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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Shrimp Pad Thai - an Indian version


The fallen leaves all around our space of living and on our walking trails, tells us that winter is near our neck of the woods. Although I still want to believe and want to feel the warmth of summer sunshine eternally, but to be honest it seems a story from a far away land, perhaps from down under. But for that I have to travel many miles down under, now which seems nearly impossible for the time being.Anyhow there are other means to feel some warmth, one is eating a delicious warm bowl of Shrimp Pad Thai, reminding us of some tropical sun-shine and warmth.



To all who read My Blog's FB Page  updates, I had mentioned about many moons ago that I had made Pad Thai, but somehow that never made it up to here on the blog.
Today seems a nice day to write it about here with the half term holidays and Halloween, although it’s nothing spooky about it. The hotness and the taste coming from the stir/fried rice noodles with small shrimps and eggs, somehow makes the atmosphere little warmed up here. One can imagine a cozy evening with a bowl of freshly made Pad Thai and listening to some old Hindi music, a great way to warm up after all the illness for the past one month in one’s home. That's something I am thinking of doing in coming days, provided everything goes well again.
And top it all, that day; I cooked shrimps after a considerable gap of time. Although dear husband, skipped shrimp, so I avoided shrimp in his bowl. But we, mother and daughter duo liked it very much as we are fond of chingri/shrimp.
We don’t really eat shrimps frequently, but small cold water shrimps have a nice texture and flavor. Ask any Bengali he would go weak on his knees for all the - “golda” /”bagda” chingri/Tiger Prawns, “kucho chingri”/small shrimp and these are always relished in every Bengali home. This preparation with rice noodles or vermicelli really gets thumbs up from my daughter. Try it someday, kids will like it.




Shrimp Pad Thai noodles - an Indian version
Recipe requirements
  • 200 Gms of fine rice noodles
  • 2 -3 eggs
  • 2 -3 cloves of garlic
  • ½ tsp of ginger grated
  • 1 purple onion finely chopped
  • 2 cups of bean sprouts
  • 1 cup of cooked small shrimp
  • 1 tsp of red pepper powder
  • 3 heaped tbs of tamarind pulp
  • 3 heaped tbs of tomato ketch-up
  • 4 heaped tbs of soya sauce
  • 1 tsp of fish sauce
  • 3 green chilies chopped
  • ½ tsp of salt
  • 1 tbs of sugar
  • 5-6 tbs of cooking oil/sada tel

Method
  • Soak the fine rice noodles in hot water for 10-15 mints or till turn just soft.Note- Super fine noodles requires less time than the medium rice noodles.I do like to use super fine noodles for Pad Thai, but many go with the traditional way of using medium noodles.Use as per your own likings.
  • Marinate small shrimp in some salt and little turmeric powder, just enough to add some color to shrimp, otherwise if you don’t feel, don’t add them.
  • Now heat up a saucepan at medium-high heat and 1tbs of cooking oil. Add in 2 eggs; stir/fry them breaking the egg yolks, and stir-frying them finely. Take out in a separate plate.
  • Now add in 1 tbs of cooking oil, sauté shrimp at medium -high flame for 3-4 mints. Take them out in a plate.
  • Fried eggs and fried shrimps will be added later on. Actually if you are comfortable then you can easily continue cooking them with noodles. I just thought it’s better to sauté them separately and add later on when the noodles are well fried, just prior of serving.
  • At this time, add rest of the cooking oil, stir/fry the chopped garlic, ginger and onions for about 2-3 mints  at medium-high heat.Add in cooked noodles.Toss all well if you can and have a deep wok, otherwise just keep mixing without breaking the strands in a saucepan.
  • Add in sugar, salt, fish sauce, tamarind pulp, tomato ketchup, and red pepper powder and soya sauce. If you like, mix the sauces-soya sauce, fish sauce, tamarind pulp, tomato ketch-up  and salt, sugar, red pepper powder in a bowl very well and then add this sauce to the fried noodles to coat well. Mix well with noodles. Note- Fish sauce is very salty, so it’s better to add less salt in the preparation. And use fish sauce carefully, too much and it will ruin the stir/fry.
  • Add in bean sprouts and other vegetables if you wish to add like- green beans,bell pepper,mushroom, carrots etc.Keep on stir/fry at medium-high heat, tossing and stir/frying continuously.Note- Add in little bit of cooking oil approx- 2tbs of oil and 2tbs of water if all of them seems dry and starts to stick.
  • Now add in fried eggs and fried shrimp, mix well, cooking it up at  medium flame.
  • Taste and adjust sugar and salt or hotness. If you like some more spice and hotness then chop green chilies and sprinkle over the cooked noodles.
  • Serve immediately and with a lemon wedge if you like even tangier pad Thai.Since I have added tamarind pulp, I don’t think lemon juice is required.
  • Sprinkle chopped spring onions, some red chilly flakes or toasted peanuts enjoy this bowl of warm, spicy Thai Pad noodles.
Updated to add this recipe link -----

