With Mentions In Ayurveda, Shukto Has A Deeper History; Make This Popular Bengali Dish With A Simple Recipe Inside

In a world where there is kosha mangsho and basonti pulao, be someone’s shukto!

by Ankita Mazumdar
With Mentions In Ayurveda, Shukto Has A Deeper History; Make This Popular Bengali Dish With A Simple Recipe Inside

Bengali cuisine is one of the finest and delectable cuisines in the world. The lovely aromas and the robust flavours tantalise your taste buds and will make you fall in love with Bengali cuisine for the right reasons. Bengalis have lots of dishes with the base of a bitter (teto) taste. Most of them are simple yet have complex textures. There is this one peculiar dish called shukto that every Bengali has a love-hate relationship with. Today, we delve into the history of shukto along with a simple recipe to make it at home.

History Of Shukto

Shukto is a Bengali version of mixed vegetables slowly cooked in a bitter stew. It consists mostly of the local vegetables reflecting the essence of West Bengal. Some of the important veggies are shojna danta (drumsticks), korola (bitter gourd), kaccha pepe (papaya), aloo, beans, milk, ghee and lots more. Coming to its history, there have been arguments about shukto being influenced by the Portuguese back when they colonised the state around the 16th century.

However, recent studies and researchers have found that this Bengali dish was mentioned in Ayurveda way before the colonisers invaded the land. The special mention comes from the fact that it is bitter in taste as it includes bitter gourd. Consuming bitter food is highly recommended in dietary programs of Ayurvedic medications.

Ayurveda says that bitter gourd is exceptionally good for balancing the Kapha. Kapha is a dosha with water and earth elements. It helps control diabetes, cleanses blood tissues, improves digestion, and stimulates the liver. Simultaneously, it supplies vitamins like A, B1, B2, and C along with minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, iron, copper, and potassium! Shukto is an entire powerhouse for our body.

Also Read: Bengalis Make A Mean Plastic Chutney. But, No There’s No Plastic In It; Recipe Inside

Follow This Recipe To Make This Delectable Bengali Dish


  • Potato – 2 cups
  • Raw banana – 1 cup 
  • Raw papaya- 1 cup 
  • Bitter gourd – 1 cup
  • Drumstick – 1 cup 
  • Carrot – ½ cup
  • Eggplant – ½ cup
  • Green beans – 1 cup 
  • Radish – 1 cup 
  • Milk – 1 cup 
  • Bori – ½ cup
  • Mustard seeds – ½ tsp 
  • Bay Leaves – 2
  • Dry red chillies – 2
  • Caraway seeds – 1 tsp
  • Panch phoron – 1 tsp
  • Powdered turmeric – 1 tsp
  • Salt – as per taste
  • Water
  • Oil


  1. Wash and cut all the vegetables in 1-inch size.
  2. In a pan, heat some oil and fry bori till golden brown. Keep it aside.
  3. In the same pan, saute bitter gourd and potatoes separately for a couple of minutes and keep aside.
  4. Then add chillies, bay leaves, seeds and panch phoran to the pan and saute well before adding the rest of the veggies except brinjals.  Then add the sauteed stuff.
  5. Now, add brinjals, salt and turmeric and mix well.
  6. It is time to add milk to the shukto and a little bit of water and let it simmer for 10 to 12 minutes.
  7. Take shukto off the pan, garnish with ghee and serve hot with steamed rice and enjoy!

Also Read: Poila Boishakh: The Significance Of The Bengali Almanac, Panjika, In Every Bengali Household

Are you going to eat shutko now?

Cover Image Courtesy: Flickr
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