Thursday, January 20, 2011

Shukto - The Mixed Veg Delicacy

Shukto (mixed vegetable delicacy) is one of the most common items in Bengali household. It is said that in the older days a newly married girl’s cooking skills were judged based on the taste of Shukto. However, each Bengali family will have a different taste to the shukto they prepare. But whatever it is, it should have a unique blend of bitter and sweet combination. Shukto one can say is more of a Bengali version of South India food Avial.

It is also said that you must eat shukto first before you start any other course. Shukto is usually eaten with white rice and eaten during the lunch time.

Shukto is the first item served followed by a fried vegetable, daal, mixed veg curry, then a non-veg fish/mutton/chicken and lastly chutney and sweet. It is said that the bitter ingredients present in shukto aids our digestive system to work better.


You can add any vegetable you want. But make sure all the vegetables are in equal shape. So here is the list:

Bitter gourd – 1, finely sliced in round shape
Ridge gourd (jhinge) – 1 chopped
Bringal (begun) – 1 chopped
Raw Green Banana (Kancha Kola) – 1 chopped
Beans – 5 to 6 chopped
Potato – 1 chopped
Carrots – 1 chopped
Daaler vadi (dried nuggets made from ground lentil) – 10
Fenugreek seeds (Methi) – 1 tsp
Bay leaves / Tejpata – 3
Asafetida / Hing – a pinch
Mustard seeds – 2 tbsps soaked for 1 hour in water and a pinch of salt
Poppy seeds – 1 tbsp soaked in water for 1 hour
Ginger paste – 1 tbsp
Sugar – 2 tsp
Milk – ½ cup
Salt to taste


Grind mustard seeds and poppy seeds with a pinch of salt and a little water and keep aside. Do not use mustard paste immediately otherwise it will be bitter to taste.

Chop all the vegetables in similar shapes. If you chop them long then all should be long, if you diced them in big chunks, make sure they are all diced.

Pour 2 tbsp on ghee in a frying pan and fry all the vegetables one by one and keep aside. Make sure the bitter gourd is fried last. Next, fry the vadis until they are crispy and light brown in color.

In a separate kadai, heat 2 tbsp on ghee. Add fenugreek seeds, bay leaves and hing. Wait it the smell of hing reaches you and the seeds start to sputter. Put the vegetables together and mix well. Add the mustard-poppy seed paste followed by the ginger paste. Fry in a medium flame. Add sugar, salt, milk and a little water. Shukto is never runny. It should not have much gravy. Cover the kadai with a lid and cook in a low flame till the vegetables are cooked. Before taking it out of the flame add the vadis. Mix well.

Your shukto is ready to eat. Eat it with plain hot rice.

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