And here is a similar Pad Thai recipe with chicken at  My Kitchen Treasures..

Happy Cooking and enjoy Halloween.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Coconut and White Chocolate Truffles, Shubho Bijoya and 6 years in Blogging


I don’t know about you, but deep down, Bijoyadoshami brings a sense of calmness and serenity with itself, to me. After all these never –ending engagements,get-together, Pushpanjali, Sandhi Pujo,cooking  up delicious dishes, eating in home or out ,gorging street foods, pandal hopping, cultural programme  etc which begins from the day of Bodhon  and extends up to the day of Mahanabami, Dashmi  somehow brings a sense of contentment within ourselves.



It’s never easy to bid good-bye to Ma Durga, but after "Baran" on Dashmi, everything around Puja Pandal seems to be serious, a feeling which even gets inside us. But Dashmi late evening, everything seems to ease out. It will be again a different atmosphere, joyous mood and laughter a midst all the fan-fare. That sinking feeling somehow tends to vanish with the onset of celebrations for Bijoyadashami.

Although I am little late but hopefully not that late, "better be late than never" ….

Wishing you all a Shubho Bijoyadshami and to my friends from other parts of India – Happy Dassehrah.

With this Bijayadashmi, Ma Durga eradicates all the darkness and evil that sprung up within ourselves or may surround us 
or intend to hover around us………..

Shubho Bijoya…..




We happen to catch-up with Ashtami Sandhi Puja live at Belurmath TV . They even have archived video-footage of Durga Puja from previous years also, if somebody is still interested.
This year we were mostly staying in our home, much to our dissatisfaction, we still haven’t recovered from our seasonal weather influences. Anyhow, that didn't stop us from making sweets for Bijoya dashmi.

I made some Dudh Peda  and these white chocolate snowballs or truffles also. I know Christmas isn't near but still festivity means some sweets and if it can be made quickly, then it really saves time. Actually thanks to Microwave, everything was quickly assembled.



Now to the recipe-
Coconut and White Chocolate Truffle- re-incarnation of Narkel’er naru
Recipe requirements
(Makes 8- 9 truffles approx)
  • 1 bar of luxury white chocolate or 150 Gms of white chocolate bar
  • 1 cup of tightly packed desiccated coconut
  • 2-3  tbs of cream
  • 2 tbs of water
  • 1 tbs of butter
  • Some dark chocolate bits for coating
  • 2-3 tbs of desiccated coconut for decorations

