ছি ছি ছি রানী রাঁধতে শেখেনি… শুক্তনিতে ঝাল দিয়েছে অম্বলেতে ঘি!
This line is from a popular Bengali song which means Rani does not know how to cook; She has added chili/ hot spice to Shuktoni/ Shukto and Ghee to Ambal/ Chatni! This clearly depicts that adding chili is completely no no to Shukto, but I love to temper my shukto with a piece of dried Red Chili and I do it every time I prepare shukto or Shuktoni.
I wrote about Shuktoni (this recipe can be followed for a quick process) back in 2012 when Debjanir Rannaghar was almost in the gestation phase and at that time I detailed about using Shukto Masala while making it; which is the easiest process of making it. But now I prefer to not use Shukto Masala while making Shukto instead I prefer to follow the detailed process where “Randhuni” plays a major role. In this post, I tried to detail the traditional process of making Shukto. Obviously while writing the recipe I have not mentioned about Dried Red Chili but it clearly showing its presence in each picture. So the choice is yours; whether to add or not!
Starting the new post with the same tagline! A Bengali cook is known to be complete by his/her skill to prepare Shukto properly! this is something that makes me worried each time I prepare it. For me making Shukto is nothing but tedious. Husbandman is a fan of this dish and he can have his entire plate of rice only with it. Almost every time, preparing Shukto in lunch is followed by no any other dish on that day and something from outside in Dinner! I just failed to understand how Ma is able to prepare it so smoothly and without any mess in the kitchen! I mostly prepare Shukto a bit extra so that hubby can consume it for 2-3 days simultaneously.
We Bongs treat Shukto as a special dish and we have it on occasion like Marriage, Birthday etc. but as part of Lunch only. It’s a Bengali Mixed vegetarian dish comprising of several veggies inclusive of Bitter Guard, Eggplant, Green Banana, Potato, Sweet potato, Drumsticks, White radish and Hyacinth Beans. There is one exclusive spice that many Bongs prefer to use while preparing it which is known as “Randhuni” and I also love to use Randhuni while cooking it. I mostly purchase Randhuni from Kolkata and store for future use.
- Uchche/ Bitter Gourd: 1
- Begun / Eggplants: 1
- Kanchkola/ Green Banana/ Raw Cooking Banana: 1
- Potato/ aloo: 1
- Sweet potato/ Ranga Aloo/ Sakkar Kandi:
- Drumsticks/ Danta/ Danthal: 2
- White radish/ Mulo/ Mooli: 1
- Sheem/ Hyacinth Beans: 4-5
- Bori: 10-15
- Poppy seeds/ Khuskhus/Posto: 2 Tbsp.
- Mustard Seed: 1 Tbsp.
- Ginger paste: 1 Tbsp.
- Panchphoran/ Bengali Five Spices: 1 Tsp.
- Randhuni: 2 Tsp. (optional)
- Sugar: 1 Tbsp.
- Salt to taste
- Mustard Oil: for Frying and Tempering (around 4 Tbsp.)
- Ghee/clarified butter: 1 Tbsp.
- Milk: 1 cup
- Water: 3-4 cup
- Make a smooth paste of Poppy seed and Mustard Seed separately using a food processor or Shil Nora (Shil Batta).
- Wash all the veggies and cut Bitter Gourd, Eggplant, Green Banana, Potato, Sweet potato, White radish and Hyacinth Beans into rectangular strips ( ½") and Drumsticks into 2" long strpis after peeling the outer skin of each veggie.
- Heat Mustard Oil in a Wok and fry Bari in medium flame and strain from oil.
- Now sprinkle some salt and turmeric powder to the pieces of Eggplant and fry in the remaining oil.
- After that fry Bitter gourd.
- Now fry Green Banana, Potato, and Sweet potato, Drumsticks, White radish and Hyacinth Beans one by one.
- Temper remaining oil with Panchphoron and Randhuni.
- Add Ginger paste and cook for 1-2 minutes and add Poppy seed paste and Mustard paste and again cook for around 2 minutes.
- Add Salt and Sugar again cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add milk and water to the Spice mix and bring it to boil.
- Add all the fried veggies along with raw Drumstick and cover the wok with a lid.
- Cook for around 8-10 minutes in low flame or till the veggies cooked properly.
- Check the water level and if required add some more water since Shukto should have sufficient gravy.
- Add Ghee to the Curry and boil for around 2 minutes and switch the flame off.
- Shukto is ready to serve. It is mostly served with plain Rice.
-Panchphoron is a mixture of Nigella, Cumin Seed, Fenugreek, Fennel, and mustard seeds in equal proportion.
-Randhuni is a close relative Celery Seed .In Bengali cuisine, Randhuni is used for tempering the oil.
Let me end with the Bengali Song that I mentioned earlier which is telling me I am nothing but a proper cook who knows Bengali cuisine 🙂 .