Kolmi Shaker Bora Shukto- Bengali style vegetable stew with Kolmi greens dumplings
Shukto is a classic vegetable stew with bitters that is a must in any Bengali traditional meal. This recipe of shukto is a slight variation from the regualr shukto. The shukto does not have bitter gourd but has dumplings or bora made with kolmi greens.
Recipe Author: Madhushree
Soak matar dal overnight in water. In the morning, grind it with washed kalmi shaak and very little water. Just as much as required to make a paste. The paste has to be thick in consistency.
Once the paste is ready, take it out in a bowl and add salt and sugar. Have your kadai ready with oil for deep frying. Take a tsp of hot oil and add to the batter. Now whisk it rigorously so that there is air created and the batter becomes slightly fluffy.
When the oil is hot, drop heaped tsp full of batter in the hot oil and make small round shapes. Preferably do this with your fingers (dropping the batter in the oil).
Now keep the flame at medium so that the outside doesn’t burn. Flip it when you see the colour changing on the bottom and cook on the other side. You have to do this slowly and carefully. Then when you feel that it is cooked all way through, use a spatula to drain the excess oil and take it out on a kitchen towel.
With this batter, you will probably get 40 odd pieces of bora and you will need only half of it for the shukto. The other half, you can keep it refrigerated and use it later. You have even serve the bora as it is while it is hot, as a starter.
After you have finished making the dumplings, do not give out the utensil for washing in which the batter was kept. Leave it for later use in the shukto.
To make the shukto
You have to wash your vegetables and cut them into cubes of the same size (about an inch and half in length). You can also cut them into equal sized rectangular long pieces. You need to peel the skin of the potatoes, pumpkin, sweet potato and the ridge gourd partially.
While you are making the bora, sprinkle some salt and sugar over the brinjals and keep aside. When you are ready to cook the shukto, drain out the excess water that comes out of the brinjals.
In a kadai, take 2 tbsp of vegetable oil and when the oil is hot, slowly place the brinjals in the kadai and lightly fry it to a golden colour and keep aside when done.
In the same oil (if the oil has been soaked out by the brinjal, add another tbsp of oil), add the dry red chili, mustard seeds and methi. Stir it around till you get the whiff of the aroma from the spices.
Add the potatoes and sweet potatoes. Stir them on high flame and then reduce the flame to a medium low. After five minutes, add the pumpkin and then the ridge gourds. Sprinkle some salt, stir around again on high flame, then reduce the flame and cover the kadai.
Cover on low flame till the vegetables have become almost soft. You have to stir from time and again to check that nothing is sticking to the bottom. If you feel, sprinkle some water . Don’t add extra water. We want the vegetables to become soft but not mushy.
Once the vegetables have cooked, mix a cup of water with the poppy seed paste and add to the vegetables. Also add ½ tsp of sugar. Add the ginger paste. You can be generous with the ginger paste and add a heaped tsp of it.
Stir everything and add half a cup of water in the utensil which had the dumpling batter. Nicely clean the leftover batter with the water and pour this into the shukto. Add more warm water for the vegetables to completely soak in the gravy.
Now add half of the kolmi shaker bora to this gravy. Give it one boil and drizzle ghee from top.
Check the seasoning and add more salt if required. Then turn off the heat and serve the shukto with steamed white rice.
Please note that you need adequate water since the bora soaks up water. In case later it thickens, just add half a cup of hot water and stir.
Dried red chili is completely optional. Traditionally, shukto never has any chilli. However, Dida liked using dried red chilli, so I use it too.