Traditionally, Shukto (Bengali) requires a long list of ingredients. An authentic shukto has potatoes, sweet potatoes, bitter gourd, drumsticks, eggplant, papaya, plantains, snow peas, white radish, and bori (recipe on the blog). This means that it is impossible to make shukto just for 2 people. Shukto seems like an unreasonable choice for everyday cooking. Which is a shame because shukto is vegetarian/vegan and so nutritious. It is also especially difficult for those who live outside of Bengal to source the quintessential shukto spices. So what do you do when you are stranded at a foreign port with no access to radhuni (a tempering spice) for the foreseeable future? What do you do when you must make shukto just for yourself?
Answer: You make shukto with whatever you have. The result is surprisingly similar to the authentic shukto with all the things.
I had half a lonesome bitter gourd, one sweet potato, some green beans, half an eggplant, and some homemade boris. I had no radhuni but it didn’t matter. Please try this skukto recipe with whatever you have. Even if you only have carrots and peas and let us know how it goes. 🙂
Shukto with anything
- 1 bitter gourd sliced
- 1 sweet potato peeled and diced
- 1 potato peeled and diced
- 1 small egg plant diced
- 1 cup green beans whole or halved
- 8-10 boris optional
- 1/2 tsp panch phoron
- 1/2 inch ginger ground or chopped
- 2 tbsp poppy seeds make into a smooth paste with 1 green chili
- 1 tbsp mustard seeds made into a smooth paste
- 2 cups low fat milk or coconut milk
- salt to taste
- 1 tsp (or more) sugar
- 1 tbsp ghee
- oil for shallow frying the vegetables
- Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan. Fry all the vegetables until cooked, one at a time, and set aside on blotting paper. Fry the boris until golden brown and set aside.
- To the same oil, add panch phoron and ginger. Let cook for 30 seconds.
- Add poppy seed and mustard paste, and let cook for another minute.
- Reduce heat and pour in the milk or coconut milk. Add salt and sugar. Once it comes to a boil, add all the fried vegetables and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add ghee (optional) before turning off the heat. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with fried boris. Serve with steamed rice.
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