Monday, January 21, 2019

Recipe of the month: Aloo Soya Ki Subzi (Potato and Soya Chunks Curry)

Presenting the first recipe post of 2019! This recipe is new territory for me and I am pleased that I have kick started the year by going out of my comfort zone 😄

Soya chunks or Soybean protein can be considered a "complete protein" since it provides all of the essential amino acids for human nutrition. Soy chunks are suitable for vegetarians, vegans and lactose-intolerant and hence, popularly used as a substitute for poultry and meat. Surprisingly, soya chunks have been reported to have a protein content higher to that of eggs or meat and contain negligible fat. However, there is considerable debate on the health benefits of soy products (especially the more processed varieties) and I am inclined to err on the side of caution and use it in moderation in my future cooking. 

Soya chunks are dry when you purchase them. They need to be reconstituted in water, which causes them to become spongy. Plain soya chunks do not have much flavor at all, but they absorb sauces, spices and flavorings exceptionally well. Soya chunks are inexpensive and easy to cook with. You can use them in salads, stew, soup, curry, rice dishes and stir-fries. On the downside, I've noticed that not everyone is a fan of this product. Some people do not like the smell and/or texture of soya chunks. 

As a mother, I am always concerned that my kids are not getting enough protein from their diet. It is important to me that they consume a balanced diet and incorporating plant-based protein is something I am consciously trying to do. With my little picky-eaters, I have failed with tofu and I'm terrified to even try tempeh and miso 😆 I'll admit I don't have much experience cooking with soya chunks. For some reason, the husband detests them and hence they rarely made an appearance on our dinner table. As for myself, I have a neutral opinion on soya chunks - don't love them but don't hate them either. I remember thoroughly enjoying a soya chunks pulao years ago at a friend's house but then had a bad tasting experience with a side dish sometime later. I picked up a packet from the supermarket recently and thought I'd make something for the kids and see how they react to it. 

This recipe is adapted from a wonderful blog that I have been following. I have made minor adjustments to the recipe to suit my taste. The resulting semi-dry side dish turned out quite good. We enjoyed them with rotis (even the husband sampled some). The good news is that my kids ate it (they declared it was paneer! 😆) and so in future, I will consider occasionally featuring soya chunks in recipes that I make for my kids 😊

Here is the recipe. Hope you like it too!

Aloo Soya Ki Sabzi (Potato and Soya Chunks Curry)

Preparation time: 20 min; Cooking time: 20 min
Total time: ~ 40 min
Serves: 4
Recipe category: Side dish/North Indian
Recipe level: Easy
Recipe source: Adapted from here


1 cup soya chunks/nutrela
3 tbsp cooking oil 
1 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
1 large (~ 1/2 cup) red onion, chopped
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chili powder (increase to 1 tsp for more heat)
2 tsp coriander powder/dhania powder
1 tsp fennel powder/saunf powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
Salt to taste
2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste (I grated 4 big garlic pods with 1-inch piece ginger)
1 large ripe tomato (~ 1 cup) tomato, chopped
1 large or 2 medium potatoes (~ 2 cups), peeled and cubed
~ 2 cups water
1 large bunch fresh coriander leaves, chopped (for garnish)


1. In a large bowl soak the soya chunks in about 3 cups of hot water. Let it soak for 20 minutes until the dried soya chunks puff up into spongy balls. 

2. After 20 minutes, wash the soya chunks 2-3 times under cold running water. Squeeze the water out of the soya chunks and set aside.

3. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a thick bottom pan. Throw in the soya chunks, stir and pan fry until they turn golden in color. Take them out of the pan. Set aside.

4. Heat remaining 2 tbsp of oil in the same pan. Add cumin seeds and let them sizzle. 

5. Add the chopped onion. Cook until the onion lightly browns, 3-5 minutes on medium heat.

6. Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, fennel powder, garam masala, salt and sugar. Give the ingredients a quick stir then add ginger-garlic paste followed by 2 tbsp of water. Cook the masala for a minute.

7. Throw in the chopped tomatoes. Cook the masala until the tomatoes are cooked through and turn mushy. Add the lemon juice and give everything a mix. 

8. Toss in the cubed potatoes, fried soya chunks and about 2 cups of water. 

9. Cover and cook on medium low heat until the potatoes are cooked through (this will take at least 10 minutes). Once most of the liquid has been absorbed, turn off the heat. Garnish the sabzi with fresh coriander. Serve hot with steamed rice or rotis.

  • Fennel helps to mask the smell of the soya chunks. If you don't have it you can omit it and use 1 tbsp of coriander powder in the recipe
  • You can add in cooked peas if desired
  • This side dish is semi-dry. If you need it more watery, take it off from the heat earlier (just make sure the potatoes are cooked through)



  1. Great blog, for the soya chunks we can get Nutrela soya chunks to make this recipe

  2. Wow nice combination Aloo is all time favorite and adding soya chunks is a good healthy option to have as a recipe


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