Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bengali Shukto

Krsnamayi's Shukto:

2 karela (Indian bitter mellon) if using Chinese, then use small, or half.
2 Medium potatoes cubed
1 medium brinjal (eggplant) If using large western shaped, then use half! cubed
1 medium muli (white radish) cubed
2 kacha kola (green bananas) cubed
1 small lau (loki) OR Green papaya (if you cannot find either, then a small zuc...chini will do) cubed

3 Tablespoons oil
5 piece Bori (optional)
1 T Ginger Bata (paste from fresh ginger root)
1 T Sorsa Bata (paste made from brown mustard seeds)
1 1/2 t cumin Bata (cumin paste)
1 t chilli powder
1 t tumeric powder
2 T ghee or oil
1/2 panch phoran
3 T milk (if you are vegan you can use soy)
2-3 cups water
2 t sugar
salt to taste

In a wok or large pot heat 3 T oil. Add the chopped karlea and fry until slightly brown. Remove. If using bori, fry until they are toasted brown colour. Remove from oil. Add potatoes and fry until they are slightly browned, move to once side of wok and add spices. Fry spices one minute, add remaining vegetables and stirfry. Add the water. In a separate pan heat 2 T ghee and fry the panch phoran until dark (with Shukto it is ok for the fenugreek in the panch phoran to be darker than usual because it is a bitter preparation) add the panch phoran, milk sugar and salt. lower heat and cook covered until vegetables are tender and sauce has reduced. when finished add the toasted bori.

Note: Panch Phoran is a mixture of 5 spices. In Bengal it contains Fenugreek (methi), Nigella/kalonji seed (kalo jira), Cumin seed (jira) , Radhuni   and Fennel seed. The Radhuni is a purely Bengali spice, and you probably won't find it in a normal Indian shop. In north India the Panch Puran contains brown mustard seeds instead of Radhuni.

Bori is a dried circle made from dahl (typically urad) soaked, ground into a paste and then dried in the sun. They can be fried and then added to vegetable preparations on the end of cooking. They provide a nice flavour and texture.

For information about how to make your own bori: http://kichukhonn.blogspot.com/2009/02/bori-mungaudi-sundried-lentil-dumplings.html

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