Soya Chunks Pulao Recipe – An Easy Lunchbox Recipe

Soya Chunks Pulao Recipe is a delicious and wholesome dish that brings together the goodness of soya chunks and the aromatic flavors of pulao. Also known as meal maker pulao in India, this easy pulao comes together in 30 minutes using a pressure cooker. A complete meal in itself or serve it with a side dish of raita.

I cook soya (granules or chunks) at least once or twice a week. This is one of my favorite soya chunks recipes with the goodness of plant-based protein, and fiber, and is delicious.

Soya chunks are a processed soy product and are called by various names in India like soya nuggets, soya vadi, meal maker, TVP (textured vegetable protein), nutri-nuggets, and also veg/mock meat.

Their neutral flavor makes them suitable for adding to anything from curries to pulao and snacks to appetizers. When cooked they are soft, juicy, and chewy (similar to meat).

soya chunks pulao recipe

About Soya Chunks Pulao Recipe

Soya Chunks Pulao Recipe is a simple vegetarian rice dish made with rice, onions, soya chunks, curd, aromatics, and spices. 

This soya chunks pulao recipe is not overly spiced. However here since both rice and soya chunks are pretty bland, I use a mix of whole spices and ground spices – red chili powder and meat masala powder to add tons of flavor.

In most of my pulao recipes, I have used a pan which usually takes 45 minutes to 1 hour. The trick to this recipe is using a pressure cooker, which speeds up cooking. When you cook under pressure, the rice and soya chunks turn softer and soak up flavors better.

What makes this soya chunks pulao special? It’s all about marinating the soya chunks before adding them to the pulao. Marinating them boosts the overall taste and smell of the dish. Marinating the soya chunks before adding them to the pulao enhances the overall flavor and aroma of the dish.

I marinate and refrigerate it overnight. Marinating the soya chunks for a longer period allows a deep permeation of the flavors more effectively. When ready to cook, simply take the marinated soya chunks out of the refrigerator and use them as per the recipe.

This pulao is an ideal option for busy weekdays or when I crave a quick, yet fulfilling meal. Apart from being a scrumptious dish, the Soya Chunks Pulao packs a nutritional punch.

Soya chunks are a powerhouse of protein, essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals, promoting overall well-being and supporting muscle growth.

Water Quantity is the Key

One of the key factors while cooking pulao with any variety of rice is the water quantity. The right rice-to-water ratio will make sure that the rice cooks perfectly and the grains remain separate rather than clumped together.

In this recipe, I used sona masoori rice which needs a 1:2 ratio of rice to water. Meaning, for every 1 cup of rice, I add 2 cups of water. However, soya chunks will certainly absorb water even though we rehydrated them. So, I add 1/4 cup of extra water.

Reasons to try

Super easy to make.

One pot meal.

Wholesome and delicious.

Great option for lunchboxes.

Meat alternative.

Highly versatile.

Apt for family gatherings or potluck events.

Vegetarian.

healthy soya chunks pulao recipe

Pro Tips

1. Rehydrate soya: As soya are dehydrated, you need to prepare the soya chunks before cooking them. Soak them in hot water for 10-15 minutes so that they are soft and squeezable.

2. Squeeze soya chunks: Squeezing soya chunks after soaking is an important step to remove excess water so that they absorb flavors while cooking. If they are not squeezed, there wont be space for them to absorb flavors.

3. Soak the rice: Medium-grain rice does not need soaking, but I recommend soaking the rice. Not for long, just 10-15 minutes is enough. This step helps for evenly cooked rice and a softer texture.

4. Marinate the soya chunks: Marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight allowing the chunks to infuse with flavors.

5. Dont skimp on ghee: Sauteeing the rice with rice before cooking is an important step. When the rice is sautéed with ghee, it absorbs the delightful taste of the ghee.

The ghee also acts as a coating for the rice grains during sautéing. This coating helps prevent the rice from sticking together while cooking, resulting in fluffy and separated rice once it’s fully cooked.

6. Water to Rice Ratio: Use the right water-to-rice ratio. Adjust the water based on the rice’s quality and age.

7. Rest the pulao after it’s done: Resting the pulao once it is done cooking is an essential step. It allows any excess moisture to be absorbed, resulting in perfectly cooked, fluffy, and non-sticky rice grains.

Ingredients

Soya Chunks/Nuggets: I have used Nutrela brand Soya Chunks. They are easily available in Indian grocery stores. If you find regular soya chunks large in size, you can chop them into half or quarters. You can also replace regular soya chunks with mini-size or granules.