Method
  1. Break the white chocolate bar in small pieces. In a microwave safe bowl, add in 2 tbs of water, microwave it for 30 to 40 sec at full power, keep an eye we just want them soft , once they are soft and little bit melted , it’s easy to stir and add in cream.
  2. Take it out and then add cream into it, then stir it and mix well. Add in 1 tbs of ghee or butter.
  3. Add in 1 cup of tightly packed desiccated coconut into it.
  4. Now mix them very well with your hands. Wash your hands properly before mixing in.
  5. Now scoop it out 1 tb from the mixture and roll into small balls with your palms.
  6. Line up a greaseproof paper over a plate or baking tray, refrigerate it for 2-3 hrs.
  7. When they are solid and set properly, take them out.
  8. In a microwave safe bowl, melt in dark chocolate bits or any chocolate éclairs (in India you may even use 6-7 Cadbury chocolate éclairs)…
  9. Now coat the top of each snowballs/truffle with this dark chocolate, and then quickly roll thse trufles over desiccated coconut to coat or top it well.
  10. Store them in fridge to set them properly. Enjoy.
  11. Almonds truffles can also be made in similar way.
  12. Coarsely chop toasted almonds and mix in with white chocolate, top it up with crushed almonds instead of desiccated coconut.
Note-
I didn't have unsweetened raw coconut or shredded coconut  at the time of making this truffle, however if you can find them, they turn out even more flavourful.

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Below are few  more Bijoyadashmi recipes......

Ghugni - Without this our Bijoyadashmi was incomplete..........
























 And last but very important- Narkel Naru- although this recipe is not made with gur/jaggery- which makes the somewhat patent dark colour narkel naru for Durga Puja , but still a narkel naru always remains special edged in our mind during these festival times.
Every year we will be making these narkel narus out of fresh narkel/coconut.This year also made above truffle, which seems quite similar with narkel naru to me, but with desiccated coconut.



.

And with this post , would like to say that this blog also turned 6 this year.Let me thank everybody who stop here to read this blog, or may have tried few recipes,left some comments or even drop a simple "Hi".......

And to all blogger friends who religiously check each post published from here.Six is a very long journey, glad I somehow managed it so far, how long will I be doing it that I don't know.And in these past years, even saw myself evolved as a person and a cook both.I am still learning and learning to me is a lifelong process, it never stops.So accompany me with this journey ahead, I know you all will, Won't you?.......

Without you readers, this blog is nothing, keep this going and once again Thank You to all.

With mishti mukh - Shubho Bijoyadashmi  everybody...........



Sunday, October 21, 2012

Posto Bata Diye Murgi- Chicken Cooked in Poppy Seed Paste and Sharodiya Shubecha


When I last purchased two packets of white poppy seeds from the Asian grocery store here, I had Aloo Posto  or may be some green leafy vegetable sit/fry recipes like this Notey-posto Labra on my mind. I never had any clue that few days later I will be making posto bata diye murgi or chicken with poppy seeds paste.

After coming back from grocery shopping that day, I neatly put the white poppy seeds packets as my new found treasure, and then put it inside a kitchen cupboard safely. And on that day I also happened to call back home to tell my Ma that I managed to get decent quality of posto here in abroad. Another Eureka moment for me. As I was having a conversation with my Ma, she told me, she made posto murgi last Sunday and then asked me to make it someday. Instead of asking her how she made it, our conversation got little diverted towards other aspects of our life, and I completely forgot to ask about the recipe and then we hung up.


This was way back, may be perhaps this being almost two months old story. I even mentioned this perhaps on my blog’s Facebook Page  that posto murgi has been made on one lazy Sunday morning. I didn’t have the time to call back again and ask my Ma about her recipe.I followed with my own instinct then and made it just like Kosha Murgi  but with posto bata.Some other day I will update this post with her recipe as well.

Poppy seed packets were taken out, and then it was soaked in water with some cashews. And then it was wet grinded.Posto murgi was made slowly and then pictures were clicked, short hand recipe note was written in my diary. And then it was relished by my folks at lunch, and it all ended there, but then I forgot to talk about it here. And believe me it has happened to me so many times that now I have lost count.
And it ended on that point, like a bubble bursts when it comes in contact with any real surface. My enthusiasm to blog about it busted- as simple as that.Ok few days ago I was sorting out pictures on my computer and saw pictures of posto murgi.And since then I thought as Durga Puja is near, it will be good to share a recipe which goes well with this lively festive spirit.


