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There is a saying “Bhojon Rashik Bangali” (“food loving Bengali”). I won’t say it’s absolutely a myth. Bengalis are really fond of eating and feeding others. A usual Bengali lunch starts with a shukto, dal, fries or fritters, a vegetarian curry, and then the non-vegetarian item, most likely to be fish if not a egg, chicken or mutton curry, and ending with a chutney. And of course there are a few guests at home, then there is always a chance to feast on some sweets at the end of the meal. So, it is always a heavy meal in a Bengali household whether you like it or don’t like it. Talking about lunches, there has to be a shukto to start with. Shukto is a typical Bengali dish with minimal spices and all the vegetables that you can find in the kitchen, the refrigerator, or for that matter anywhere in and around the house. But, a statutory warning here, tomatoes, cauliflower, cabbages are not allowed to be a part of this bitter sweet preparation.

Shukto is of various types, depending on the type of spices used or even at times the absence or presence of some particular vegetables. But, in general it is a bitter in taste because of the bitter gourd, which is the most important ingredient of this preparation. Among all the types of shukto the most popular one is the dudh shukto, here milk is used to temper the taste of the whole preparation.


My mom is an avid lover of shukto, first because she can use all the vegetables in her stock and secondly because she gets an alibi to feed us bitter gourd. She prepares shukto in different style, and this one is one of her own creations. There another very interesting part about having shukto, it is never served for dinner, but is only had at lunch time. While writing this post, I called up my mom, my aunts and even my father, but they all had the same statement, “shukto raat e khete nei” (You should not have shukto at night), but nobody actually knew why not to have it at night. Baba (my father) tried to solve the mystery saying that with so many vegetables its quite a heavy preparation and so one should avoid having it at night. He also added that may be its because of that bitter gourd, which may create some digestive trouble if had at night. Truly speaking, I am not satisfied with his solution. I would love to hear from any of you if you have any suggestions or solutions to this.

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 20min
Cooking time: 15 -20min


Aubergine (Begun): 1 medium

French Beans (Bean): 5 -6

Bitter gourd (Karola): 2 medium sized

Pumpkin (Kumro): 100gm

Potato (Alu): 2 medium sized

Ridge gourd (Jhinge): 1

Mustard seed (Sarse): 1 tablespoon

Drumsticks (Sajner data): 2, cut into one inch lengths

Raw rice (Atop chal): 2 tablespoon, coarsely made into paste

Turmeric powder (Halud guro): ½ teaspoon

Ginger paste (Ada bata) 1teaspoon

Mustard paste (Sarse bata): 2 tablespoon

Mustard oil (Sarser tel): 4 tablespoon


  • Dice the vegetables into even size pieces.
  • Heat 3 tablespoon of oil in a wok, throw in the mustard seeds and grinded rice
  • Add all the vegetables as the mustard seeds start popping
  • Mix the oil well with the vegetables and let it cook in low flame under cover
  • Take out the cover when the vegetables are half done, pour in little water (about half cup), ginger and mustard paste, turmeric powder; mix well
  • Cook for about 5 min or till the vegetables are well cooked
  • Pour in the rest of the mustard oil and take out of flame
  • Shukto tastes best with warm white rice


Hot Tips – You can add squash or green papaya to this, it enhances the taste. Bodi also tastes good with shukto, so you can just fry some and garnish shukto with the bori.

Further Reading – Dudh shukto, Shukto with bori

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31 thoughts on “Shukto

  1. Inherited folklore from grand parents advises ” sukta ” or for that matter , any thing bitter food , should be avoided at night , because it stirs up the intestinal worms – and they work upwards , causing problems. This reasoning seems most plausible and has gone down to my children and down their lines , of progeny.

  2. Hi All,

    I wanna elaborate a bit, shukto is a unique bengali cuishine and it gives us that familiar bongo nostalgic feeling, however its adviced by our ancestors not to eat sukhto with bitter gourd (korola),due to two reason’s.

    Firstly it causes a lot of gastric problems, I have one of my friend called siddharth who like to eat shukto and he is now suffering from gastric problems and due to which he has a regular intake of 4-5 pudinharas.siddharth if you are seeing this comment then for god sake please stop eating these stuffs in night.

    and second because its bitter.



