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30th September, 2016


Shubho Mahalaya to all my fellow Bengalis around the world celebrating Mahalaya, the advent of the Mother Goddess Ma Durga to earth, marking the beginning of the ten day Durga Puja festivities! The perfect occasion for me to go vegetarian  and invoke Ma Durga's blessings with a recipe song for Shukto - the iconic Bengali stew I can never have enough of. Made with many different vegetables, Shukto with rice is a meal that I can have at any time of the day or night! It's complex bitter sweet salty taste makes it one of the most exotic and rare stews in the whole wide world. 

I'm thrilled to have discovered a brand new mustard oil from Kolkata which I'm using for this recipe. It's NuPro Virgin Kachchi Ghani Mustard Oil from Mahindra Agri, and one whiff of it is enough to transport me back to my childhood summer holidays spent with my grandparents in Kolkata, where not only did we eat the yummiest of Bengali home cooked food cooked in the purest of mustard oils, but were also liberally massaged with the same mustard oil before our showers!!! 


Song written, composed, produced, performed by Sawan Dutta

All voices by Sawan Dutta

Video produced by CB Arun Kumar and Sawan Dutta


Is there anything as nice as Shukto with rice,

on a beautiful day? 

This salty bitter sweet vegetarian treat

will blow you away

Shukto with rice, Shukto with rice

I will make for you

Noone can ever forget the flavour

Of this unique stew

You need bitter gourd, broad beans, brinjal, raddish

Sweet potato, plantain (green), drumstick for this dish

Mustad and poppy seeds, grind to a paste ( soak 2 hrs to overnight )

With salt and chilly ( green) to get the right taste

Of Shukto with rice, shukto with rice, 

For every meal

It is good for the heart, and the best part, 

No need for Gelusil! 

Shukto with rice, shukto with rice

If you eat this, 

Your system is clean, no need for Digene

Or aquaptychotis

Heat mustard oil in a pan that is wide

Fry bitter gourd first, drain and keep aside

Add bay leaf and panchphoron and fresh ginger paste

Add the veggies, stir it up with salt to your taste

Mustard and poppy paste add after this

With water and a dash of milk, sugar do not miss, 

Boil and simmer till veggies are done

Shukto is ready, now I will have fun! 

Shukto with rice, shukto with rice

Is better than fish

This vegetarian treat I always overeat

Is my favourite dish! 

Of course there are many different ways to make Shukto and every individual usually customizes it his or her own way. My mom adds coconut milk instead of milk and sometimes skips the mustard-poppy paste altogether. Sometimes she also adds carrots to this. And most people who have access to Bodi/ vadi/ fried lentil dumplings add it to this, and those who have access to Radhuni ( caraway seeds ) use that instead of Panchphoron. Other vegetables like Potol / parwal, lau/ lauki/ gourd are also used. Each variation tastes unique and delicious in its own way. 

If you have a favourite recipe for cooking Shukto, specially one that has been passed on to you by your parents or grandparents, I'd love to know, so please do share it with me, and if logistics work out, maybe I can feature you and the recipe on one of my future blog posts! 



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