Chef Naresh's Shukto For Lunch: A Bengali Mix Vegetable Recipe
Image Credit: Shukto/GT Road

If you’ve got a wide array of vegetables cooped up in your kitchen and can’t think of ways to utilise them, then this can be your go-to Bengali dish. Shukto is a mishmash of different vegetables and spices, cooked together in milk. This semi-dry dish pairs well with rice and is typically served as a starter course.

Often treated as a side dish during lunch, shukto is filled with vegetables like drumsticks, French beans, raw bananas, bitter gourds, sweet potatoes, etc. These vegetables are stir-fried and paired with bhaat, rice, and macchh, i.e., curry and fish. The bitter side dish is one of the most popular dishes of Bengali cuisine, often made during festivals and special occasions too. To treat yourself to this yummy delight, here’s a recipe by Chef Naresh Kotwal, Executive Chef at the GT Road, New Delhi.


    1 bitter gourd

    1 potato  

    1 aubergine or eggplant

    ½ green papaya  

    1 raw banana, green

    4 French beans

    ½ tsp panch phoron masala

    1 tbsp. ginger paste

    ½ cup milk       

    1 bay leaf

    Salt to taste

    ½ tbsp. sugar

    1 tsp cumin powder

    2 tsp ghee or clarified butter  

    3 tbsp. mustard oil to cook

Source: Shukto/GT Road


    Heat some oil in a pan and fry the bitter gourd that has been sliced earlier.

    Dice the vegetables into large pieces.

    Once the bitter gourd slices are fried to a crisp, keep them aside.

    Heat some oil in a pressure cooker. Temper it with some panch phoron and a bay leaf.

    Now, put in the veggies that have been cut. Give them a gentle stir for the next 5–7 minutes.

    Add the fried bitter gourd and mix everything together.

    Pour in a cup of water and place the lid on top. Let it whistle 4–5 times, or till the veggies are soft and mushy.

    Open the lid and put it on medium heat.

    Mix the milk, ginger paste, and sugar together.

    Pour this mixture over the cooked vegetables.

    Stir it vigorously and mash a few pieces of veggie with the back of your spoon.

    The consistency should be like a light gravy that just covers the vegetables but isn't runny at all.

    Serve it hot with some roasted cumin powder and ghee (or clarified butter) on top.