There was a bite in the air this morning and consequently, there will be tea in my cup all day long. Winter no longer feels like some distant nightmare. And this is all fairly jarring considering it’s been plus 20°C for most of the month of October. I’m not a fan of winter, it’s well-documented on this blog. But I do love the cozy season for one reason – the food. I adore dead of winter fare. Mostly because it’s carb-heavy and carb-heavy is my preferred diet. So if I can wrap whatever I’m eating in some kind of bread, I can and I will. And I plan on doing that, without apologies, from here to March…and potentially April and May. I do live in Canada after all. So let’s kick this carb-fest off with these naan-swaddled Tandoori Pumpkin Paneer Wraps.
The first thing we’re going to do is give the pumpkin a head start. In order to make these Tandoori Pumpkin Paneer Wraps we need to make the pumpkin kabob-skewer-compatible. And that means we have to soften the pumpkin up a bit first. So pile your pumpkin chunks onto a small baking sheet lined with parchment paper and give them a drizzle of olive oil. You’re only going to roast the pumpkin for 10 minutes. We don’t want it to become buttery yet. We need it to hold its shape.
Once your pumpkin is out of the oven, it’s time to turn it into a tandoor. Not really because that would be impossible. But we are going to jack up the temperature and place a cooling rack in there to heat up. Yes, we’re cooking our skewers on a cooling rack. We’re doing this to encourage airflow all around the kebabs, so they don’t get soggy on one side. I do this when I oven “fry” my chicken wings as well. It’s a solid trick.
So while we’re waiting for the oven to reach the desired temperature, we’re going to throw together our marinade. Well, it’s not really a marinade and more of a sauce, I suppose. Nothing is going to hang out too long in there, we’re more or less just coating ingredients in the concoction before skewering them. The mixture is comprised of yogurt, spices, ginger/garlic puree, and chickpea flour. You can toast the chickpea flour before adding it to the yogurt for a nutty note. In the process of testing this recipe, I have both toasted my flour and skipped this step. To be honest, I could not discern a difference between the toasted and untoasted.
Now, I’ve featured recipes using homemade paneer several times on this blog. I find it has a superior flavor and texture to most of the storebought versions I’ve tried. But in this instance, I would recommend using store-bought paneer. Why? Because store-bought paneer is more rigid and resilient. I suspect it’s because it contains stabilizers but that’s really just a hunch.
Regardless of the reason for its texture, storebought paneer is more likely to stand up to being tossed in a marinade, threaded onto a skewer, and roasted at a high temperature. My homemade paneer is just too delicate for all that. But having said that, I am no paneer expert. Your homemade paneer may be denser and better suited for paneer tikka than mine, so use your best judgment.
Once your tandoori pumpkin and paneer are threaded onto their skewers, it’s time to roast them. This is a fairly straightforward affair. Roast them on one side for 15 minutes, then roast them on the other for another 15. The only word of caution I would add is your oven will be extremely hot, so take care when opening it. No one wants a blast of 450°F air to the face. And while your pumpkin and paneer are roasting away, you can make the raita. I’m not going to say much about the raita because it really requires little more than chopping and stirring.
Finally, we have the naan portion. Now, I used storebought naan but you can certainly make your own. But even if you do make your own, this next step applies to you as well. I like to heat my naan in the oven for 2 minutes, right after I take the paneer and pumpkin out. Take everything out, turn off the oven, add the naan directly to the rack, and leave it there for 2 minutes. Perfectly warm, slightly crisp naan every time. If you’re using homemade naan, I would recommend making it ahead of time and reviving it in the oven the same way just before serving. That way you don’t have too much going on while making the tandoori pumpkin and paneer and the raita.
So that’s everything you need to know about these Tandoori Pumpkin Paneer Wraps with Raita. An easy-to-pull-off vegetarian meal loaded with spice and personality. Oh! And carbs! Can’t forget the carbs.
Tandoori Pumpkin Paneer Wraps with Raita
- cooling rack
- Food Processor
Tandoori Pumpkin Paneer Wraps
- 1 pie pumpkin seeds and skin removed, cut into 1 ½-inch chunks
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp kosher salt divided
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 (1-inch) knob ginger
- 3-4 green chilis
- ½ cup yogurt 3% milk fat or higher
- ¼ cup chickpea flour
- 2 tsp Kashmiri chili powder**
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp garam masala
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- 1 brick paneer cut into 1 ½-inch chunks
- 1 red onion cut into chunks
- 8 pieces naan bread
- 1 batch raita see below
- ½ cucumber sliced into half moons
- fresh mint leaves for sprinkling
- fresh cilantro sprigs for garnishing
- 1 cup yogurt 3% milk fat or higher
- ½ cucumber shredded
- 1 small red onion finely diced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro finely chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh mint finely chopped
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp ground coriander
For the Raita
- Place all the ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.1 cup yogurt, ½ cucumber, 1 small red onion, 1 clove garlic, 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, 2 tbsp fresh mint, 1 tsp ground cumin, ½ tsp kosher salt, ¼ tsp ground coriander
For Tandoori Pumpkin and Paneer
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Place the pumpkin on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle the pumpkin with the olive oil and sprinkle with half of the salt. Place the pumpkin in the oven and roast for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.1 pie pumpkin, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp kosher salt
- Increase the oven temperature to 450°F. Place a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet and place it into the oven to heat up.
- Place the ginger, garlic, and chilis in a large food processor. Blitz until it resembles mulch. Place the puree in a large bowl and add the yogurt, chickpea flour, Kashmiri chili powder, ground cumin, garam masala, ground coriander, and the remaining salt. Stir to combine.3 cloves garlic, 1 (1-inch) knob ginger, 3-4 green chilis, ½ cup yogurt, ¼ cup chickpea flour, 2 tsp Kashmiri chili powder**, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp garam masala, ½ tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp kosher salt
- Place the pumpkin, paneer, and red onion in the bowl and toss to coat. Once thoroughly coated, thread the ingredients onto a kabob skewer and set aside. Repeat until everything is threaded.1 pie pumpkin, 1 red onion, 1 brick paneer
- Take the baking sheet and cooling rack out of the oven and place the skewers on top. Transfer the baking sheet and rack back to the oven and roast for 15 minutes. Turn the skewers and roast for another 15.
- Take the skewers out of the oven and set them aside to cool slightly. Turn the oven off and place the naan directly on the oven rack. Let cook for 2 minutes. Take the naan out of the oven and slather with raita before placing a skewer on top and finishing with cucumber slices, cilantro, and fresh mint leaves. Serve immediately.8 pieces naan bread, 1 batch raita, ½ cucumber, fresh mint leaves, fresh cilantro sprigs