by Amrutam India
Among the world of many colorful Indian dishes comes a traditional Bengali dish prepared during special occasions: Shukto. As Bengalis are great food lovers, this dish is an absolute treat with a unique aroma and taste. Its pleasant bitterness and slightly sweet and salty taste make for a preparation that is absolutely lip-smacking. With pure A2 cow ghee, the taste is enhanced, making it the best dish on the planet.
1 medium bitter gourd (Karela), chopped into 2-inch strips
3 green plantain (Kaccha Kela), cut into 2-inch strips
2 drumsticks (Sajanphalli), peeled slightly and cut into 2 inch long strips
2 medium pointed gourd (Parwal), cut like green plantain
100gm Barbatti bean, cut as sajanphalli
10gm Urad Dal Vadi
½ tbsp Black mustard paste, made into a paste along with some salt
1 tsp Fennel seed paste (saunf paste)
2 Tej Patta
1 tsp of Five spice mix (1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp fennel, 1 tsp kalonji, 1 tsp radhuni (celery seeds), ½ tsp fenugreek seeds (methi seed))
1 tbsp saunth
½ tsp White pepper/Black pepper
2 tbsp Cream or malai or milk
1 tbsp+ 2tbsp+ 3tbsp Mustard oil
1 + 1/2 tbsp Amrutam Ghee
Salt and Sugar to taste
Heat 1 tbsp mustard oil in a saute pan or kadai. When hot, cook the Urad dal vadi till light brown and remove from the pan. Add 2 tbsp more oil and fry the Karela till golden brown; remove from the pan.
In the same oil, fry the baingan slices on high flame till light brown, add some more oil if necessary and remove.
Add 3 tbsp more oil, when hot add the tej patta and 5 spices.
When 5 spices sputter, add half of the saunth powder along with a little splash of water.
Add parwal, drumsticks, barbatti, green plantains and fry them together for about 4-5mins on medium flame until they just begin to get some color.
Add 1 cup of water so that the vegetables submerge a bit, add mustard and fennel paste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and let it simmer. Cover with a lid and cook for 5 mins.
If half cooked, add salt, 1 tbsp Amrutam ghee and rest of the saunth, fried baingan, and karela.
Mix and cover until all the vegetables are cooked and soft.
At this point add water if needed, it should be moderately thick.
Add the fried Vadis except 3, add ½ tsp sugar, and salt as per taste.
Lastly, add cream or malai and mix gently. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Finally, add the pepper powder, the rest of the ghee, and turn the flame off. Cover it with a lid and let it stand for 5 minutes.
The final taste will be a mixture of salty, savory, a little sweet, a little bitter, creamy, and ghee-y. Serve this with white rice. Top it with the 3 crunchy Vadis kept aside.
Radhuni is an essential taste for Shukto. If that's not available replace it with black mustard seeds (Rai).
Don't stir the vegetable too much it will break and get mashy.