I remember Meal Maker from childhood, those soya chunks made a frequent appearance in many of the dishes that Amma made. Those were the days when I was eating meat and remember the meal maker soya chunks being included in all vegetable biryanis and gravies. Since it tasted and looked very much like meat, it made a great impact on many of us. I am not sure why Amma stopped using this in her cooking.
It’s been almost 20 years or more since I have last seen it being used in our home. Of course this time it was me who was cooking. I remembered this again after seeing my office cook using it in her famous Vegetable Biryani. She makes one awesome biryani and adding these soya chunks makes everybody assume it to be a nonveg biryani and enjoy it even more.
Talking to hubby dear about protein and how important it is to include in our diet when he was recently on a veg diet, he wanted me to get these soya chunks for him. After buying a packet of these soya chunks, I naturally wanted to see the different ways I can include. The first one would obviously be the vegetable rice. And that’s what I made. Looking back, maybe I added more in my enthusiasm. Also, I assumed my boys will not find out the difference but I was wrong. They knew it right away that it wasn’t meat and wouldn’t eat it. So in the end hubby dear ended up eating the major part of the soya.
Soya Vegetable Biryani
For the Soya Chunks
1 cup Soya Chunks
4 cups Water
A Pinch Salt
A Pinch Turmeric Powder
For the Rice:
1 cup Basmati Rice (you can use Short Grain Rice like seeraga samba as well.)
1/2 cup Onions chopped as julienne
1 medium Tomatoes
1/2 tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
3/4 tsp Red Chilli Powder
4 nos Green Chillies
1 cup Mixed Vegetables chopped, I used Carrot, Beans, and Potatoes
1.75 cups Water
Salt to taste
2 tsp Cooking Oil
2 tsp Ghee
Mint Leaves handful
Coriander leaves handful
Coriander Leaves for garnishing
1/4 tsp Garam Masala
1 Bay Leaf
1 inch Cinnamon
1 Anise Star
How to make Soya Chunk Biryani.
Boil the Soya Chunks
You can either boil the soya chunks in a pressure cooker for a whistle or in an open pan with enough water for 10 mins. Add the salt and turmeric to the water, once boiled, drain and allow to cool. Squeeze out excess water from the soya chunks.
For the Rice.
Clean and soak rice for 15 mins in water. Wash and prep the vegetables and keep it aside.
Heat the oil in a non-stick pan. Add all the whole spices. Saute well, then add the onions, Green Chillies. Sauté till the onions become brown in colour.
Then add ginger garlic paste. Fry for 1 min, then add the mint leaves, coriander leaves. After that add chopped tomatoes, salt, chilli powder, saute well till mushy.
Next goes the Vegetables, salt, and chilli powder. Fry for 5 mins with a lid covered.
Now add the drained soya chunks, saute well and simmer for 5 mins. Let the soya get mixed well with the masalas.
Once the soya is well covered with masala, add the water, bring to boil. When the water starts rolling, add drained rice and cover. Simmer till the cook is cooked well.
It takes about 10 – 15 mins for the rice and the vegetables to get cooked well. When it’s almost done, add the ghee and cover again.
Keep it in the vessel for 5 to 10 mins, so that it gets settled down.
Serve with Onion raita.
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