Sometimes I wish there was nothing called SEO. Actually, each time I start to write, I have to do a research on what should be my key word and then write accordingly. I am sure, every other recipe blogger or any blogger/ writer, goes through the same feeling. There are so many recipes that I would like to share and document. However, I realise that they are not SEO friendly. No one is going to search for such recipes. It is only the common recipes that get searched. This is one such post with a recipe of Kolmi shaker bora shukto. I mean, who searches for that?
The best I would get are, ‘recipes using kolmi shak’, or ‘english for kolmi shak’ or ‘kolmi shak recipe’. We already have the recipe of shukto in the blog. The keyword for that was ‘shukto’. Hence, I cannot use the same keyword here. Now do you get my dilemma? Should I continue writing about this recipe or should I go back to one of those easliy searched recipes? I think I am going to continue with the former. Kolmi shaker bora shukto is one of my favourites and I could call this particular one, my family recipe.
This post is a tribute to my grandmother
My grandmother (thakuma and I called her Dida) was one strong lady. She came from an affluent family and then got married into a very large family with a humble background. However, she had her share of struggles along with my grandfather in running her family and much later, in her 40s, she decided to re-invent herself and became an entrepreneur.
Dida learnt the skill of batik printing and started a small unit in Canning. Eventually, over the years, her unit was the largest in South 24 Parganas and she employed more than 150 women. She used to work with several Government bodies and supplied sarees to them. Along with her brilliant business sense, she was a cook par excellence. People used to say that she had magic in her hands and she would take the most basic ingredients and turn them into something remarkable.
Kolmi Shaker Bora shukto is not commonly heard of
Dida detested eating bitters. Yes, in season, we would have neem begun, neem patar bhaja, bitter gourd fries and so on. But she would never force feed it to us. It was our choice and my mother told me that since Dida never liked eating bitters, she would never force anyone to have it. I wasn’t a fan of bitters wither. I can just about tolerate it now and only in certain recipes. Dida used to make shukto with kolmi shaker bora. Kolmi shak or kolmi greens is a semi aquatic plant, very common in Bengal. In the vegetables, she would never add korola or bitter gourd, which is a mandatory for a shukto. Kolmi shak has a slight bitter after taste, which was good enough for this shukto.
Kolmi shak is called water ipomoea in english
Dida had her roots in Rajshahi, a district in Bangaldesh and my grandfather was from Pabna district in Bangladesh. That makes us ‘bangal’. Having said that, my grandfather grew up in Mathabhanga, a small town in North Bengal. So, we have a lot of the North Bengal influence in our cooking, accent, etc. Our shukto is unlike a ghoti shukto. Everytime I would go to a biye bari, I would question my mother about the difference in taste of the shukto from what we eat at home.
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Bangal shukto is different from the ghoti shukto
Unlike the ghoti shukto, we do not use radhuni in our shukto. We also do not use panchphoron. The basic tempering is black mustard seeds and the flavour of the shukto comes from the robust use of posto bata (poppy seed paste) and fresh ginger paste topped with oodles of ghee. When using kolmi shaker bora, I have also seen Dida use the leftover batter with a little bit of water and pouring it into the sauce. The dumpling batter is made with matar dal (Bengal grams) and kolmi greens. As a result, that acts as the thickener for the shukto. Kolmi shaker bora shukto is very delicately flavoured and manages to cling on to your mind, even at the end of a full blown non vegetarian meal.
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I witnessed this at Chilekotha, where this was part of the vegetarian and non vegetarian menu in the Bengali food festival by Debjani and me. Sharmishtha Ghoshal from Indulge Express also mentioned about this shukto in her article on this food festival. So, each time someone would tell me how unique this shukto was and how they loved it to bits, I would fondly remember Dida.
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In case you are interested in the recipe of regular traditional shukto, here it is.
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