[philiptellis] I love food, and I like writing about food. Follow me as I follow my nose, seeking out gastronomic delicacies wherever I find myself

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Soya Nugget Biryani

This has been a long time coming. It's one of those dishes that one doesn't find in recipe books. It just happens when you're on a restricted diet, but still crave for good food.

I started with the basics for mutton biryani, but used soya nuggets instead of meat. The result was very tasty.


  • Basmati Rice
  • Soya Nuggets
How much of the above you need depends on how many people you're going to serve. The rest of my recipe will assume 3 cups of rice and 400gm soya nuggets.
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp jeera (cumin) powder
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 5 tsp coriander powder
  • 4 ripe tomatoes diced
  • 1 or 2 onions cut into small pieces
  • 2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste (make your own for best effect)
  • 2 chopped up green chillies (optional, use if you want it spicy)
  • 1/2 cup of curd
  • 1 bunch coriander leaves, chopped up
  • 1 bunch mint leaves, chopped up
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • some raisins
  • some almonds
  • salt to taste


Now, you can do four things in parallel, but make sure that you're done with the nuggets and rice before you actually need each of these.
  1. Cook the rice till it's about three quarter ready. Cook it with the cinnamon and cardamom, some salt, and a sprinkling of mint, but no oil.
  2. Prepare the nuggets for cooking. This involves boiling them for 10 minutes, then squeezing out, rinsing in cold water and squeezing out again.
  3. boil the almonds to remove the skins and cut into slices.
  4. Start cooking the masalas. This is the elaborate step.

  1. Heat a pan till it is of suitable temperature for oil (ie, fling a drop of water at it and it should sizzle off immediately)
  2. pour the oil in, and heat it for a couple of seconds.
  3. Add the onions, and fry till light brown
  4. Add the ginger-garlic paste and fry for 2 minutes
  5. Add in the chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder and jeera powder and chillies. fry for about 30 seconds, and add in the salt.
  6. Add the diced tomatoes, and stir fry the whole thing for 3 minutes
I hope your soya nuggets are ready at this point, because you need them now.
  1. Add in the soya nuggets and mix well. It will start to get really dry, but don't panic. Let it simmer for a minute or so.
  2. Add in the curd, garam masala, chopped up coriander and chopped up mint (you may want to save a little mint and coriander for the raita).
  3. Mix well. The curd should make the whole thing watery again.
Ok, the biryani curry is ready, and I hope your rice is too, because this is where you need it.
  1. Take a baking dish, or a large vessel that can be sealed.
  2. Put a layer of rice at the bottom, then a layer of soya nuggets, then another layer of rice.
You can carry on like this as long as you have enough matter to layer, just make sure the top most layer is rice and sufficiently thick. I've found that adding a layer of boiled potatoes (with or without their jackets) also helps. You can deep fry the potatoes if you like it better that way, but do it in really really hot oil.
  1. Add the raisins and almonds on the top (you may want to stir fry them first, but I like to stay off frying as much as possible).
  2. seal the dish and pop it into the oven at a very high temperature (I used 250°) for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Now, I used a handi, and I sealed it with wheat dough. You know that it's done when your dough starts to burn. You can also eat the dough later. Kids love it :)

Break open the seal and smell your biryani.

Now for the raita. I normally make a simple tomato-cucumber raita with curd and salt. This time I decided to experiment a bit, and added a sprinkling of mint and coriander. The result was amazing, and my raita was a hit with all those who tried it. Just mix everything together in a bowl, and refrigerate.

Serve the biryani hot and raita cold.


August 18, 2005 7:21 am

Nice! I will try it and let you know. I have recently started experimenting with soya granules.

Please change your unsafe oil testing method! Throw a mustard or cumin seed instead of a drop of water.

- Amit

August 18, 2005 7:27 am

The water drop is a very old time tested method. Never heard of the mustard or cumin seed method. My dad and the chefs I know recommend the drop of water method.

August 18, 2005 7:28 am

oh yeah, just to clarify. the water drop is not to test if the oil is hot, it's to test if the pan is hot enough to add oil. you drop the water in *before* adding oil.

September 27, 2005 11:46 am

Any replacement for the Oven step(s)?


September 27, 2005 12:01 pm

No real replacement for it unless you want to do it dum style.

January 24, 2008 11:29 am

real nice recipe.want to try but dont have a oven.plzzzzzzz suggest alternative

January 24, 2008 11:36 am

If you don't have an oven, you could also try putting it in the pressure cooker, but in that case make sure you still have a lot of liquid left.

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