Shukto /A Traditional Bengali Starter - rita-bose-cooking

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21 June, 2013

Shukto /A Traditional Bengali Starter

21 June, 2013

Shukto is a very traditional Bengali recipe cooked with different vegetables, bitter gourd being the most important.


  • Drumsticks - 5-6 (cut into 2" length)
  • Potato - 1(cut into cubes)
  • Brinjal - 1 small (roughly chopped)
  • Raw papaya - 1/2 medium sized (roughly chopped)
  • Bitter gourd -2 (cut in semi circular shapes)
  • Raw green banana /plantain- 1 (roughly chopped)
  • Ridge gourd - 1 (roughly chopped)
  • Milk - 1/2 cup
  • Poppy seed paste - 2 tbsp
  • Mustard seed  paste - 2 tbsp
  • Ginger paste - 1 tbsp
  • Bay leaf - 2-3
  • Panch phoron - 12 tsp (a mixture of five spices- nigella, cumin, black mustard, fennel and fenugreek seeds)
  • Dry red chilli -2
  • Mustard oil - for cooking
  • Ghee  - 2 tbsp  (optional)
  • Lentil vadi - a handful
  • Sugar - 2tbsp
  • Salt - to taste


  1. Fry the lentil vadis till slightly brown in colour. Also fry the bitter gourd rubbed with salt and little turmeric powder and keep aside.
  2. Heat oil and 1 tbsp ghee in a wok. When heated add panch phoron, bay leaf and dry red chillies. When it starts to crack add the veggies one by one - Raw papaya, potato, drumsticks,  green banana, ridge gourd brinjal-( add the veggies first which needs to be fried more and the soft ones later). Add salt and ginger paste  and fry in medium flame for 6-7 mins. or till the veggies  turn soft.
  3. Now add poppy seed paste, mustard paste and 1/2 cup milk with 1/2 cup water. Stir, and add fried bitter gourds and cook covered for 4-5 mins. If it turns dry you may add some more water to keep it moist.
  4. When the veggies are all cooked through add sugar, 1 tbsp ghee and the fried vadis. Stir, mix properly and simmer for a minute or so.
  5. Let it cool a bit and serve with steamed rice. Enjoy!!


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