Pepe’r Shukto

A delicious, creamy, mildly bitter Bengali appetiser made with green papaya, perfect for spring and summer.

  • Cooking time
    40 minutes
  • Calories
Recommended by
members who rated this recipe on Youtube

The grand Bengali panchmishali shukto with lots of vegetables, cooked individually to the perfect doneness, and assembled carefully in the end, isn't for everyday. This quick and easy shukto on the other hand is perfect for weekdays and requires very few ingredients. For the bitter element we have used bitter gourd leaves in this recipe. Bitter gourd leaves can be hard to find if you don't have a garden—you can easily substitute it with thankuni pata (centella, Asiatic pennywort or Gotu kola), which is easier to buy from the market.

By definition, a shukto is a mild, sometimes bitter, milky curry that is eaten after shaak (greens) and before dal (lentils). As such, it is not the name of a single dish, as is commonly believed, but an entire category of curries (like dalna or ghonto) in its own right. Lau'er shukto (made with bottle gourd), shosha'r shukto (cucumber), and dhula shaak'er shukto are some of the other kinds of shukto known today, albeit among few families. Within the structure of the Bengali meal, shukto is eaten right at the beginning. It is said to stimulate the appetite and prepare the palate for the oncoming spicier courses.

Books in this recipe

No items found.
Like the work we do? Help keep this site ad-free by making a donation.


5 servings
  • 225 g pepe (raw papaya)
  • 5 g salt
  • 200 g water
  • 50 g mosur dal (soaked for 2 hours)
  • 15 g vegetable oil
  • 2 pcs bay leaves
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • 4 pcs korola pata (leaves of the bitter gourd plant), or else thankuni pata
  • 10 g ginger paste
  • 8 g sugar
  • 45 g milk
  • ¼ tsp maida (plain flour)
  • ½ tsp ghee


  1. First, make dal'er bora. For that, soak mosur dal in water for 2 hours.
  2. Grind the dal with salt to a coarse paste. Whip the ground dal to incorporate air.
  3. Drop tiny dollops of the batter into hot vegetable oil (~170ºC). Fry on medium heat until light brown. Reserve the bora.
  4. Peel the raw papaya and slice them into small squares, about 5-mm thick.
  5. In a saucepan boil the papaya with salt and water for 8 minutes. We'll use this water later, so take the exact quantity.
  6. Strain to stop it cooking further. The pepe should not turn too soft. Reserve the water.
  7. Heat vegetable oil in a pan. Temper with bay leaves, and mustard seeds.
  8. Fry the korola or thankuni pata briefly, until the leaves turn bright green. Remove them from the oil and set aside.
  9. Add ginger paste and fry for a minute. Add the boiled papaya and cook on low heat for 2 minutes.
  10. Add the reserved water left behind from boiling the papaya, along with sugar.
  11. Add about 12 pieces of dal'er bora (fritters) and the fried korola pata. Stir and let it bubble for 2 minutes. Submerge the fritters to let them soak up the liquid.
  12. In a small bowl, mix a little plain flour in some milk, and pour the mixture into the korai. this will help thicken the gravy. Stir and cook for 1 minute.
  13. Finish with half a teaspoon of ghee.

Recipe discussion

Did this recipe help you cook something that made you happy?

At Bong Eats, we are working to standardise Bengali recipes, and present them to the world in a way that anyone, anywhere will be able to cook Bengali food with confidence—even if they have never tasted it before. We want the world to know that there is Indian food beyond tikka masala.

A lot of time and money goes into creating precise recipes such as this one. We don't want to depend on advertisements that track our viewers' activities through third-party cookies; we do not want take sponsorship money from companies that don't make subpar products.

You can help us make this a sustainable venture that can employ talented local writers, editors, photographers, recipe-testers, and more. Donate to keep us going.

Make a One-time donation

Help us keep Bong Eats free and open for everyone by making a one-time contribution. You can donate as much as you want. No amount is too little.

Become a member ⭐️

Join to get access to a vibrant private community of people who full of people who love to cook, feed and eat. Get answers to your questions about recipes, techniques, where to find ingredients from fellow members. If you love cooking, this is the place for you.

Monthly LIVE cookalongs
Shiny new private forum
Adda after every video release
Personalised recommendations
✨ See Membership Perks ✨

🧣 Winter 🫛

Bakes & Roasts

Posted on
December 21, 2023
Bong Eats

Winter is here. It is time to get baking. Here are some ideas, both savoury and sweet.

Read More »

✨ What's new?

View all »

Koi Komola

Koi fish cooked with fresh orange juice and seasonal tangerines.

  • 1 hour
  • 214
Viewers liked this

Kochur Loti Chingri diye

Taro stolons cooked with mustard and prawns

  • 90 mins
  • 170
Viewers liked this

Potoler Khosha Bata

A spicy, fudgy mash made of pointed gourd (potol) peels.

  • 60 mins
  • 90
Viewers liked this

Palong Shaak Bhaja

Stir-fried spinach

  • 30 mins
  • 79
Viewers liked this
See all New recipes »
View all »


A wide array of mild, sometimes bitter, milky curries served for lunch to open up the palate for the oncoming spicier courses

  • 1 hour
  • 229

Lau'er Shukto

A light, juicy curry of bottle gourd made with the subtle flavours of milk and poppy seeds— best for the scorching summer.

  • 30 minutes
  • 85

Pepe’r Shukto

A delicious, creamy, mildly bitter Bengali appetiser made with green papaya, perfect for spring and summer.

  • 40 minutes
  • kcal
View all »
No items found.