Spice up your Diwali, Thanksgiving or weekend with Healthy Pumpkin Curry Paneer! This dish falls into so many categories: Healthy Diwali recipe, Healthy Thanksgiving recipe, Vegan Diwali recipe, Vegan Thanksgiving recipe. It can even brighten up any weekend in fall. This also makes for a healthy Diwali recipe or healthy Thanksgiving recipe. This Healthy Pumpkin Curry Paneer is vegan so is does not use any heavy cream. Instead the gravy is made up of pumpkin and cashew for its creaminess.
Cooking with an actual pumpkin may seem intimidating but if you buy the small cooking friendly versions it’s really not that bad. Using actual pumpkin instead of the canned variety adds such a great texture to fall dishes that it is worth doing at least once a season. The small sugar pumpkins are the best for cooking and one small one is enough to make a large serving of this Healthy Pumpkin Curry Paneer. The small pumpkins are much easier to work with than the large carving pumpkins so you will actually enjoy the process of making this healthy pumpkin curry paneer, or Pumpkin Indian Style.
Fall means so many holidays and seasonal food, both in American and Indian culture. In American culture there is of course Halloween and Thanksgiving in the fall where pumpkins feature prominently in both. In Indian culture the festival seasons of Navratri and Diwali both occur in October and November as well. If Thanksgiving is the ultimate American foodie holiday, then Diwali is the equivalent in Indian culture.
This healthy pumpkin curry paneer just seemed like a natural blend of the seasonal foods and festivities. The paneer can be served as a veg Diwali dish along with dal, vegetable curries, samosas, raita and naan or it can be a perfect vegetarian option for a vegan Thanksgiving main dish or side.
Popular ways of eating paneer are mattar paneer, paneer tikka masala and in wraps. All of these involve either some type of rich gravy. The flavors in this Healthy Pumpkin Curry Paneer are similar to the traditional methods of cooking paneer but the pumpkin adds a great fall flavored twist. And even better, this recipe uses pumpkin and cashew to achieve its nice thick creamy gravy instead of the heavy butter and cream that is used in many traditional paneer dishes. Other than the actual paneer which is cheese, this healthy pumpkin curry paneer consists mainly of veggies and spices.
A few tips on cooking the pumpkin. First, chop the stem off the pumpkin. Next, chop the pumpkin in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. A large serving spoon with a thin edge or even a regular spoon should work. Scrape until all the seeds have been removed and you are down to pumpkin flesh.
Healthy Pumpkin Curry Paneer (no coconut milk)
- Food processor
- Baking tray
- Stovetop cooking pan
- 1 Sugar Pumpkin Or use the equivalent of butternut squash cubes.
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 1/2 cup chopped tomato
- 1/3 cup unsalted cashews
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp ginger, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/8 tsp asafoetida
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 8 cloves
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 3 tsp coriander
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1 tbsp plus one tsp oil or cooking spray
For the paneer
- 8 oz. paneer, cut into 1 cm cubes
- 1/8 tsp turmeric
- 1/8 tsp salt
- pinch cayenne pepper
- 1/8 tsp cumin
- 1/8 tsp coriander
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Cut the stem off the pumpkin and cut the pumpkin in half lengthwise.
- Scrape off the seeds.
- Cut the pumpkin into fourths.
- Put the pumpkin skin facing down onto the baking tray or foil.
- Spray the top of the pumpkin with 1 tsp oil or enough cooking spray to coat the top of the pumpkin and put it in the oven for 25 minutes.
- Soak the cashews in water.
- Soak the peas in water.
- While the pumpkin is cooking, heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan.
- Mix the spices listed under paneer in the recipe.
- When the oil is hot, add the paneer cubes and all the spices for paneer that you just mixed and stir so that all the cubes are coated with spices.
- Saute for several minutes, stirring occasionally until most of the paneer cubes are slightly yellow or brown on the outside. Turn off stove and set aside paneer.
- Once the pumpkin is done, remove from oven and cool. When cool, cut into cubes and scoop out from peel.
- Add 2 tbsp oil, asafoetida, cardamom, bay leaf, cinnamon stick and cloves to the pan.
- Turn on the stove to medium heat.
- Once the spices are popping, lower heat, add onions and stir.
- Cover the onions.
- When the onions are soft, add the pumpkin, garlic, cashews, tomatoes, ginger and 1/4 cup water and stir.
- Cover on low heat 5 minutes. Uncover a few times and stir.
- Remove bay leaf and cinnamon stick and add mixture to food processor with 1/2 cup water.
- Puree into a gravy.
- Add 1/2 cup water to pan and transfer the pureed mixture to the pan.
- Add paneer, peas, garam masala and 1 1/2 tsp salt and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low. Add 1/2 cup water and cover for 10 minutes.
- Stir and serve.
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