Sensational Shukto

Posted by Post Admin on July 10, 2009 / Photo Credit:


Sukto, one of the most emblematic dishes of Bengali cuisine, exemplifies the distinct culinary tradition of the country. This complex meal has a revered position in Bengali cooking because of the way in which its many components complement one another. Bitter gourd, raw banana, and drumsticks all come together in a harmonious tango of flavor and custom. Shukto is at its best when the subtle bitterness of its base is complemented by the sweetness of milk or poppy seed paste. This complex taste profile exemplifies the Bengali ideal of bringing together opposites to create something new and wonderful. Colorful veggies and carefully arranged spices like nigella seeds and ginger make this meal a work of culinary beauty.

Not only is Shukto delicious, but it also serves as a window into Bengali culture. It is traditionally served as the first dish of a multi-part dinner, and it does a great job of priming the taste buds for the many other tastes to come. Preparing this meal properly requires time, care, and dedication. Shukto, with each bite, tells a tale of the region’s illustrious past and its people’s dedication to making meals that are more than just nourishing. Shukto is a celebration of the many cultures and traditions that make up Bengal, and sampling it is like tasting the country itself. This meal has deep historical and cultural value, and it also represents the pinnacle of Bengali culinary artistry.

  • Origin: West Bengal, India
  • Category: Shukto is a Bengali Vegetarian Side Dish which is considered Main Course
  • Ingredient: Vegetables (Bitter Gourd, Raw Banana, etc.), Milk, Spices are treated as main ingredients for this recipe. Other ingredients used are Mustard Oil, Poppy Seeds
  • Time and Flavour: This recipe takes approx 40-50 mins and the flavour is Bitter and Mildly Sp
  • Nutritional Information: Shukto contains 100 kcal calories per 100 g serving. This serving contains 3 g of fat, 4 g of protein and 15 g of carbohydrate. The latter is 6 g sugar and 4 g of dietary fiber, the rest is other nutritional component. [ These values may vary based on ingredients used and its quantity ]
Sensational Shukto

Photo Credit:

Details Of Shukto

Shukto, a quintessential Bengali dish, is a unique and harmonious medley of flavors, textures, and ingredients. This mild and slightly bitter vegetable stew exemplifies the art of balance in Bengali cuisine.

A complex blend of vegetables such as bitter gourd, raw banana, eggplant, drumsticks, and more, are meticulously sliced and sautéed. Panch phoron, a traditional Bengali spice mix, including fenugreek, nigella seeds, cumin, black mustard, and fennel seeds, is used to temper the dish, imparting its distinct aroma.

What sets Shukto apart is its creamy and slightly sweet taste, achieved through the addition of milk or a milk-and-poppy seed paste. This mellows out the bitterness of the vegetables and creates a soothing contrast. The dish may also incorporate fried lentil dumplings (bori) for added texture.

Shukto is often enjoyed at the beginning of a traditional Bengali meal, acting as a palate cleanser and aiding digestion. Its unique blend of flavors, from the earthy bitterness to the gentle sweetness, reflects the essence of Bengali cuisine's intricate balance. A dish not only rich in taste but also cultural heritage, Shukto remains a testament to Bengal's culinary artistry and its appreciation for the interplay of flavors.

