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Paneer sak
(Steamed spinach with fresh cheese)


High in the Tirumala hills lies Tirupati temple, the home of the richest Deity in the world, Lord Vekatevara, and described by rla Prabhupda in Ka Book as the most important place of pilgrimage in southern India. Catering to the needs of tens of thousands of pilgrims who visit every day, the temple executives have developed a management system which rla Prabhupda said was superexcellent and which he urged ISKCON leaders to study.
The Hare Ka movement has a unique relationship with this temple. Out of respect for rla Prabhupdas concern that the local preaching be increased, the temple executives gave the devotees land, funds to build a temple, and an open-air restaurant to manage, so that the pilgrims can have the opportunity to associate with devotees and purchase their books. This is the recipe for paneer sak served at the ISKCON canteen situated at the halfway point on the eight kilometer footpath to the temple.

Preparation and cooking time: 30 min

1 lb (450 g) fresh spinach, washed and stemmed
1 tablespoon ghee or vegetable oil
2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
2 pinches asafoetida
3 tablespoon water
2/3 cup (150 ml) sour cream (optional)
8 oz (225 g) paneer, cubed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Chop the washed and drained spinach leaves into small pieces. Heat the ghee in a saucepan over medium heat and fry the powdered spices for a moment. Put the chopped spinach into the saucepan with the 3 tablespoons of water. Cover, and cook gently until the spinach is tender. This should take about 10 minutes. Now fold in the cream and the cubes of paneer. Add the salt and sugar, stir well, and continue cooking over the same low heat for 5 more minutes. Serve paneer sak as a main dish with rice or hot chapatis or both.