A summer delight, light on the tummy Bengali style meal, this Shoshar Shukto takes about 15 minutes to make. It is best served with steamed white rice, but I can see it working really well even with roti or paratha. There are various different ways you can make shoshar shukto. This is probably the simplest way with very minimal list of ingredients.
What is Shoshar Shukto?
Shukto is a classic Bengali side dish that is served at the beginning of the meal. And there are variety of shukto you can make based on what is in the season.
It's typically a medley of vegetables, and sometimes just one or two vegetables are used.
No onion or garlic is added in shukto, which makes it one of the pure vegetarian Bengali dishes. In my cookbook - Taste of Eastern India, I have shared the classic mixed vegetable shukto recipe.
I will also share a few more Shukto recipes in the future, and I am starting with the simplest of all, Shoshar Shukto.
Ingredients used in Shoshar Shukto
The ingredients used are so simple:
- Fresh Cucumber - I prefer using tender cucumbers to make this dish. If you use the big size, make sure to discard the seeds of the cucumber.
- Black mustard Seeds
- Fennel Seeds
- Dry red chili
- Green chili
- Ginger - Use fresh ginger as it adds a refreshing flavor of the dish.
- Cilantro Leaves - Fresh cilantro leaves also adds a refreshing flavor and a vibrant color of the dish.
I learned this dish from my Mom and have always been preparing it this way, keeping it extremely minimal spiced. You can however add few more spices to spike it up.
This year we planted few cucumber plants and while in the beginning we didn't had much hope because we are still quite new to gardening, the plant actually gave us a lot of cucumbers.
We have been using it almost every day, either in salad, yogurt or making this simple Shoshar Shukto.
Steps to prepare
1 - Peel the cucumbers if the skin feels prickly, then slice and finely chop the cucumber.
2 - Pour mustard oil and then add mustard seeds, fennel seeds and dry red chili, let it sizzle for a while.
3 - Then add the cucumber, season with salt, turmeric and little sugar. Toss it around to mix everything.
4 - Cover the pan and let the cucumber softened for a while!
5- In the meantime, finely chop the cilantro leaves.
6 - Grate fresh ginger.
7 - Add the finely chopped cilantro leaves and grated ginger. Mix it around and cook for a while.
8 - Check for salt and add more if needed. Enjoy it warm with rice or roti.
Shukto is a classic Benagli dish and there are several different varieties available. Mixed vegetable shukto is the most popular one. This shoshar shukto is the simplest one that my Mom often makes during summer.
Some variety of cucumber can taste a little bitter and there is this thick that I have seen my Grandma doing, followed by my Ma, and now I do the same.
You would cut off one end and rub it against the remainder of the cucumber for a few seconds. You will notice that white, sticky sap forms. Discard the cut-off, and wash the cucumber.
I never tried, but it will definitely taste very good with zucchini and any summer squash.
You can prepare this curry with any variety of cucumber. But an over ripe one with too many seeds will release a lot of water. Try using the tender variety.
Try these Bengali dishes
- 1 big cucumber or 2 small ones
- 1 teaspoon mustard oil or vegetable oil
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
- ½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 1 dry red chili
- fresh ginger - 1 inch
- ⅓ cup finely chopped cilantro leaves
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- salt to taste
- Peel and finely chop the cucumber, grate the ginger and keep aside.
- In a pan, pour the oil and once the oil heats up, scatter the black mustard seeds and dry red chili. Let it sizzle for few seconds
- Scatter the chopped cucumber, sprinkle with salt and sugar. Add the turmeric and let it simmer in medium heat covered for 5 minutes.
- The cucumber should have softened by now.
- Add the ginger, and taste for salt. Add more if needed.
- Finally, add the chopped cilantro leaves and give it a toss
- Enjoy shoshar shukto warm with steamed rice.