Rice: In this recipe, I have used sona masoori (medium size grain rice).

Cooking fat: I like to combine oil and ghee for flavor and aroma.

Onion: Base ingredient forms the flavorful foundation of the pulao.

Whole spices: caraway seeds (shahi jeera), bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon, and green cardamom.

Marination: curd, ginger-garlic paste, turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, meat masala powder, and salt.

If you are new to meat masala spice, it is a super aromatic spice blend and has a lot of kick.

Herbs: mint and coriander leaves.

How to make Soya Chunks Pulao

1. Rinse 1 cup of rice under running water until the water runs clear. Soak the rice in water for about 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, proceed with the next steps.

soya chunks pulao recipe step 1

Prep Soya Chunks

2. Place the pot with water on the stovetop over medium-high flame. For every cup of soya chunks, use about 3 to 4 cups of water. Bring the water to a roiling boil.

Keep in mind that soya chunks expand while boiling, so use the pot accordingly.

soya chunks pulao recipe step 2

3. Add soya chunks and give a good mix. Reduce the heat to medium and let the soya chunks cook for about 5 to 7 minutes without covering the pan.

soya chunks pulao recipe step 3

4. Turn off the heat and allow the soya chunks to soak in the water for at least 15 to 20 minutes.

During this time, they will absorb water and expand in size.

soya chunks pulao recipe step 4

5. After soaking, carefully drain the water from the soya chunks using a colander or sieve. Rinse them once again under running water.

Squeeze the chunks thoroughly to remove any excess water and moisture.

soya chunks pulao recipe step 5

6. In a bowl, mix soya chunks with curd, ginger-garlic paste, red chili powder, coriander powder, meat masala powder, and salt.

soya chunks pulao recipe step 6

7. Mix well and rest for at least 15 minutes.

soya chunks pulao recipe step 7

Make Soya Chunks Pulao

8. Heat oil in a pressure cooker over medium flame. Once the oil is hot, add bay leaves, caraway seeds, cloves, cinnamon stick, and green cardamom.

Let the whole spices crackle and release their aroma.

soya chunks pulao recipe step 8

9. Add chopped onions and saute until they turn a light golden color.

soya chunks pulao recipe step 9

soya chunks pulao recipe step 10

10. Add the marinated soya chunks and saute over medium flame until the moisture evaporates and oil separates on the sides.

soya chunks pulao recipe step 11

11. Add mint and coriander leaves. Stir until the leaves wilt.

soya chunks pulao recipe step 12

12. Add the soaked rice (without water) and 1 tbsp ghee. Saute the rice for 1-2 minutes.

soya chunks pulao recipe step 13

soya chunks pulao recipe step 14

13. Add 2.25 cups of water (preferably hot) and gently mix well.

soya chunks pulao recipe step 15

14. Let the water come to a rolling boil.

Taste test and add salt and spice powder if needed.

soya chunks pulao steps 19

15. Close the lid of the pressure cooker and cook on high heat for 3-4 whistles. Turn off the heat and allow the pressure to release naturally and rest it for a further 10 minutes.

The cooking time will depend on the quality of the rice.

soya chunks pulao recipe step 16

16. Open the lid and gently mix the rice. Avoid overmixing to prevent the rice from becoming mushy.

You can garnish the pulao with freshly chopped coriander leaves and ghee to add a burst of freshness and aroma.

soya chunks pulao recipe step 17

17. Soya Chunks Pulao is ready. Serve with raita or choice of curry.

soya chunks pulao recipe step 18

Serving Suggestions

Soya Chunks Pulao is a rice dish that can be served as a standalone meal or as part of a larger spread.

You can serve the pulao as a main course for lunch, dinner, parties, or get-togethers with refreshing raita (yogurt-based salad) or salan.

Storage Suggestions

If you have leftovers or want to prepare Soya Chunks Pulao in advance, you can refrigerate it by following the below suggestions. I feel soya chunks pulao taste better after a few hours or the next day.

Refrigeration: Once the Soya Chunks Pulao has cooled down to room temperature, transfer it to an airtight container. Place the container in the refrigerator and consume it within 2-3 days.

Reheating: To reheat the refrigerated pulao, transfer it to a microwave-safe bowl or a pan. You can add a splash of water to prevent the pulao from drying out during reheating. Microwave the pulao on medium heat or reheat it on the stovetop until it’s thoroughly heated.

Variations

Adding Vegetables: You can include a variety of vegetables like carrots, beans, green peas, and potatoes to enhance the nutritional value.

Green soya chunks pulao: Blend fresh spinach, coriander leaves, green chilies, and a few mint leaves. Add this puree while cooking the rice.