Anyhow couple of days ago it was Mahalaya, and no we didn’t get up early 4 o’clock in the morning. I was not keeping well so couldn’t imagine myself getting up that early. With seasonal change, comes viral infections also, part of life or the ups and downs of life-cycle. I still do not have recovered well, but I also can’t sit and do nothing especially if it’s Durga Puja. My dear daughter and dear husband have been so co-operating and adjusting.They are taking care of me up to an extent that they both are verge on collapsing themselves.God bless both of them.Actually we all are under the influence of weather change.A testing time for us, hopefully it will pass soon, not every days, are bright and sunny days, sometimes hovering black clouds do bring some sort of sorrow and pain with it.Just hoping and praying for a bright rainbow after this gloomy patch.

It was late in the evening, sun had gone down, we all sat up relaxing on a couch and also searched on YouTube, came across this. All of a sudden certain childhood memories flashed in front of my eyes while listening to “Mahishashur-mardini”.While me and dear husband went nostalgic with our own childhood memories, our dear daughter sat and listened to all the songs- from “Jago Durga” to “Jai jai hey Mahishahsur-mardini”...and I really don’t know if ever she is going to understand what it meant, listening to Mahishashur-mardini on one cold “Ashin” morning or “Ashin’er sharodo prate “amidst all the chaos and sounds coming from neighbourhood households and then going to sleep again listening to these songs all covered up in a blanket. But somehow she felt sleepy listening to these songs, a kind of soothing effect which kept lingering in mind. Hope this soothing effect creates space for another childhood memory which will linger on her sub-conscious mind or may be once she grows up , can recall someday, one fine Ashin Month’s evening, sitting and relaxing in a couch with her parents ,cozying up with fleece,drinking a cup of hot chocolate, she listened to “Mahishahsur-Mardini”……………….




Posto Bata diye Murgi Kosha- Chicken cooked in poppy seed paste
Recipe requirements
  • 1 kg of chicken
  • Posto bata- heaped 8-9 tbs
  • Onion/ginger/garlic paste- about 1 to 1 and half cup
  • Tomato- 2
  • 3-4 hot green chilies 
  • ½ tsp of turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp of red pepper powder/paprika
  • 1 heaped tsp of coriander powder
  • ½ tsp of cumin powder
  • Yogurt- ¼ cup
  • ½ tsp of cardamom powder
  • ½ tsp of cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • ½ tsp of sugar
  • 4-5 tbs of mustard oil
  • 2 tej pata or bay leaf
  • 1 tsp of desi ghee
  • 1 cup of frozen green peas or 1 potato (optional)

Method
  • Soak white poppy seeds in enough water. We will need at least 7-8 tbs of posto paste. Wet grind ½ cup of poppy seeds. Reserve rest of poppy seed paste to be used later if you don’t want to use all of it. Many times I do like to add some cashews to this paste for more richness. If you are not allergic to peanuts, then ½ cup of peanuts also adds some nice texture to posto bata.
  • Chop onion, ginger, green chilies and garlic and make a paste in mixer. Roughly use 2 large purple onion, ½ inch ginger and 6-7 fat garlics.Add little bit of water to rotate the grinder. Add in tomato, medium size works great, however if you are using large then use 1 tomato. We will need at least 1 large cup of this paste.
  • Now trim off chicken skin and fat if any. Pat them dry, prick with fork all over the chicken pieces.
  • Marinate this chicken with yogurt, salt and 1 tsp of red pepper powder. Leave it aside for at least 1-2 hrs.
  • Now heat up a saucepan, add in mustard oil. Add in tej pata, let it brown properly.
  • Add in ½ tsp of sugar.
  • Now add in 1 large cup of onion+ginger+garlic+green chilly paste to the heated oil. Keep on frying till the rawness is gone.
  • Add in dry masala powder- turmeric powder, coriander, cumin, salt and sugar. Add in about a cup of water to it so that the paste and dry ingredients don’t stick to base. Keep on stir/fry this paste till the oil comes out from sides or In Bengali we call it “Moshla Koshano”…..
  • After the paste is well fried, about 10-12 mints, add in marinated chicken pieces with all the juices of marinade.
  • Now it’s turn of Chicken pieces to be properly stir- fried. Add in posto bata and 1 cup of water. Mix all well; Keep on stir/fry – "koshano" for 10 more mints. This frying or koshano or stir/fry – whatever you want to call it needs to be done on medium to medium high flame.
  • Cover the saucepan, and lower the flame, let it simmer for half an hour.
  • Open the saucepan cover- add in cardamom powder and cinnamon powder. Taste the gravy, if required more heat, add in 2 green chilies slit in between. If making it for kids you can avoid it.
  • Let it cook 10 mints more or till the chicken flesh barely falls off from bones.You can add frozen green peas or fried potato pieces as well.
  • Take it off, and keep it covered. Add in 1 tsp of desi ghee to the above. Sprinkle coriander leaves at serving time.
Note
Many times I do fry the chicken pieces before I add them in the masala with all the dry ingredients.
For best taste and flavor make this posto murgi in the morning and serve at dinner time with a Biryani  or Peshwari Naan..

