Having lemon as an accompaniment with the two major meals had been an integral part of Bengali culture. Whether it was/is lentil curry or fish curry, squeezing some lemon juice atop and eating it with rice was/is heavenly. I remember the days I used to spend with my grandparents during vacations. Getting to eat what my grand mom cooked, sitting on her lap and listening to stories of her motherland, they had to leave behind was a pleasure. So here too, grandfather grew a lot of trees. Besides other trees, there were lemon trees and in the evenings, the flowers of it released so beautiful and refreshing fragrance. I remember, during summers, grandma while cooking lentil curry would ask me to get some lemon leaves from the garden. She would add them to the boiling dal just two to three minutes before it was done. The flavour of it helped sooth our summer meals. This summer I am using them in my cooking too. Besides, whenever I am out of home, I carry lemon leaves with me, its smell helps if you have nausea/motion sickness.
Paneer Curry is a regular at home as a vegetarian sides. So we need to bring in a little variety in them. Not equipped with much innovative ideas, I draw inspiration from around, past and present. This Lemony Paneer was an idea drawn from grand mom's use of lemon/lime leaves used during summers. Done with regular spices used in a Bengali household, the twist was only in using a bit of lemon juice and lemon/lime leaves. During summers, when we feel like not having curries, this really helps. Let us do the Lemony Paneer Curry together.
Paneer : 250gm
Tomato : 1small
Ginger Paste : 1tsp
Cumin Powder : 1tsp
Coriander Powder : 1/2tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Lemon Juice : 2tbsp
Lemon/Lime Leaves : 2-3
Fenugreek Seed : 1pinch
Bayleaf : 1
Sugar : 1/2tsp[optional]
Salt : As Required
Oil : 3tbsp
Apply little salt to the paneer pieces and keep aside for 15 minute.
Wash and chop the tomatoes. Keep everything else ready on the cooking table. What the lemon leaves.
Heat oil in a wok. Temper with fenugreek seeds and bayleaf.
Add ginger paste. Saute for 2 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and keep stirring till it melts.
Add the salt, turmeric, cumin powder, coriander powder, chilli powder and stir for a minute.
Add one big cup of water and let boil for 3-4 minutes at low heat. Add the sugar and lemon juice, stir.
Add the paneer pieces and cook for 2 minutes. Add the lemon/lime leaves and cook for a minute.
Serve hot with rice/Indian Bread.