It’s the custom in the Bengal region of north-east India to start a meal with a bitter dish. Shukto achieves this through the use of karela, a bitter gourd readily available from most Asian grocers. If bitter isn’t your thing you can simply omit this vegetable and use any of your favourite ones.
Two other flavours are common in Bengali dishes, mustard in the form of seed, the oil or kasundi and panch phoran or five spice. This dish combines all these flavours for a traditionally sweet dish with a mild bitterness – or leave out the bitter and keep it sweet. Continue reading “Shukto – Bengali Mixed Vegetable Curry”
Traditionally served with greens, kasundi ( कसूंदी ) is a perfect accompaniment to dry vegetable snacks such as pakora and samosa. Added to pasta it’s a marriage made in heaven.
Though available commercially, kasundi is easy to make at home. No vinegar or other acids, no additives, no cooking even. Just natural fermentation of raw materials for a condiment bursting with pro-biotic goodness and umami deliciousness. Continue reading “Aam Kasundi – Bengali Mustard & Green Mango Relish”
Five-spice is used in charchari and other dishes other from Bengal in north-west India. The spice-blend (masala) also makes a great aromatic coating for roasting vegetables.
The original uses lovage, or wild celery (radhuni). You can buy these from larger Asian supermarkets. Otherwise black mustard seeds are a common replacement. Panch phoran is normally used whole.
Mix equal quantities of Continue reading “Indian 5-Spice: Panch Phoran”