a typical Shukto flavour. 

Though we use bitter vegetables in this dish does not taste too much we use milk or coconut paste in ultimate taste of it is a mixed one..bitter-sweet-salty and bit spicy. At least 5 different types vegetable is used in Shukto. Normally people use bitter gourd,eggplant,raw banana,raw papaya and drum stick. But we can use okra,pointed gourd,ridge gourd or sweet potato or even sweet pumpkin as well. Except vegetables, Bori (urad daal nuggets) also an essential part of Shukto.There are lots of  variations in cooking method also.

Here I am talking about my recipe, which is quite authentic...that one is served in bengali "Biye bari" (marriage ceremony banquets), though I could not manage drumstick that day.
  1. Karela ,Eggplant,Raw banana,Raw papaya(1/4 portion),Potato [1 piece each -cut into thick and long pieces] 
  2. Pointed gourd [3 pieces - unpeeled (just scrap it's skin with back edge of knife) and cut into quartes lengthwise] 
  3. Okra (4/5 pieces-only cut off it's head,and make it half if too long in size)
  1. Methi/fenugreek seed (half tea spoon)
  2. Randhuni (half tea spoon)
  3. Tejpata/bay leaf (2 piece)
  4. Whole dry red chili (1 piece)
Mashala/Spices Paste 
  1. Ginger an chilli paste (half tea spoon)
  2. Mustard seed paste (half tea spoon)
  3. Poppy seed paste (half tea spoon)
  4. Ground fresh coconut paste (1 tea spoon)
Mashala/Spices Powder
  1. Panch phoron (half tea spoon)
  2. Mustard seed (half tea spoon)
  3. Whole dry red chilli (1 piece)
  4. Dry roast these three spices and make a powder.
Other Ingredients
  1. Mustard oil (as required)
  2. Milk (half cup)
  3. Ghee (1 tea spoon)
  4. Salt & Sugar
  5. Water
  • Heat oil in a pan and fry bori, karela,eggplant,okra,pointed gourd and raw banana one by one with salt and keep separately.
  • In rest of the oil add the tempering spices and let it splutter for a while and then add potato and papya. [You will have to add sweet potato or drumstick also at this time,if using.), add salt.
  • Fry for a while and let the vegetables cook for some time in low heat, with a lid on.
  • Add 1 cup water and half cup milk to it. Let it boil. Add fried bori.
  • Now add ginger chilli paste, mustard paste,poppy seed paste and coconut paste accordingly.Add little bit (about quarter tea spoon) sugar.
  • Cook with a lid on, in low flame, until vegetables are nicely cooked.
  • Add fried vegetables and cook for more 2 minutes.
  • Turn off the gas and finally add ghee.
  • Lastly sprinkle dry roasted powdered spices on the top.
Best served with steamed white rice.

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