SHUKTO.... the quintessential Bengali mixed vegetable curry we have grown up eating. A normal five course Bengali meal comprises of shukto, dal n bhaja, tarkari, marcher jhol and chatni. Now a days we do not have time for such elaborate cooking everyday, but we do at least 2-3 of them in turns. Shukto has become an week end affair considering the amount of veggies we need to cut. Yet its absolutely worth it, all nourishment in one bowl, health loaded.
I remember, I hated veggies as a teen. Mom used to mash up all vegetables with rice and force feed me. Perhaps so today I feel mom's Shukto tasted so heavenly, being feed with love. Today I love it. A bowl of steamed rice topped with Shukto with some lemon juice squeezed on it seems perfect for me. I visit all the way to the Indian market to get the veggies required for it which are quite a number. Authentically, we do not use turmeric powder in this dish but I added a little to give a touch of colour to it. Let us start with it. The only thing missing here is bori which I don't have at this moment.
INGREDIENTS :[The Vegetables]
Drumsticks : 2
Long Beans : 2
Raw Banana : 2[medium]
Ridge Gourd : 2[medium]
Bitter Gourd : 2[small]
Egg Plants : 2-3[small]
Sweet Potato : 2-3[small]
INGREDIENTS :[The Spices]
Wild Celery Seeds[Radhuni] : 2-3 pinches
Mustard Seeds Paste : 1tsp
Panchphoron Guro[powder] : 1/2tsp [ A powder made from equal amount of fennel, cumin, nigella, fenugreek,wild celery seeds]
Bayleaf : 1
INGREDIENTS :[The Final Cooking]
Salt : As Required
Turmeric Powder : 2 pinches[optional]
Milk : 1/2 small cup
Sugar : 1/2tsp[optional]
Oil : 1tbsp
Ghee : 1/2tsp
All vegetables need to be cut and kept in separate bowls because we will fry each separately and add to the curry at different stages.
Cut the drumsticks and long beans lengthwise.
Peel the raw banana, sweet potato and ridge gourd. Cut them lengthwise after being halved.
Cut the egg plants into halves and the bitter gourds small.
Wah them and rub salt in them. Heal oil in a pan , fry all the vegetables separately and keep aside.
Temper oil with wild celery seeds and bayleaf. Add the drumsticks, stir and cover cook for 3 minutes.
Add the long beans, raw bananas and sweet potato pieces, stir and cover cook for 3-4 minutes.
Add the ridge gourd pieces, salt, turmeric and the mustard paste. Stir carefully and cover cook at low heat for 2 minutes.
Remove cover and add 1 medium cup water. Let boil for 2-3 minutes. Add the powdered panchphoron, milk and sugar. Let boil for 3-4 minutes.
Add the fried bitter gourd and egg plant pieces, stir carefully. Add the ghee on top and switch off.
Enjoy with steamed hot rice.