  3. Hi Sudeshna

    I just happened to read your blog and I must say it is really very well compiled.Shukto’r chobi dekhe aar parlam na tai ota bvaniye fellam. And yes your father is right . It is because of the korola which causes indigestion if taken at night.

    Bhalo theko.

    1. Tanusri,
      Thanks for your comment. Shukto had always been my comfort food. After many days of rich and spicy food because of our wedding I have resorted to having shukto everyday now 🙂

  4. Hi,

    This one was very good. the recipe that I had was slightly sweet and no one liked it much….Everyone loved it..Thankyou Sudeshna..this is where I come to now when looking for special dishes. I even made Mishti doi and it was a hit too…

  5. Chotobela e ekdom bhalo lagto naa,ekhon ma er hather shukto is a delicacy:)Aamra bangal,shorshe aar methi foron diye thaaki,no holud or chini.Ranna shesh hole ektu bhalo ghee dile darun hoi!

  6. Chotobela e shukto khawa jeno shasti chilo,ekhon ma er hather shukto is a delicacy:)Aamra shorshe ebong methi foron diye thaaki,aar holud deoa hoina.Chaler guro notun shunlaam,kore dekhte hobe.Aar bangal bole mishti o di naa.Ranna hoye gele ek chamoch ghee dile darun hoi.

  7. Hi Sudeshna,
    Thanks a bunch for helping us stay in touch with the BONG side of life :0) I love shukto and your recipe was great!

  8. hello,
    eta amar wish list e uthe gelo…I love shukto. Only problem holo oi Bitter gourd ei blog likhte gie apnar vocabulary khub bhalo hoye geche(kidding)
    korola=Bitter gourd, bhaba jay!!!

    ekhane paoa gele next week end e eta khachchi…bhablei jeeve jol!!!

  9. Shukto is my mom’s favourite too…for the same reason that she can make me have all the vegetables together….lol…tomar shukto ta darun lagche…though i have never prepared shukto myself…but now thinking i should 😛
    .-= Arundhuti´s last blog ..Butter Chicken =-.

    1. Shukto amio khub ekta kakhono ranna korini, ektai karon jatoi kam kore korte jao, oto gulo sabji dile emnitei anek beshi haye jai, takhan 2 din dhore khete haye. barite anek e thakle takhan e korte bhalo lage :).

  10. Awesome!! I love shukto, but the only one in the family. I have never used chaler guro. ma posto ba moida dito. eta ki ghoto korar jonne use kore, na onno kono use achey?

    chuti r diney durure gorom gorom bhat at shuko, kola pataye aro moja.

    1. Soma,
      Kala patai khawar to aladai maja, ami mamabari gelei kala patai khetam, okhane anek gulo kala gach chilo :).
      Chal bata diyechilam ektu gravy thikc hawar janne, r gandho ta bhalo lagbe bole.

  11. Ekdom amader baarir moto! Even in our family, we dont have Shukto at night. Kintu ami & Hubby, jehetu dupure baarite khaina, incase weekdays e shukto banai, we do eat at night, at times!

    Amio gobindobhog chal & shorshe bata diye kaal i korechhilam and mojar kotha jaano? Aaj dupure khaabo!
    Ar half compose koreo rekhechhi in drafts!! ;))
    Ami equal measure of atop chal bata + shorse bata (in my case, mustard powder+water) mishiye last e dhaali…
    .-= SGD´s last blog ..Pav Bhaji comes to the rescue! =-.

  12. Hi Sudeshna,
    Lovely to read ur post after a long time 🙂
    Though I’ve heard about shukto and have tasted it a couple of years back …I dont really remember how it tasted…Now that u’ve posted the recipe, I’d def. love to prepare it and impress my Bong hubby 😉
    Keep rocking!
    .-= suparna´s last blog ..Baby Brinjal Masala =-.

  13. Sudeshna,
    I am not sure why shukto is not eaten in night..although I have seen many times ,if any left my in-laws and parents loved to have it with roti…I love the Bori shukto may add in some radish/molo also …and adding atop chal powder is something very new to me..
    hugs and smiles

    1. Yeah I love the bori version of shukto too. I don’t know but we had never had shukto in that case even bitter gourd at night. Even my relatives and some families we know dont take shukto at night. The reason being unknown still.

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