shukto recipe – bengali mixed vegetable curry with bitter gourd

Shukto recipe- shukto is a popular veg dish of our bengali culinary. Many vegetables are used for making shukto or sukto recipe but bitter gourd is most important among all ingredients. Basically shukto is a little bitter and sweet taste bengali mixed vegetable curry served with white rice and ghee at the beginning of a traditional bengali lunch. Bengali shukto or sukto is incomplete without radhuni, though milk and ghee are also used to bring the creaminess in it. Sukto is served in Durga Puja, Bengali’s marriage feast, baby shower or rice ceremony but bengali biye barir shukto is hugely popular among all of these.

In this shukto recipe, apart from bitter gourd, drum sticks, raw bananas, raw papayas, sweet potatoes, beans, brinjals, potatoes are used, even a few more vegetables can be added in this bengali dish, i.e, raddish, ridge gourd, etc. Lentil dumplings or dal er bori is one more important ingredient for making this traditional shukto or sukto recipe. These fried dal er bori enhances the taste twice.

According to the elders, traditional Bengali lunch should start with any bitter taste dish which contains bitter taste veggies such as shukto. Shukto is really healthy and full of vitamins as eight to nine varieties of vegetables are used in this recipe. And it’s soothing too, especially to beat the intense heat of summer. Radhuni or wild celery seed is a must used in this recipe as it keeps our stomach healthy during hot summer days. 

bengali mixed vegetable curry shukto recipe is served

Though by following my mom’s recipe, here I’ve used mustard and poppy seeds(paste) too. The addition of milk brings its creaminess, ghee and special bhaja masala create a wonderful aroma in this shukto recipe. Many of us use wild celery seeds or radhuni(in bengali) paste or powder form at the beginning of cooking this recipe, but I prefer to use it later, which tastes awesome. Moreover, I’ve used some simple tricks to make it more flavourful and delicious like “bengali biye barir shukto”. 

Though shukto is a popular bengali dish for years but doesn’t have any clear idea about its origin. Bengalis from West Bengal to Assam to Bangladesh have different traditional niramish recipes and shukto is one of them and common preparation to our bengali kitchen. So both Bangla(east and west) have this common dish, only the difference is, we call it shukto or sukto and it’s popular as shuktoni among the Bangladeshi people. 

Stay with me till the end to know each and every secret about this traditional niramish dish. Try this recipe at home and don’t forget to let me know your valuable feedback by writing it down in the comment section below.

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Shukto recipe – bengali mixed vegetable curry with bitter gourd

Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 45 mins

Served in: 1 hr

Served for: 8-10 people

Course: Lunch

Cuisine: Bengali

Author: Moumita Paul

Ingredients of shukto

1 cup(Measuring cup) = 250 ml

  • 1/2 cup bitter gourd(uchche)
  • 1 raw banana(kancha kola)
  • 1 sweet potato(misti aloo)
  • 1/2 of papaya(pepe)
  • 2 drum sticks(sojne danta)
  • 1 potato(aloo)
  • 1/2 of brinjal(begun)
  • 8-9 flat beans(seem)
  • 20-22 dal er bori(lentil dumplings)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 1/2 tbsp ghee
  • 5 1/2 tbsp mustard oil
  • salt(as per taste)

Ingredients for shukto masala

  • 1 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds
  • 1/2 inch ginger
  • 1 green chili
  • 2 1/2 tbsp grated coconut
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 3/4 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp radhuni or wild celery seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp paanch phoron or bengali five spice

For tempering of spices

  • 1/2 tsp paanch phoron
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 dry red chilli