A similar recipe at Priya's Versatile Recipe........

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And I do hope this Durga Puja like always, you will cook delicious food, will also gorge on street foods, wear new crisp clothes and shoes, will get together with friends and family and will involve yourself in your community Durga Puja and do lots of Pandal hopping and … I should stop my blabbering now and let you do the way you want to celebrate Durga Puja …………………..



May you all enjoy Sharadoutsav to the fullest.

Durga Pujor Priti ebong onek Shubecha Shobaike……

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Promotion- This Weekend on The Telegraph - Madhur Jaffrey's "The Perfect Curry "


I have been reading Madhur Jaffery’s cookbooks for quite sometime now. Her classic cookbooks have always been getting rave reviews world-wide from beginners, experts, gourmet chefs and home cooks as well. Her first cookbook “An invitation to Indian cookery” was written way back in 1973, and since then she has written many cookbooks. 

An epitome in popularizing curry recipes in Britain and across the globe, she has carved a niche with her Indian culinary skills. And then there is another prominent side of her multi-dimensional talent, she also happens to be a renowned television artist, having acted in many films.
In 2006 she wrote her childhood memoir “Climbing the Mango Trees”, a beautifully written cookbook engaging all the aspects of food, family gatherings and holidays from her childhood days which she spent in India.





So, when I was contacted to talk about this promotion by Telegraph Media group, UK division, I couldn't resist myself. One thing I would like to emphasize that this is not a paid promotion. In case you all are wondering, it’s just my way of appreciating quality work by a renowned personality whom I admire for her passion and zest towards life.



This weekend Free inside The Telegraph, learn how to make "The perfect Curry" with Madhur Jaffery.The Telegraph are giving away two exclusive booklets packed with more than 40 authentic recipes.
Learn how to cook show-stopping dishes with minimal fuss.

Visit www.telegraph.co.uk/Madhur-Jaffrey for more details.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Shukto - A simple Bengali Homely Food


Shukto invokes mixed feelings to me. And it almost took me 6 years to write about this recipe.Wonder why? The reason, this is not a frequent star recipe in our home. This one is only restricted to our weekend elaborate cooking affair when I rarely take pictures for the blog.So even if I cook, I forget to take pictures or my folks being hungry and impatient, taking picture is something that comes last on my mind.
As far as I can recall, I have never liked shukto in my growing up years and my Ma always used to scold me for this. Well every mother does that. Isn’t?


Anyhow, I don’t know why there’s such a paradigm shift now. I have slowly started liking shukto these days. My dear daughter has also started liking the taste and flavor but, she always takes out the bitter gourd pieces from it and eats rest of the veggies. Now shukto without “uche” or “korola” is unimaginable but everybody has their own means to make or do things according to ones own taste-bud. And also eating should be a pleasure just like cooking and not a punishment.

Every home has its own way of making a particular recipe and to call ones this is “authentic” is not suitable. I have always said please use your own instinct and ingredients which your family prefers. But there are basic guidelines for making shukto, so just thought of writing this here. I know there are possibly many shukto recipes out there, nothing to be surprised; every one is doing their best job in satisfying the taste buds of their own family members.
My mother is very vocal about "radhuni" in her traditional Bengali cooking; actually she always complains now that she doesn’t get fresh supply of radhuni anymore, her shukto never tastes the same. Now to my knowledge I have never understood the value because while growing up I rarely noticed these culinary inputs, but the scenario today is different as I have now become a mother myself and cooking now is my job or rather should I say more appropriately a responsibility. I also can’t recall when was the last time I saw radhuni in my Ma’s pantry or that usual "panch phoron" with radhuni as one ingredient.

