Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Shosha'r Shukto -- Bengali Shukto with Cucumbers

This post was written way back sometime in July. That is when this dish was cooked and the recipe duly noted. Now when I look back on those long stretch of summer day, I want to throw a tantrum to get them back. But that is not happening. Never does.

So, while I try to brave my soul for fall, you guys take a trip back to summer...

Summer is always busy around home. The schools are over, the days are long and once I am back home, it is impossible to cook when there is so much to do outside. With my Mother here, it has been a slew of lazy days for me, as she is the one cooking up what the granddaughters fancy.

Meanwhile I am staying up late following the conventions and scouring articles about the preposterous things that one of the presidential candidates keeps on uttering. It beats stuff that even Zee TV saau ma's would mutter. If only he would have on 3 pound jhumkas and dazzling bindis, I would know for sure that it was a Ekta kapoor serial and not reality tv.

So anyway in between all this, my summer plants yielded fruits...I mean vegetables. This year we planted tomatoes, peppers , cucumber. Cucumbers mainly because LittleSis picked up a packet of cucumber seeds and wanted a cucumber plant. My dad did the brunt of the work on them but we were not able to build a trellis aka "maacha" for the cukes.. That didn't dither them though and the cuke yield was in plenty. By the time I realized there were so many of them hidden in the vines, they had already ripened and were not the best in a salad.

Ma made a shoshar shukto (cucumber shukto) with them as they were too ripe to eat raw. Why would anyone buy cucumber and make a shukto I wondered ? I mean cucumbers are good enough raw so why cook them ? Also the original Bengali Shukto has done enough to garner a following so why a contender ?

"Well, we had very limited choice of summer vegetables in our times and shukto made with the slightly ripened cucumbers was a welcome change from the daily grind of lau and potol," she said.

Valid point. The shoshar shukto tasted good too. It was creamy and slightly sweet with a faint bitterness of the uchhe. The crunchy boris added the necessary bite to a otherwise creamy dish. Maybe I won't make it often, but if you ever have a load of cucumbers to finish, this is a great way to go.

Shosha'r Shukto ~ Shukto with Cucumbers

Cucumber or Shosha -- 5-6 small ones
Uchhe or Bitter Gourd -- 1 small

Bori(Bengali Lentil Vadis) ~ 12-15

Fennel seeds ~ 2 tsp
Ginger ~ 1"

Posto ~ 2 tbsp

Radhuni (a typical Bengali spice) ~ loosely packed 1/2 tsp

Prep Work

Grate the cucumber.

Chop the bitter gourd in small pieces

Make a coarse paste of ginger and fennel.

Make a smooth paste of Posto or Poppy Seeds. If you have those coffee grinders which you use to dry grind posto, then dry grind 2 tbsp of Posto and then mix with small amount of wtare to make a thick posto paste.

In a small bowl take 1/4th C of milk and to it add 1 tbsp of Maida and mix

Whoa now you are ready to actually cook!!

Heat Oil in a kadhai. Ideally it is ghee but I use vegetable oil for this dish

Fry the boris until they are brown and crisp. Remove and keep aside

Fry the small cubed bitter gourd to golden brown. Remove and keep aside

Temper the oil with Radhuni. After the Radhuni sizzles, the idea is to lower the flame and give oil some time to be infused with the flavor. Say a minute. If you don't have Radhuni, just use paanchphoron.

Put the heat back to medium high and add the ginger-fennel paste

Now goes in the grated cucumber. Be careful not to dump the liquid in the bowl at this time. Saute for 5-6 minutes. You will see the cucumber releasing wate.r Let that water dry up and cucumber change its color

Add the posto(poppy seeds paste) and stir it around for 6-8 more minutes

Now add the fried bittergourd, milk, salt to taste, 1 tsp sugar and let it cook.

The cuccumber will absorb the milk and will get a creamy texture. If you see it sticking to the pan, stir it around. Taste and check for the right flavors.

If you have not cooked in ghee then add a tsp now.

Garnish with fried boris

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  1. That was a food reminder.:-) Bangals are used to this soshar Shukto. Ma makes its with macher matha diye soshar Shukto. Something from heaven must say.

  2. That was a food reminder.:-) Bangals are used to this soshar Shukto. Ma makes its with macher matha diye soshar Shukto. Something from heaven must say.

  3. Very nice recipe. I remember my grand ma cooked this sosha r sukto. This reminds me of holidays in my granny's home.
    Do visit my recent blog post.

  4. Bong mom i finished reading your book and just looooovvved it.I remembered my childhood and missed mom a lot.I am from Orissa and could relate to all the anecdotes and descriptions in the book.you are awesome thank you for the lovely read!


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