There's a certain type of Bengalis that love eating bitter food, and would gladly eat karela (bitter gourd) for lunch as often as possible. Even if you're not one of these weirdos, shukto is that one Bengali vegetarian dish you should know, because not only is it quintessential, it gives you bragging rights to know how to make a good one.
I made my shukto with bitter gourd, eggplant, drumsticks, raw banana, and potato. Cut long slices of each vegetable. You get these little nuggets called bori, which you need to lightly brown in oil and set aside. Soak some poppy seeds in water for about ten minutes before draining and grinding. Heat a little mustard oil and add a tiiiny pinch of ginger paste, and paanch phoron. Once the seeds sputter, add the vegetables and lightly fry. Add salt and a pinch of sugar and add a little water for simmering. Add a spoonful of ground poppy seeds. Then add half a cup of milk and a small fistful of flour. Mix, cover and let cook till the potato is done and the gravy is at the right consistency. Now add the fried bori and simmer for another 5 minutes before taking off the heat. Serve with hot rice!