Shukto ( The Run up to the Bengali new Year and apprehensions galore )
No. Never. There is no way I am going to wear a saree just to meet HIM.
But you do like wearing a saree. You wear it sometimes to office or even for a puja.
Yes. But not in this case. I feel that most guys have certain prejudices when it comes to a saree clad female . It is not something I would wear when I am meeting a guy for the first time. Btw where am I supposed to meet HIM ?
Preferably at Minu Aunty's place.
What ? How can you Mom? What is the point of meeting him there instead of inviting the guy to our own house? You know about my ambiguous feelings for your adorable cousin. As for the rest of her clan, the less I say, the better it is.
Ok. Do whatever you want. I will ask them to shift the venue to your favorite restaurant.
That's a lot better. Mom you are a sweetheart. And finally, who all are going to be there with him ?
His Mom and a few cousins .
Cousins ? Is this supposed to be a swayamvar where I can pick a guy of my choice? Why can't I just meet the guy and his Mom ? Haven't you heard that too many cooks spoil the broth. And in this case I might end up sampling this broth for the rest of my life. I just don't want too many surprise elements for this one. Anyways his Mom is going to the deciding factor.
Ok. Then it will be just HIM and his Mom. But then go easy on her else you will end up with a bitter experience.
Huh. Aren't they all the same. Anyways I got it !!
Situation B (Your's truly is cooking Shukto for the first time)
No. Never. There is no way I am going to cook Shukto with Karela.
But you do like Karela. You have it sometimes as a fry or a bharta.
Yes. But not in this case. I find it to be too overpowering. I don't want it to be the sole reason I end up hating Shukto for life. What about the other veggies in it ?
Those are your regular Dalma vegetables. Aubergine, green banana, raw papaya, pumpkin, string beans, drumsticks and sweet potato.
What ? Do I really need to buy so many veggies ? You know how i feel about aubergine and sweet potato. What will I do with all the leftover veggies ?
Ok. Use whatever you find in the fridge. Except for those imported veggie that you love so much.
That's so much more acceptable. And what about the seasoning ?
Try ginger, panch phoran and radhuni .
That's too much. Let's just leave out the panch phoran. I keep adding that to every other dish. Just want to get acquainted with Radhuni. Anyways it's going to be the deciding factor in this case.
Ok. But then go easy on it. It tends to leave a bitter aftertaste in mouth.
Huh. Don't I know Mom.
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Apprehensions. Apprehensions. Apprehensions. Phew !! First acquaintances can be really awkward . Don't you agree ? And it turned out to be no different when I cooked and savored Shukto for the first time. Despite all the apprehensions I had in mind, it turned out to be real light and delicious, the classic 'love at first bite' kind of encounter . Do try out this perfect side dish for a summer meal. Or cook some for the 'Poila Baisakh' festival. Highly recommended.
Read on for the recipe -
Preparation Time - 30 mins
- 1 cup green banana pieces
- 1 cup raw papaya pieces
- 1 cup potato pieces
- 1 cup pumpkin pieces
- 1/2 cup string beans
- 2 tsp oil
- salt to taste
For the tempering -
- 1/2 tsp Radhuni
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 dry red chilis
- 1 1/2 inch long ginger (crushed)
- 1 tsp oil (mustard preferably)
- 1 tsp sugar
The paste -
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 2 tsp poppy seeds