Radhuni- belonging to family Apiaceae is genus- Trachyspermum species- roxburghianum… and is a native angiosperm plant from south-east Asia, particularly Bengal in India. It is also known as "अजमोद  in Hindi.
There is a substitute in celery seeds which also belongs to same family Apiaceae.And to be honest till today I haven’t used neither of them in making shukto.But there are people like my Ma who says shukto without radhuni is incomplete. Anyways the debate will go on. And when craving occur, one should go ahead with whatever ingredients are available in ones own pantry.

Now my mother who is very keen in using radhuni in her shukto preparations says “radhuni is kind of soft to touch, not the usual seed type-( she is right ,actually it's a dried fruit not seed) and adds  a lovely smell after it’s being added to shukto”….and she used to get radhuni supply easily in UP, about a decade ago. But over these days even in Bengal radhuni cultivation is limited, hence radhuni as an ingredient in “probashi cooking”-(if you all would allow me to use this term) is almost completely stopped or is a rare commodity these days….radhuni or no radhuni , over a period of time I have started to make shukto the way we like to eat without radhuni or with out celery seeds, the ones used these days as substitute of radhuni here in abroad.
However in my short stay in Kolkata, I have never seen even my ma-in-law using radhuni for her shukto preparations or in any other “phoron”/tempering process. People residing in Kolkata if you have found authentic radhuni then please share where we can buy them.

Shukto, if I am allowed to say, have evolved in to two forms – one is “Ghoti shukto” and the other one is “Bangal shukto”.And then there are "dudh shukto ", “bori shukto”, “neem pata shukto” etc. With so many variations and ingredient list, I think every home has its own way of making shukto- some even add green chilies, nothing to be surprised.  
I have seen my ma-in-law making her shukto with shorshe, dudh /milk,ginger/ada and panch phoron powder,posto is not added. I have asked my ma about shukto recipe couple of year’s back; her way is slightly different from my ma-in-laws way as she doesn't add milk to it , but trust me both the ways they taste great.

Over these years this recipe that is being shared here is how I have improvised both the recipes almost to an extent that it has become a new recipe for shukto to us.
So, this is how I like to make shukto in my small apartment kitchen far away from home and I really don’t know if ever my daughter is going to make shukto once she grows up. And that too depends on what ingredients will be available to her and how much time she will be having in her hand to cook.

Ok somebody even told me there is ready-made “shukto moshla” packet available these days in Kolkata. All problems solved then. And in case you still want to make it all from scratch then please go ahead and read below.
Now to the recipe



Shukto
Recipe requirements (serves-5-6)
Panch-mishali vegetables ( 5 types of vegetables ) -in combination from this following list
  • 1 Kanch kola- raw or green banana
  • 1 cup of chopped  Green papaya/ Pepen 
  • ½ Mulo/white radish or 8-10 red radish
  • 9-10 Sojne data/ drumsticks pieces of roughly 1-2 inch
  • Aloo/potato
  • Mishti aloo/ranga aloo/sweet potato
  • Begun/brinjal/eggplant
  • Potol/parwal/pointed gourd
  • Sheem/hyacinth
  • Jhinge/ridge gourd
  • Borboti /beans or may use yard long beans
  • Uche/Korola/bitter gourd- Uche is different from Korola

For the wet moshla
  • 2-3 heaped tbs of poppy seeds
  • 1 tbs of brown mustard seeds or yellow mustard seeds

Soak poppy seeds and mustard seeds in enough water. Grind them well. Or use the mustard powder recipe from Here to be added later on at the end when the dry moshla powder will be sprinkled and mixed.
Now for the tempering part/phoron for shukto 
  • 1 tsp of panch phoron or radhuni if available
  • 2 tej pata or bay leaf
  • 3-4 tbs of cooking oil- mustard oil adds more flavors
  • 1 tsp of ginger grated or ½ tsp of paste
  • 1 cup of bori/wadi/lentil dumpling