Ingredients Used In Shukto

  • Bitter Gourd [ करेला ], 1 Medium
    → Thinly Sliced. Remove Seeds And Soak In Salt Water.
  • Raw Banana [ कच्चा केला ], 1 Medium
    → Thinly Sliced.
  • Drumsticks [ सहजन ], 2 Pieces
    → Cut Into 3-Inch Pieces.
  • Sweet Potato [ शकरकंद ], 1 Small Piece
    → Peeled And Cubed.
  • Eggplant [ बैंगन ], 1 Small Piece
    → Cubed.
  • Green Papaya [ हरा पपीता ], 1/4 Small Piece
    → Peeled And Thinly Sliced.
  • Radish [ मूली ], 1 Small Piece
    → Peeled And Thinly Sliced.
  • Mustard Oil [ सरसों का तेल ], 3 Tablespoons
    → To Be Used For Cooking, Use Any Oil Of Your Choice.
  • Panch Phoron [ पंच फोरन ], 1 Teaspoon
    → Equal Parts Of Mustard Seeds, Cumin Seeds, Fennel Seeds, Fenugreek Seeds, And Nigella Seeds.
  • Turmeric Powder [ हल्दी चूर्ण ], 1/2 Teaspoon
  • Salt [ नमक ], As desired
  • Milk [ दूध ], 1 Cup
    → To Be Used For Making The White Poppy Seed Paste.
  • Poppy Seeds [ खसखस ], 2 Tablespoons
    → Soaked In Milk.
  • Ginger [ अदरक ], 1 Piece
  • Green Chili [ हरी मिर्च ], 2-3 Pieces
    → Adjust To Taste.
  • Clarified Butter [ घी ], 1 Teaspoon
  • Sugar [ चीनी ], 1/2 Teaspoon
    → Optional, To Balance Flavors.
  • Hot Spice [ गरम मसाला ], 1/2 Teaspoon
  • Coconut [ नारियल ], 1/4 Cup
    → Freshly Grated. To Be Used For Garnishing.


Method for preparing Shukto

  • Make the white poppy seed paste
  • Heat mustard oil in a skillet until it begins to smoke, then reduce the heat.
  • Add the panch phoron and allow it to sputter.
  • Combine the bitter gourd, raw banana, drumsticks, sweet potato, eggplant, green papaya, and radish in a mixing bowl. Cook for a few minutes.
  • Stir in the turmeric powder and salt. Combine thoroughly.
  • Cook for a few minutes after adding the white poppy seed paste.
  • Stir in the milk.
  • Cover and boil until the veggies are tender and the flavors have blended.
  • Stir in the ghee, sugar, and garam masala. Gently combine.
  • Serve with shredded coconut as a garnish.
  • Serve the Shukto over steamed rice while it is still warm.

Health Benefits Of Shukto

  • Nutrient-Rich Vegetables – Shukto is made with a variety of vegetables like bitter gourd, pumpkin, and beans, providing a range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
  • Fiber Content – The fiber from the vegetables aids in digestion, promotes gut health, and helps maintain a healthy weight.
  • Bitter Gourd Benefits – Bitter gourd is known to have blood sugar-regulating properties and can be beneficial for diabetes management.
  • Low in Calories – Shukto is usually cooked in minimal oil and is relatively low in calories, making it a healthy option for weight management.
  • Digestive Health – The use of ingredients like mustard seeds and ginger in shukto can aid digestion and stimulate appetite.

Although these components may offer some health benefits, it's crucial to keep in mind that everyone's experience may vary, and they must be consumed in moderation as a part of a balanced diet. If you have any specific health issues or concerns, it's recommended to speak with a healthcare provider.

To Conclude

To really get to the heart of it, Shukto is more than just a Bengali dish; its a testament to the complex web of tastes that characterizes Bengali cooking as a whole. The subtle balance of bitter and sweet in this dish, which is made from a variety of veggies, milk, and spices, captures the spirit of Bengali cuisine. In addition to being delicious, Shukto represents the Bengali value of valuing individuality and variety. Its meticulous and time-consuming preparation is a reflection of the traditional values cherished by previous generations.

Shukto connects people to their history and present via its role as a decorative element at both special events and ordinary meals. The meal is symbolic of the Bengali people and their culture because it exemplifies the harmony that can be achieved by combining apparently disparate materials. So, Shukto is more than just a meal; its a celebration of Bengali culture, a symphony of tastes that gets to the essence of both the past and the future.

Thank You

The pictures displayed on this website are usually royalty free stock photos taken from Unsplash, iStock, Pixabay, Pngtree, and other sources. We appreciate the work of the individuals who own them. This is to thank them for their work and let them know how much it is appreciated.

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