Mamta's Kitchen

Soya Chunks Biryani Rice

Soya Chunks Biryani

Mamta Gupta

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Biriyani is generally a combination of rice with meat, chicken or vegetables. It can be a meal in itself or can be served as part of a Indian meal. Soya chunks can be used instead of meat or chicken. Do not be put off by the long list of ingredients, it is an easy dish to cook. Make sure that you have all the ingredients, cutting corners spoils the end result. Soya chunks can be used with a collection of vegetables like potatoes, peas, carrots, cauliflower florets. Serves 8-10

BBQ Biriyani Pulao/Pilaf: Cook rice as per your recipe. Make small parcels, one parcel per person, each wrapped in aluminium foil. Place them on BBQ for a few minutes to heat, 5-10 minutes, turning over once. Serve the parcels straight from the BBQ.

Ingredients

  • 1 kg. rice, cleaned and washed

  • 2 1/2 litre water for rice

  • 1 kg. Soya chunks washed and soaked for 1/2 to 1 hour and drained

  • 6 large onions, thinly sliced

  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped finely

  • 1inch piece ginger, chopped or crushed finely

  • 6 green chillies- slit length wise. Reduce if you eat less chillies

  • 1 1/2 lime or lemon, cut into small pieces

  • 1-2 tbsp. olive oil or ghee

  • 2 large cardamoms

  • 6 green cardamoms

  • 2 inch piece of cinnamon

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 6 black pepper corns

  • 4-5 cloves

  • 1 1/2 tsp. chilli powder

  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped

  • 1 bunch of coriander leaves, chopped

  • 1 small bunch of mint leaves

  • A few strands of saffron

  • 2 tbsp. thick yoghurt*

  • Orange or jalebi food colour (optional)

Instructions

  1. Soak soya chunks in boiling hot water for 30 minutes or so. Transfer to a sieve and rinse in running water. Allow to drain.

  2. Peel, wash slice onions thinly.

  3. Peel, wash and grate ginger and garlic finely.

  4. Measure all whole spices and keep aside.

  5. Measure all other ingredients & keep aside.

  6. Heat oil and brown onions, take out & keep aside.

  7. In the same oil, add cloves, cardamoms, cinnamon, black peppers, ginger, bay leaves (all whole spices), garlic, soya chunks, salt, chilli powder and fry for 5 minutes.

  8. Add yoghurt*, tomatoes, coriander and mint leaves, pieces of lime and fried onions, keeping 1/3rd of fried onion aside for later.

  9. Cook, stirring frequently, until very little gravy is left. Keep aside.

  10. Boil the water for rice with a few mint & coriander leaves, saffron & salt.

  11. Add rice and boil briskly with lid off, until 2/3rd done (2 grains are felt, when rice is pressed and squashed between two fingers).

  12. Drain the water off by transferring the rice to a colander/large sieve. You can run a little cold water over it, to stop the rice from cooking further while resting. Leave in the colander for a few minute, for the water to drain out completely.

  13. Grease a large oven proof dish and layer rice and cooked soya chunks, starting and finishing with a layer of rice.

  14. Sprinkle some fried onions on top.

  15. Dot with a little ghee and a few drop of jalebi (orange) colour. If dry colour powder is used, dissolve it in a teaspoon of water.

  16. Cover with a tight lid.

  17. Put it in a medium hot oven, 170-180 C, on the centre shelf, for 20 minutes or so, until the rice is fully done. It can be cooked directly on the hob, on a low flame, with the lid tightly closed. This will take 20-30 minutes.

  18. Serve hot.

Notes

  • It can be prepared up to the step 15 and then kept in the fridge. Cooking time in oven will be increased by 10 minutes.

  • Also see: Lamb Birpyani, Chicken Birpyani, A Quick Biryani, Chicken Fried Rice from Leftovers, Vegetable Birpyani.

  • *Tips for cooking with yoghurt:

  • Always use full fat yoghurt, if possible. Skimmed milk yoghurt sometimes curdles during cooking. If you wish to use low fat yoghurt, add 1 heaped teaspoon of plain or corn flour per cup of yoghurt.

  • Make sure that the dish you are cooking is at room temperature. If yoghurt is cooked straight from the fridge, it may curdle.

  • When adding yoghurt during cooking, take out a few tablespoons of the hot food in a bowl, mix yoghurt, warming it a bit and then stir it back into the hot dish.

  • Substitute sour cream for yoghurt, using only half the amount.

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