For the dry moshla powder
  • 1 tsp of fennel seeds/mouri
  • 1 tsp of methi/fenugreek seeds
  • ½ tsp of cumin seeds
  • or may use 2-4 tsp of panch phoron 

Dry grind the above listed.
And must is sugar and ghee according to taste.I have added 3 tsp of sugar and 1 tsp of ghee.
 1/3 cup of milk diluted with water making it almost 1 to 1 and half cups or use more to make it 2 cups for more gravy in shukto.

Method

  • Chop all the vegetables in equal and proportionate length.I generally chop the vegetables lengthwise. My Ma does in small cubes -all the vegetables in equal cubes. Whatever suits do it but equal pieces help in even cooking.
  • Now cut biter gourd and marinate them in little bit of turmeric powder and salt. If you don’t like to use turmeric powder, skip it and only salt is fine.
  • Leave it aside for half an hour.
  • Heat up a saucepan/kadai.
  • Add shorsher tel/mustard oil.
  • Fry the bori/wadi/lentil dumplings first .Take out in a bowl.(I have used small bori/wadi as that is what I got here). They should be evenly fried turning them light-brown in colour.And they drink loads of tel/oil so make sure you add enough Oil while frying them.TIP- Dunk them in a bowl of water and add them at the end when the vegetables are already cooked, this way they wont turn soggy or break apart.
  • Fry the bitter gourd /korola pieces for 3 -4 mints, bit not burning them. Some even fry them very well- like “kora korey bhaja”, somehow I like it mild fry.
  • To the same oil, add more oil.
  • Now add in panch phoron and tej patta.Add ginger paste or grated ginger.
  • Add in all the vegetables, the vegetables which needs little bit of more frying goes first like- green banana, potato, drumstick, radish, sweet potato, hyacinth /sheem and the ones which are soft vegetables goes later like ridge gourd and brinjal.My ma-in-law don’t even fry the brinjal, but I have to do this in abroad, some how found that if they are not properly fried they don’t absorb the flavor.
  • Keep on frying for 7-8 mints at medium to high flame or till they turn soft. Add about 2 cups of water.Cover and cook the vegetables.
  • Add in fried bori/wadi and bitter gourd pieces.
  • Cover it and let it cook further4-5 mints. After a while you will see that all the water is absorbed and vegetables are cooked.
  • Now add in poppy seeds and mustard paste to it. Add in diluted milk with water about 1- 2 cups. (now it depend on the gravy you want, generally we like little “runny- Patla shukto”, so I add more milk and water to the gravy, more the fact as bori/wadi tends to soak the gravy quite fast so need to add enough water and milk).If you haven’t used the mustard paste earlier, then you may sprinkle dry mustard powder now- recipe can be found Here
  • And in 1tsp of ghee and sugar about 2-3 tsp, let it cook further 4-5 mints at med-low flame. Since mustard has been added, don’t cook much now.
  • Take it off and then lastly sprinkle the dry moshla powder or (fennel+fenugreek+cumin seeds)  or the usual panch phoron powder and mix well. Let it cool a bit and serve with warm cooked rice. Actually shukto is eaten when it’s not hot and at room temperature, sometimes even cold.


Note-
In shukto turmeric powder is not added and is a pale color preparation.Many call this Shukto preparation as "Bori shukto" or "data shukto" as well.However if you feel to add colour then go ahead and add turmeric powder.And a request is please do not add Gajor/carrot to shukto.Even if you don't have other vegetables.
The recipe shared is how we like to make our "Shukto", there may be slight variations in every home, follow your own instinct and please use this recipe as mere guidelines.

Further reference for shukto-
Here , Krishokolee's KitchenShukto-almost-pictorial- at BongmomShukto - at Cook like a Bong,
Shukto-bitter-vegetable-curry at Homemaker's Diary

Happy Cooking Friends