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26 May


Shukto is a mixed vegetable Bengali dish with a slight bitter taste eaten generally as a first course during the daily meal. Ginger, mustard seeds and poppy seeds are ground into fine paste to be used as the only flavoring to shukto. A mix of vegetables along with bitter gourd are chopped and cooked in the ground paste. Vary the consistency or the amount of paste in shukto to preference.
Makes: 5 – 6 Servings of Shukto


Bitter Gourd 1 Small
Ridge Gourd 1 Small
Snake Gourd 6 – 8 inch Long
Potato 1
Sweet Potato 1 Small
Chinese Eggplant 1 medium
Raw Banana 1 Small
Flat Beans 6
White Radish 1 Small
Panch Phoran 1 tsp
Bay Leaf 1
Poppy Seeds 2 tbsps
Mustard Seeds 1tbsp
Ginger 2 inch long piece
Milk 1/2 Cup
Sugar a pinch
Salt to taste
Mustard Oil / Ghee 1 tbsp

Method of preparation:

Scrape, remove ends, wash and chop bitter gourd and ridge gourd into small chunks.
Wash, remove ends, remove seeds and dice the snake gourd.
Peel and chop potato and sweet potato into small chunks.
Remove stems, wash and chop eggplant into small cubes.
Peel, remove ends and chop radish into small cubes.
Wash, remove ends and halve the flat beans.
Remove ends, remove thick skin and chop raw banana into small chunks.

Peel and roughly chop ginger.
Soak poppy seeds in quarter cup of water for half an hour.
Grind the poppy seeds with mustard seeds and ginger into smooth paste adding water if required.

Heat oil in a pan, add panch phoran and fry till aromatic.
Add bay leaf and all the chopped vegetables.
Stir fry for a minute, add ground poppy seeds and mustard paste, sugar and salt.
Fry for another minute, pour a cup of water, milk and cook covered till all the vegetables are just cooked.
Stir occasionally, add more water if required and make sure not to over cook the vegetables.
When the gravy in shukto reaches a thick consistency, remove and serve with plain steamed rice.
Notes: Add just enough water to allow poppy seeds to grind well.

Suggestions: If any of the vegetables feels raw, put back on heat, add half a cup of water and cook covered till soft.
Variations: Any other vegetables like drumsticks, yam, peas, cauliflower etc can be added in shukto. Some vegetables like bitter gourd, yam etc.. are deep fried and added to shukto. Add asafoetida, cloves, cardamom, carom seeds, mace, green chiles, sun dried vadi, etc.. to the vegetable pot while cooking to impart a different flavor.
Other Names: Shuktho.