Shukto recipe of Bengali cuisine is a medley of vegetables cooked in a gravy of milk and has a combination of flavours ranging from sweet to bitter, all in perfect harmony. The perfect recipe for Bengali shukto calls for simple ingredients, which includes vegetables, Bengali five-spice mix called panchforon and milk. It is a perfect vegetarian side dish to rice for a hearty lunch.
If you are looking for the shukto meaning then perhaps you should know that it is one of the most unique dishes that Bengali cuisine has at offer. The list of shukto recipe vegetables include bitter gourd, green banana, sweet potato, eggplants, drumsticks, along with ginger, spices and a hint of ghee with milk.
Ask any Bengali, if he/she liked shukto as a kid. I am sure 8 out of 10 would say, NO! Surprisingly enough, you would find that all the good food that we like now, were completely desisted earlier. And, no doubt that the mothers got a hard time making us eat all of those. But, as the years passed and better sense prevailed, luckily we realized the importance of veggies in our diet.
Now, shukto can be made in numerous ways. I am sure every family has at least 2-3 ways of making it. I know that because my mom came up with 3 ways of doing this dish. The biye barir shukto recipe (the shukto that is served at marriage functions) is almost similar to the traditional way of making shukto ranna recipe, however, it rarely has milk in it and is often more runny in its consistency.
Here I am sharing one of the easiest ways of making a Bengali shukto recipe at home using whatever vegetables you have at your disposal. This recipe is also known as ‘doodh shukto recipe’ in Bengali, as it is made using milk to add some gravy to this shukto recipe.
How to make Shukto recipe – Ingredients list
Traditionally, there is a set of particular vegetables that goes into a Bengali Shukto recipe. Bitter Gourd or Korola, Potato, Eggplant or Begun, Green Banana or Kanchkola, Drumsticks or Sojne Data, Snake Beans or Borboti and Sweet Potato or Ranga-aloo.
If I am able to source all these veggies at the same time, then there’s nothing like it. However, that’s not always the case. So, with whatever ingredients I have at my disposal or I can source from my local vegetable seller, I make this Bengali mixed vegetable dish of ‘Shukto‘ in my way.
I believe that this list can come very handy as Shukto vegetables. You can use any number of these vegetables to make this dish in your particular style.
- Sweet Potato
- Bitter Gourd
- Snake Beans
- French Beans
- Green Banana
- Green Papaya
Don’t worry, there’s nothing wrong with making shukto with whatever you have on hand. I mean purists may frown, but as long as you keep certain elements of this recipe intact, you are safe. And by that, I mean the shukto masala which is panchphoron, a good dose of ginger, ghee and roasted cumin or bhaja moshla on top.
Special Instructions on Bengali Shukto recipe
The perfect shukto recipe calls for an element of bitter like Bitter Gourd. Shukto is served as the first side dish with the rice as it is customary to have a bitter dish for the initiation of a rice meal.
Related Bitter gourd recipe – Aloo Uchhe Jhal
Next would be to have some sort of beans such as snake beans or even normal french beans. To add volume to the dish, potatoes are a must. Plus, Bengalis cannot stay away from spuds! Jokes apart, the starch from the potato thickens the gravy. You will find several shukto recipes in Bengali calling for the inclusion of some flour in the end. If you try my recipe, there is no such need.
Last would be panchphoron, or the Bengali five spice mix. Now every family has its own panchphoron mix. I follow my mom’s combination of fenugreek seeds, celery seeds, fennel seeds, nigella seeds and cumin seeds
Also, there is a particular way to cut shukto vegetables. These have to be finger long pieces of uniform shape & size. This would ensure uniform cooking so that none of them turns mushy in the end.
If you keep these small things in mind, you are pretty much set for a delicious serving of Bengali mix vegetable dish, shukto.
For those who think that Bengali food is all about fish curries, mutton and such other non-vegetarian dishes, one look at my blog would give it away that we actually have far more varieties of vegetarian dishes than the non-vegetarian ones.
While fish is more of compulsion on our table, it is always surrounded by at least 2-3 vegetarian side-dishes. Starting with something bitter, then fry to go with the lentils and finally, putting an end to the hearty meal with a chutney of seasonal fruit or vegetable.
See, while the fish/meat dishes might be the show-stealer of the Bengali cuisine, these vegetarian side-dishes are the actors who complete the show! Here’s a list to some of them from my blog.
Also, I have quite a few interesting vegetable based Bengali ranna recipes which you can give a try:
- Ol er Dalna | Bengali Yam Curry Recipe
- Narkel Ghonto Recipe
- Bhapa Shim Chorchori | Bengali Flat Beans Stirfry Recipe
- Bandhakopir Dalna | Bengali Stir-fried Cabbage
- Stirfried Okra | Fried Bhindi Recipe
- Aloo Uchhe Jhal Recipe
- Beguner Birinchi | Bengali Eggplant Curry recipe
- Enchor er Korma | Kathal Korma Recipe
- Aloo Chorchori | Bengali Potato Stew Recipe
- Phulkopir Chechki | Aloo Phulkopir Tarkari Recipe
If you are looking for the shukto meaning then perhaps you should know that it is one of the most unique dishes that Bengali cuisine has at offer. It is a dish which is a melange of diverse flavours like sweetness combined with bitter
- 1 Bitter Gourd
- 1 Potato
- 1 Aubergine or Eggplant
- ½ Green Papaya
- 1 Green Banana
- 4 French Beans
- ½ tsp Panchphoron
- 1 tbsp Ginger paste
- ½ cup Milk
- 1 Bay Leaf
- Salt to taste
- ½ tbsp Sugar
- Panchphoron/Cumin Powder to top it.
- tsp Ghee or Clarrified Butter
- 3 tbsp Mustard Oil to cook
Heat some oil in a pan and fry the Bitter Gourd that has been sliced earlier.
In the meanwhile, dice the vegetables in large pieces.
Once the Bitter Gourd slices are fried to the crisp, keep them aside.
Heat some oil in a pressure cooker. Temper it with some Panchphoron and a Bay leaf.
Now, put in the veggies which has been cut. Give them a gentle stir for next 5-7 minutes. Add the fried Bitter Gourd and mix everything.
Pour a cup of water and put on the lid. Let it whistle 4-5 times or till the veggies are soft and mushy.
Open the lid and put it on medium heat. Mix the milk, ginger paste and sugar together. Pour this mix into the cooked vegetables. Stir it vigorously and mash a few pieces of veggies with the back of your spoon. The consistency should be that of a light gravy just covering the veggies, but not runny at all.
Serve it hot with some roasted cumin powder and Ghee or Clarified Butter on the top.