How to make shukto recipe


  • First, take all the vegetables, wash properly, then peel out sweet potato, raw banana, raw papaya, and potato, then cut all the veggies along with brinjal lengthwise ( approx 7-8 cm long) as shown in the pic below. Then cut the bitter gourd around 4-5 cm long.
  • While cutting both ends of flat beans, remove the thread-like fiber out of it and I didn’t cut it halves just kept it whole. Cut the drum sticks 5-6 cm long and strip off its rough outer skin. 
  • Then take a pressure cooker with 1 1/2 cup of water, bring it to boil. 
  • When the water will start to boil, add sweet potato, raw papaya, and drum sticks to it as shown in the pic. Then close the lid and wait for one whistle on a high flame.
raw papaya sweet potato and drum sticks with the hot water in the pressure cooker
  • when it gets a whistle, turn off the flame and take the cooker away from the stove. Remove the clip of its lid and let the pressure cooker releases its pressure automatically. Once the lid opens, take a strainer and strain the water from the vegetables. Keep the veggies separately to avoid overcooking.
boiled vegetables in the strainer
  • Now take a pan, place it on medium heat, let it gets hot, add mustard oil to it.
  • Once the oil gets hot, add 20-22 dal er bori to the pan and fry it to get a nice golden brown colour of it. Remove the bori from the pan and keep it aside.
frying dal er bori in mustard oil, which is an important ingredient to make this bengali shukto recipe
  • Then add bitter gourd to the pan and fry till it gets a lite golden brown texture. Remove it from the pan and keep it for using later. Add flat beans to the pan and saute it from both sides for 2 mins.
frying bitter gourd and flat beans in the pan
  • Now add the potato and raw banana one by one and fry it for 10 mins on low flame by covering the pan with a tight lid. It will help the veggies to get cooked while frying. Then remove the veggies from the pan.
veggies get cooked while frying in the pan for covering the pan with the lid
  • Then add brinjal to the pan, fry till it gets nice golden brown colour. Take out the brinjal from the pan and keep it aside.
golden fried brinjal in the pan
  • Now take a bowl and add mustard and poppy seeds to it, add water to soak it for 10 mins. 
mustard and poppy seeds are soaking in the water
  • After 10 mins, strain the well-soaked seeds and put it in a blender jar with ginger and green chill as shown in the pic.
soaked mustard and poppy seeds with ginger and green chilli
  • Then add grated coconut and little water(about 1 tbsp) to make a smooth paste of it.
after adding grated coconut and little water in the blender jar to make a smooth paste of it
  • Take the same pan, was used for frying the vegetables, add paanch phoron, dry red chilli and bay leaves to it for tempering in the oil.
panch phoron, dry red chilli and bay leaves in the oil for tempering
  • When the aroma starts coming from the paanch phoron, add the smooth paste to it. And sauté it a little.
added smooth masala paste to the pan
  • Then add cumin powder and turmeric powder to the pan and mix it well together and sauté it for few more minutes.
added cumin and turmeric powder to the pan to saute it with the masala
  • Next, add salt and sugar to the pan and give a good stir.
adding sugar and salt to the shukto masala
  • When the oil will start separating from the masalas then add 1 cup of water to it and bring it to boil.
added a cup of water to the masala after separating the oil from the masala
  • Once the water starts to boil, add fried potato, raw banana, flat beans, and dal er bori to it, stir it well. cover the pan and let it boil on a medium flame for 5 mins.
added all fried vegetables to the pan to cook it with the shukto masala
  • After 5 mins, add pressure cooked veggies like raw papaya, sweet potatoes, and drum sticks to it. Mix it well.
added all the boiled veggies to the pan for making this bengali biye barir shukto
  • Then add vegetable stock comes from the pressure cooking. As shown in the pic.
adding vegetable stock to the pan
  • Lastly, add fried brinjal and bitter gourd to the pan and mix it well. 
added brinjal and bitter gourd the main ingredient of shukto to the pan for making bengali shukto recipe
  • Bring it to boil, then add 1 cup of milk or dudh to the pan and mix it nicely. let it cook for some time as the gravy nicely get into the veggies.
adding milk or dudh in this bengali shukto recipe
  • Now its time to dry roast 1 1/2 tsp radhuni and 1 1/2 tsp paanch phoron in a pan and grind it well to get its powder form. This is my secret masala in this recipe.
ground dry roasted panch phoron and radhuni is ready which is the special shukto masala ingredients
  • When the gravy will reach to your required consistency, sprinkle this above dry roasted grounded masala on the top of the gravy. As shown in the pic.
sprinkle the grounded masala from the top of this traditional bengali niramish shukto recipe
  • And lastly, add 2 1/2 tbsp of ghee or clarified butter to it and give a quick mix. Cook it for just a few seconds and turn off the heat. Cover the pan with a lid to spread the aroma of ghee and roasted powdered masala all over the gravy and veggies as well.
adding ghee to the bengali biye barir style niramish shukto recipe
  • Finally, your “Bengali biye barir shukto” is ready, serve it with white rice and enjoy your meal with it.


  • You may even add the vegetables as per your choice, I.e, radish, ridge gourd, long yard beans, etc.
  • If you want more bitterness in this recipe, just sauté the bitter gourds in oil for few seconds don’t fry it much.
  • Soaking of the mustard and poppy seeds, in the beginning, will save time.
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