Shukto - Mixed Vegetables

A traditional bengali recipe Shukto

A traditional bengali recipe Shukto

This bitter taste curry is a regional favorite of the people of Bengal, Orissa, and Assam taken generally as a starter item during the midday meal. From mythical Shiva (in the narrative poems of Annadamangal) requested Devi Annapurna to cook some dishes including “Shukuta” to the historical figure Shri Chaitanya, the medieval Bengali loved the Shukto.  In Shukto the bitterness is rarely allowed to overpower the other flavors like sharpness of mustard paste, poppy seeds, and slight bitterness of sesame seeds, and flavors of ghee too.

Prawn polao simple traditional Bengali recipe

Laphra is
sarvabhauma parivesana karena apane
prabhu kahe,-more deha laphra-vyañjane

Shukto #1 (A regular recipe)

Ingredients for 4

  • Ucche - উচ্ছে (bitter melons) 2 medium
  • Aloo - আলু (potato) 2 medium
  • Mulo - মুলো (horseradish) 3 inch approx
  • Kachakola - কাঁচা কলা (green banana), 2 pcs
  • Kacha pepe -- কাঁচা পেঁপে (green papaya) 100 gm
  • Eggplant - বেগুন, 1 medium
  • Gati kochu - গাটি কচু (arbi), 2 small
For Tempering
  • Sorsher tel - - সর্ষের তেল (mustard oil) 2 tbsp
  • Tej pata - তেজ পাতা (bayleaves) 2
  • Aada - আদা (ginger) fresh, 1 inches
  • Shorshe - সর্ষে (mustard seeds) 1 tsp
  • Radhuni - রাধুনি (ajmud or celery seeds)
  • Sugar (চিনি), 1 teaspoon
  • Salt (লবন) to taste
  • Kalai daal/Matar daal Bori/Vadi/Wadi (sun dried pulse drops of black lentil or Split peas paste) 5 to 6 pcs, fried and crushed slightly.


  1. Dice all the vegetables.
  2. Heat oil in a deep vessel, add bay leaves, minced ginger, mustard seeds, and radhuni to oil and cook till spluttering.
  3. Add all the vegetables, along with the salt and sugar, fry until water evaporate and the vegetables are slightly fried.
  4. Now add enough water to cover the vegetables and bring to boil. Cover and simmer until all vegetables are nicely done.
  5. You may add a tablespoon of ghee at the very end and 1 or 2 slit green chilies cover to let the flavor mingle with the curry. Serve at room temperature with rice.

Shukto #2 (A very special variety for special occasions like Upanayan, Lord Jagannath Bhog and Chaitanya prasadam or Pitru Paksha ceremony)

Ingredients for 4:
  • Kachakola - কাঁচা কলা (green banana), 1 pc
  • Kacha pepe - কাঁচা পেঁপে (green papaya) 100 gm
  • Ranga aloo - রাঙা আলু (sweet potato) 100gm
  • Aloo - আলু (potato) 100 gm
  • Mulo - মুলো (horseradish) 100gm
  • Patol - পটল (parwal) 150gm
  • Dharosh - ঢেরস (okra) 150gm
  • Begun - বেগুন (brinjal) 150gm
  • Sojne danta - সজনে ডাঁটা (drumsticks)
  • Ucche - উচ্ছে (bitter melons) 100gm
  • Spices Wet masala
  • Posto - পোস্ত (khuskhus)- 2 tbsp
  • Sorshe - সর্ষে (mustard seeds) - 2 tbsp
  • White Til - সাদা তিল (white sesame seeds) – 1 tbsp
  • Kancha lonka - কাঁচা লঙ্কা (green chillies) – 3 to 4
  • Dry masala
  • Dhone - ধনে (coriander seeds) dry roast powder 2 tbsp
  • Methi - মেথি (fenugreek seeds) dry roast powder 1 tbsp
  • Sukno Lonka - শুকনো লঙ্কা (red chilies) dry roast powder ½ tsp (1 pc)
  • For tempering
  • Phanch Phoron (পাঁচ ফোড়ন ) 1 tsp (fennel, black mustard, fenugreek, cumin, and celery seeds)
  • Tej pata - তেজ পাতা (bayleaves) 2 pcs
  • Aada - আদা (ginger) fresh, 2 inches, minced,
  • Sorsher tel - সর্ষের তেল (mustard oil) 100 gm
  • Milk - দুধ 3 tbsp
  • Ghee - ঘি, 1 tablespoon
  • Sugar (চিনি), 1 teaspoon or as required
  • Salt (লবন) as per taste,
  • Halud - হলুদ (turmeric powder) 1 teaspoon (optional, not required)
  • Hot water - গরম জল
  • Bori/Vadi/Wadi sun dried pulse drops made from Kalai daal - কলাই ডাল (black lentil) or Matar daal - মটর ডাল (Split peas) 5 to 6 pcs, fried and crushed slightly.

  1. Wash the vegetables and cut them into jardinière, 2 inches size long, keep all the vegetables separately.
  2. In a little hot ghee fry the boris and set aside. Fry the bitter gourd and okra, set aside.
  3. For making the wet masala soak each of the mustard seeds, poppy seeds, and sesame seeds in warm water. After 10 minutes grind them with salt and green chilies to a fine paste.
  4. Heat the deep vessel, put oil, fry the vegetables (harder one first) one after another like parwal, papaya, sweet potato, green banana, radish, and potato then add brinjal in the end.
  5. Heat the vessel again, put 1 tbsp of oil, heat until it smokes, put bay leaves, panch phoron, and minced ginger.
  6. Add fried vegetables, salt and sugar. Stir till water evaporates and the oil starts oozing out.
  7. Now add wet masala and turmeric powder, stir till the raw smell goes out, add adequate hot water, stir occasionally.
  8. Add milk, cook for 10 mins in low flame till the vegetables are well cooked, but not mashed and left with a thick sauce.
  9. Add ghee and the dry masala, cover the vessel immediately with a lid, give a standing time for 10 mins.
  10. Add crushed bori. Shukto is now ready to be offered with plain rice.

The rich taste behind every Bengali dish depends upon the different tempering techniques.  One of the key-spice is Panch Phoron (five spices) and there are some simple variety or alternatives of spices in it (পাঁচ ফোড়ন) too.

Panch phoron for sabji (veg/nonveg)
  1. Mouri - মৌরি (fennel seeds)
  2. Kalo Sorshe - কালো সর্ষে (black mustard seeds)
  3. Methi - মেথি (fenugreek seeds)
  4. Jeera - জিরা (cumin seeds) and
  5. Kalo jeera কালো জিরা (onion seeds)
  6. Kalo Sorshe - কালো সর্ষে (black mustard seeds)
  7. Methi - মেথি (fenugreek seeds)
  8. Jeera - জিরা (cumin seeds) and
  9. Radhuni – রাধুনি (celery seeds)

Panch phoron for tok (sour veg/fruit/nonveg)
  1. Mouri - মৌরি (fennel seeds)
  2. Kalo Sorshe - কালো সর্ষে (black mustard)
  3. Methi - মেথি (fenugreek seeds)
  4. Kalo jeera - কালো জিরা (onion seeds) and
  5. Dhone – ধনে (coriander seeds)