Recipes of popular Bengali dishes fresh from the kitchen

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Main Ingredients:
1 bitter gourd (100 gm) sliced; 1 medium-sized potato (70 gm) cut into pieces (lengthwise); 1 sweet potato (100 gm) cut into pieces (lengthwise); 1 drumstick cut into 2 inch pieces; 1 medium-sized (100 gm) white radish cut into pieces (lengthwise); 1 brinjal (100 gm) cut into pieces (lengthwise); 1 medium-sized raw banana cut into pieces (lengthwise); 8 dried lentil dumplings/bori; ½ cup coconut milk; 1 tsp ghee.

Spices
  • 2 bay leaves/tejpata
  • ¾ tsp radhuni
  • 1 tsp cumin paste/powder
  • ½ tsp bengali garam masala powder (cinnamon,cardamom and clove)
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar to taste.
For Making Sukto Masala You Need :
  • 2 tsp bengali paanchforon (whole cumin, whole fenufreek seed, fennel seed, kalonji and radhuni)
  • 1 bay leaf/tejpata
  • 1 tsp whole coriander seed.
  1. Dry roast the paanchforon, coriander seeds and bay leaf in low flame for about 10 minutes. Take them out of the pan and let the roasted spices cool down before doing the next step.
  2. Grind the roasted masalas either using a grinder or mortar and pestle (shil nora).
  3. Keep it in an airtight container.
Steps:
  1. Fry the dried lentil dumplings till red and keep aside.
  2. Fry the bitter gourd along with a pinch of salt in medium flame until it changes colour. Set aside.
  3. Temper the same oil (add more if needed) with bay leaves and radhuni.
  4. When the aroma comes out, add radish, raw banana, potatoes, sweet potatoes, drumstick and brinjal one by one in order [fry each vegetable for a minute before adding the next one] and fry for 5 minutes on medium flame.
  5. Add salt and sugar . Fry for another 5 minutes.
  6. Add cumin powder/paste. Cook for 1 minute.
  7. Add coconut milk and mix well.
  8. Now add some warm water, stir well and put a lid on it. [water should cover all the vegetables]
  9. Cook in low flame until the vegetables are almost done [check after 7 minutes].
  10. Add fried bitter gourd and dumplings. Cover it again and cook until the vegetables are fully done [it will take around 4 minutes].
  11. Open the lid, adjust the taste of salt and sugar.
  12. Add ghee and bengali garam masala powder. 
  13. Sprinkle 1 tsp of sukto masala (details given above) and give it the final stir.
  14. Cover it for a minute and turn off the heat.
  15. Serve with plain rice.


Tips:

1. Fry the bitter gourd separately and get it back to the curry when the other vegetables are almost done. This will help to balance the taste bitterness in the curry.
2. Don’t overcook! The vegetables should retain their shapes.
3. If you want to make the gravy a little bit thicker, mix ½ tsp of all purpose flour/maida with the coconut milk.



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