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Sak
(Vegetable greens cooked in their own juices)


Sak was the favorite dish of r Caitanya Mahprabhu, the incarnation of Ka who appeared in West Bengal five hundred years ago to propagate the chanting of the Hare Ka mantra. Sak can be made with spinach or other leafy greens such as radish or broccoli leaves.

Preparation and cooking time: 30 min

2 lbs (900 g) fresh green vegetable leaves
2 tablespoon ghee
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 fresh chillies, seeded and minced
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida (optional)
2 potatoes, peeled and diced (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon lemon juice

Wash the vegetable greens in several changes of water, and discard the tough stems. Let the greens drain, then chop them into small pieces. In a karhai or medium-sized saucepan, heat the ghee or vegetable oil and fry the fennel seeds, grated ginger, and minced chillies together for 30 - 40 seconds. Add the powdered spices and fry them very briefly. Then immediately drop in the diced potatoes and stir-fry for 8 - 10 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan as you stir. Let them brown to a nice golden color on all sides.
Next, put in the chopped vegetable leaves, cover, and cook slowly for about 15 minutes or until the greens are cooked and the potatoes are soft. (Leafy greens that are juicy and cook quickly may not need additional water, but leaves that stay dry and need to cook longer will need a small amount of water). Add the salt and lemon juice, stir, then remove from the heat.
Sak goes well with white rice or hot chapatis and any of the dal soups described in the previous section.