This subtly bitter and mildly sweet shukto would typically feature in the bitters course at the start of a Bengali meal. One of the first dishes consumed during a meal, the shukto is a warm and fragrant stew meant to whet your appetite and offer nourishing vegetables to your diet. The version of this dish at Sienna Cafe is distinct and easily recognisable, seasoned with its staple radhuni seeds and bonolokkhi ghee. Made with fresh bitter gourd and drumstick, the biye bari shukto exemplifies Sienna Cafe’s commitment to local and seasonal produce.
|Yellow mustard paste
|Poppy seed paste
|Kanchkola (unripe banana)
|Panch phoron powder
What You Will Need
Small kadai, spatula, mixer-grinder, bowls for mise-en-place, spoons for tasting, chopping board, and knife.
Cut the sweet potato into wedges. Make large dices of brinjal and kanchkola. Peel the outer fibrous layer of the drumsticks and cut into 5 centimetre long sticks.
In a kadai, heat neutral oil and lightly fry the cut vegetables separately. Set the fried vegetables aside.
In the same oil, add panch phoron and wait for it to crackle. Make sure it does not burn.
Mix some water in the ginger paste, add it to the kadai, and cook it out on a low flame.
Then, add the mustard paste and poppy seed paste to the kadai at the same time. Let the mix in the kadai cook on a low flame, while adding small amounts of water in regular intervals. This will ensure that the paste does not burn.
Once the oil starts separating, add the salt, sugar, and milk, and let it simmer on a low flame.
Then, add all of the cut vegetables into the kadai, except the brinjal. Let the mix in the kadai simmer for approximately 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked.
Once the vegetables in the kadai are completely cooked, add the brinjal, and let the contents of the kadai simmer for no longer than two minutes.
Add water to adjust the consistency of the shukto and finish with the coconut cream, panch phoron powder, radhuni powder, and ghee.
Taste to check whether the shukto is seasoned to your liking, and serve. This dish is traditionally served with rice. At Sienna, the shukto is often strained and served as a cold shot.
First launched as a pottery store in Kolkata, Sienna has now evolved into a much loved cafe serving wholesome and flavourful food. The cafe serves a range of dishes that highlight the diversity of food in West Bengal and follows a ‘bazaar to table’ concept, showcasing the best of local and seasonal produce. Supporting local artisans, food producers, and food vendors has been a fundamental part of Sienna since their inception, and collaboration is at the heart of this principle.
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