Growing up in a campus has its own advantage, we get exposed to various cultures and cuisines without actually venturing into those territories. The palate develops its own preferences. One of my favourite is a dish made by my Malayali friend’s mother she called it “Eshtew” eventually we figured it was stew, well that is for another day. Another dish was what I learnt from my friend Srila’s mother it is the Bengali “sukto” but somewhere along the way both the taste and recipe faded from my memory bank.
Recently with my friend Archana ~ The Mad Kitchen Scientist referred to the Sukto. it kind of teased my memories. I checked my old recipe books, NADA, nothing there, surfed the net, recipe’s had red chillies in it, I remember Srila’s mother commenting that chilli’s never go into Sukto, then there was a recipe with flour.
On an inspiration, I buzzed my “Devarani” and guess what she handed me the recipe. It was quite close to what Srila’s mom made. Here was some insights from my Devarani Sampathi, that the idea of Sukto was blend of tastes. Bitter played an important role. Though bitter gourd is the usual component there were people who used bitter greens. Make it ghee and not oil. If you have to put a spicy flavour then instead of chilli use ginger.
Now I can put- ginger into anything. My apple-cinnamon Jam is also abundant with ginger. So here goes my tweaked lockdown version of Sukto
- 1 ½ cups of mixed vegetables.
- Bitter gourd – is a must.
- Raw banana
- Whole spices 1 tsp each
- Ghee 1tbsp.
- Bay leaves
- Salt to taste
- ½ cup milk.
- Chop the bitter gourd fine.
- Powder the whole spices.
- Dice rest of the vegetables to 1’ pieces.
- In wok heat the ghee fry the bitter gourd and keep aside.
- To the ghee in the pan add, cumin seeds, and bay leaves.
- Add the diced vegetables salt to taste sauté for a minute and close to cook, the water from the vegetables condenses back into the wok retaining the favour of the dishes.
- when the vegetables are nearly done, add the dry spices and keep it closed for a minute.
- Add milk cook for a minute and keep closed for about 2-3 minutes before serving.