Saturday, February 25, 2017

Shukto - Bengali Bitter Mixed Vegetable Curry


Shukto, the medley of summer vegetables in a bitter-sweet curry is one of those recipes that never age. Shukto is considered as a starter in Bengali cuisine and it is eaten only during lunch. As a child I used to freaking hate Shukto (along with “teto dal” i.e. lentils with bitter gourd) because of its bitterness and I insisted ma to give me only potatoes. But now the adult me knows all the benefits of all those vegetables and the very necessary bitter factor makes the “shukto” stand out on its own, and there is hardly any other recipe that will match the popularity and respect that “shukto” claims over people. If you haven’t tasted “shukto” yet, you probably have missed a great deal of our cuisine, because we are not just “rosogolla”, "kosha mangsho" and “mishit doi”, trust me we make some crazy veggie delights as well.

how to make Shukto - Bengali Bitter Mixed Vegetable Curry recipe and preparation with step by step pictures

Step by step process:

how to make Shukto - Bengali Bitter Mixed Vegetable Curry recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
Cut the bitter gourd.
how to make Shukto - Bengali Bitter Mixed Vegetable Curry recipe and preparation with step by step pictures

how to make Shukto - Bengali Bitter Mixed Vegetable Curry recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
Cut the vegetables.
how to make Shukto - Bengali Bitter Mixed Vegetable Curry recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
Fry the bori.
how to make Shukto - Bengali Bitter Mixed Vegetable Curry recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
Fry the bitter gourd.
how to make Shukto - Bengali Bitter Mixed Vegetable Curry recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
Keep them aside.
how to make Shukto - Bengali Bitter Mixed Vegetable Curry recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
Fry the eggplants.
how to make Shukto - Bengali Bitter Mixed Vegetable Curry recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
Fry till eggplants become soft and a little brown.
how to make Shukto - Bengali Bitter Mixed Vegetable Curry recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
Add raduni to the remaining oil and let them sizzle.
how to make Shukto - Bengali Bitter Mixed Vegetable Curry recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
Add the ginger paste to it.
how to make Shukto - Bengali Bitter Mixed Vegetable Curry recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
Fry the ginger for a minute.
how to make Shukto - Bengali Bitter Mixed Vegetable Curry recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
Throw in rest of the vegetables into the kadai.
how to make Shukto - Bengali Bitter Mixed Vegetable Curry recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
Mix and stir the veggies for 2 minutes.
how to make Shukto - Bengali Bitter Mixed Vegetable Curry recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
Add salt, sugar and turmeric powder. Stir to mix everything.
how to make Shukto - Bengali Bitter Mixed Vegetable Curry recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
Add water and cook covered.
how to make Shukto - Bengali Bitter Mixed Vegetable Curry recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
The vegetables will take around 15 minutes to cook properly. The should not become too soft or else the curry will become mushy.
how to make Shukto - Bengali Bitter Mixed Vegetable Curry recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
Add the milk. 
how to make Shukto - Bengali Bitter Mixed Vegetable Curry recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
Simmer for a minute.
how to make Shukto - Bengali Bitter Mixed Vegetable Curry recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
Add the kept aside fried bori, bitter gourd.
how to make Shukto - Bengali Bitter Mixed Vegetable Curry recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
Add the fried eggplant in the end and simmer for 1 or 2 minutes more before switching off the gas.

Shukto – Bengali Bitter Mixed Vegetable Curry
Serves 8

how to make Shukto - Bengali Bitter Mixed Vegetable Curry recipe and preparation with step by step pictures

Ingredients:
10 bitter gourds
6-8 hyacinth beans / seem
1 cup of green peas
8-10 bori / Bengali sun dried dumplings
4-6 drum sticks / sojne data
½ medium raw papaya
2 carrots
2 potatoes
1 cup of milk
2 tsp radhuni
2 and ½ inch ginger – paste / grated
½ of a medium eggplant
1 plantain / green banana
A handful of French beans
1 and ½ cup of cubed pumpkins
Salt
1 and ½ tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp sugar
3-4 tbsp pure virgin mustard oil

Method:
Cut the vegetables:
Take one of the bitter gourd and slice off its two ends. Then cut it into half and slice those pieces. Keep aside.
Take one seem / hyacinth bean and cut one of its head toward the inner edge. Do not chop it off, rather pull the head and a tough skin will pull off from its borderline. Do the same with its other end. Then cut the seem / hyacinth bean into halves. Follow this process for all of the beans.
For the drumsticks, you need to peel off its tough skin first. Do it by scrubbing a knife on its skin constantly till you see the skin is coming off like some hard strings. Once they are nicely peeled cut them into medium pieces.
Cut the aubergine into medium small pieces.
Take the plantain and peel off their skin with a knife. Then cut the plantain into 3 or 4 pieces and cut those pieces from the middle.
Peel off the skins of the potatoes and cut them lengthwise. Cut those pieces into half.
Peel off the skin of the green papaya and cut it into thin wedges like the potatoes.
Peel and cut the carrot into medium long pieces.

Make the curry:
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a kadai and shallow fry the aubergine and bitter gourd separately in it for about 2-3 minutes, or until the veggies appear soft and cooked.
Fry the boris in the same oil until golden brown from the outside.
Take away the boris from the kadai and keep them separately in a bowl.
Add more oil if required and add the radhuni to it.
As the seeds start to sizzle, add the ginger paste and fry the paste in that hot oil for around a minute on low to medium flame.
Throw in all the veggies (except the already fried ones) inside the kadai and let them sweat for a minute or two.
Add the turmeric powder, salt and sugar and stir to mix.
Add around 1 and ½ cup of water and cook covered.
The veggies will take around 10-12 minutes to cook properly.
After 10 minutes open the cover and check the veggies.
If they are almost done, i.e. you can squish them easily, pour in the milk.
Add the fried aubergine, bitter gourd and bori / sun dried dumplings.
Stir to mix.
Simmer for 2-3 minutes more and switch off the flame.
Serve hot in the beginning of your meal (only in the morning) with steamed hot rice.



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