I decided to clean out my pantry this month which meant all those hidden boxes of spaghetti, 10 different kinds of noodles, a few stray packets of ladyfingers had to be either consumed or I would either donate them or toss them out. This year I have been focusing on being a minimalist. Those who know me will know how difficult that is for me. I am the one who orders multiple dishes in a restaurant because I ‘think’ I am ravenously hungry or I cook a lot more than necessary when I have friends over lest we fall short. So overdoing it has always been a problem.
But this year has been different – you can really make a change if you want to. Alright, coming back to the topic I found a box of Nutrella Soya Chunks in the pantry. I had never experimented with Soya before and the one time my husband had tried to make something out of it, it was a disaster. Since that happened a few years back, I think he forgot all about it and he had gone about buying yet another packet of Soya Chunks last year 🙂
So here we were, wondering what to make out of it. Biryani is what came to my mind and since I had a good Shrimp Biryani recipe, I decided to follow the recipe. We were delighted at the outcome and have decided that this recipe of Soya Chunks Biryani is a keeper. By the way, Soya chunks match the protein content of meat and are considered a meat extender. While they are super easy to make, here’s something you need to remember – Soya chunks need to be repeatedly rinsed at least 3-4 times after being boiled otherwise you will find your dish ruined because the Soya chunks were tasting weird.
Soya Chunks Biryani
- 3 cups water
- pinch of salt
- 2 cups soya chunks
- 2 cups rice
- 3 tablespoon oil
- 4-5 whole cloves
- 6-8 whole black peppercorns
- 1 Indian bay leaves
- 2 medium sized onions finely cut (approximately 1.5 cups)
- 4 garlic cloves crushed into a paste
- 2 to matoes finely cut (approximately 1.5 cups)
- 2 green chilies slit lengthwise
- 2 teaspoons red chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 3 tablespoon yogurt
- 1/4 cup coconut milk [optional]
- 2 teaspoons garam masala/biryani masala
- Cilantro / Coriander leaves
- salt to taste
- Boil 3 cups of water in a saucepan and add a pinch of salt. Add soya chunks to the boiled water. The soya chunks should be completely immersed in the water. Let them cook for 6-8 minutes. Let the soya chunks cool for 4-5 minutes and gently squeeze the water out of them.
- Rinse the soya chunks in cold water and squeeze the water out of the soya chunks. Repeat this process at least 2 more times.
- Cook the rice with twice the amount of water and salt (1/4 tsp) till it is 3/4th done. [ Note: I make my rice in the microwave. Normally I keep it for 16 minutes but when I am making rice for pulao I keep it for 12 minutes]. Set aside.
- In a medium-sized kadhai or wok add 3 tablespoons of oil and keep it on medium heat. Add peppers, cloves and bay leaves. When they sizzle (after 10-15 seconds) add onions and garlic. Fry them till the onions turn translucent.
- Add tomatoes and continue frying till they turn mushy.
- Add the green chilies, red chili powder, salt, turmeric powder, and soya chunks and mix well.
- Whisk the yogurt well and mix it with the coconut milk (if you are using it) and add it to the kadhai/wok.
- Continue to keep it on medium heat for another 8-10 minutes. At this point, the gravy should run thick and the soya chunks should have absorbed the flavor from the gravy.
- Add garam masala or biryani masala and mix well .
- Add the rice to the kadhai and carefully fold it in and simmer it for 5 minutes covering the kadhai before taking it off heat.
- Garnish it with coriander leaves and serve hot with raita.