Spice powders: You can replace meat masala powder with pav bhaji masala, kitchen king masala, biryani masala, or your favorite garam masala spice blend.

Spicer soya chunks pulao: You can add a few slit green chilies too.

Vegan version: replace curd with tomatoes and skip ghee.

soya chunks pulao recipe in pressure cooker

More Related Recipes

Pressure Cooker Veg Pulao

Soya Granules Pulao

Karnataka style Veg Pulao

Tomato Pulao

Function style Veg Pulao

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Recipe Card

meal maker pulao recipe

Soya Chunks Pulao Recipe

Author: d6e3f09ae55fe2878b2b1a4c03ff9647?s=30&d=mm&r=gSantosh Allada
Soya Chunks Pulao recipe is a perfect amalgamation of soft soya chunks and aromatic rice. An easy one-pot meal made in a pressure cooker that can be packed in school or work lunch boxes for kids and adults alike.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Marination 15 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 3 people

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup Soya chunks (any good brand)
  • 1 cup Rice (medium grain rice)
  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • 1 tbsp Ghee
  • 2 medium Bay leaves
  • 1 tsp Caraway seeds (shahi jeera)
  • 3 numbers Cloves
  • 1 inch Cinnamon stick
  • 2 numbers Green cardamom
  • 1 medium Onion (finely chopped)
  • 2-3 tbsp Coriander leaves
  • 2 tbsp Mint leaves
  • 2.25 cups Water (preferably hot)
  • Salt to taste

Marination

  • 1/4 cup Curd
  • 1/2 tbsp Ginger garlic paste
  • 1-2 tsp Red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1/4-1/2 tbsp Meat masala powder (any good brand)

Instructions
 

Rinse & Soak Rice

  • Rinse 1 cup of rice under running water until the water runs clear. Soak the rice in water for about 20-30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile proceed with the next steps.

Prep Soya Chunks

  • Place the pot with water on the stovetop over medium high flame. For every cup of soya chunks, use about 3 to 4 cups of water. Bring the water to a roiling boil.
  • Keep in mind that soya chunks expand while boiling, so use the pot accordingly.
  • Add soya chunks and give a good mix. Reduce the heat to medium and let the soya chunks cook for about 5 to 7 minutes without covering the pan.
  • Turn off the heat and allow the soya chunks to soak in the water for at least 15 to 20 minutes. During this time, they will absorb water and expand in size.
  • After soaking, carefully drain the water from the soya chunks using a colander or sieve. Rinse them once again under running water.
  • Squeeze the chunks thoroughly to remove any excess water and moisture.

Marinate

  • In a bowl, mix soya chunks with curd, ginger-garlic paste, red chili powder, coriander powder, meat masala powder, and salt.
  • Mix well and rest for at least 15 minutes.

Make Soya Chunks Pulao

  • Heat oil in a pressure cooker over medium flame. Once the oil is hot, add bay leaves, caraway seeds, cloves, cinnamon stick, and green cardamom.
  • Let the whole spices crackle and release their aroma.
  • Add chopped onions and saute until they turn a light golden color.
  • Add the marinated soya chunks and saute over medium flame until the moisture evaporates and oil separates on the sides.
  • Add mint and coriander leaves. Stir until the leaves wilt.
  • Add the soaked rice (without water) and 1 tbsp ghee. Saute the rice for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add 2.25 cups of water (prefably hot) and gently mix well.
  • Let the water come to a rolling boil. Taste test and add salt and spice powder if needed.
  • Close the lid of the pressure cooker and cook on high heat for 3-4 whistles. Turn off the heat and allow the pressure to release naturally and rest it for further 10 minutes.
  • The cooking time will depend on the quality of the rice.
  • Open the lid and gently mix the rice. Avoid overmixing to prevent the rice from becoming mushy.
  • You can garnish the pulao with freshly chopped coriander leaves and ghee to add a burst of freshness and aroma.
  • Soya Chunks Pulao is ready. Serve with raita or choice of curry.

Notes

Before using the soya chunks, ensure they are clean and free from any debris.
Soak the soya chunks in hot water for about 15-20 minutes to soften them.
Soak the rice in water for about 20-30 minutes. Soaking helps the rice cook evenly and give a softer texture.
For enhanced taste, marinate the soaked and squeezed soya chunks for at least 20-30 minutes.
Use the right water-to-rice ratio for cooking in the pressure cooker.
Allow the pressure to release naturally after cooking. 
Gently fluff the rice with a fork. Avoid over mixing to maintain the texture and fluffiness of the rice.


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