This soya chunks fry dish is filled with robust flavors as it includes an array of spices, caramelized onions and tangy tomatoes. It is the perfect, filling meat-free alternative. Plus the options are endless when it comes to serving. Serve meal maker fry with roti, parotta, paratha, dal rice and more!
About Soya Chunks Fry
What are soya chunks? Soya chunks are nuggets made from defatted soybean flour and eaten by vegetarians as a meat substitute. They are also referred to as a textured vegetable protein, soya nuggets, meal maker and nutri-nuggets.
Growing up my mom would make soya chunk recipes. Two of my favorites that I have already shared earlier are Soya Chunks Curry and Soya Biryani. However, I tend to cook with soya chunks once in a while they are highly processed.
My recipe is inspired by the Kerala-style dish that my dad would make for us growing up. It is pretty quick and simple to make and is a dry soya chunks recipe. The only time-consuming part is sautéing the onions and the rest of the recipe is a breeze to make.
The soya chunks must be cooked first. This helps to soften them. Soya chunks don’t have a distinctive taste so it is important to season them well. They have a slightly chewy and soft texture. In this recipe you can also swap cooked unripe jackfruit with meal maker.
Serve soya chunks fry or meal maker fry as a side dish with roti or paratha dal or rice. Plus it is also a good pack lunch option.
How to Make Soya Chunks Fry
Prep Soya Chunks
1. First, add 1 cup of soya chunks to a strainer and rinse 2 to 3 times. Then in a pan, pour 2.5 to 3 cups of water, add 1 pinch of salt and add the rinsed soya chunks.
Use soy chunks that are within their shelf period and have not turned rancid.
2. Boil soya chunks for 4 to 5 more minutes on medium heat. This implies that after the water begins to boil, continue to boil further for 4 to 5 minutes. So consider a total time of 8 to 9 minutes once you keep the pan on the stove-top
3. Drain soya chunks in a mesh strainer and rinse well with fresh water. Once the soya chunks are warm, squeeze the soy chunks between your palms to remove all the liquids and set aside for later.
4. Heat 3 tablespoons of coconut oil in a pan or skillet. Then add 1-inch of cinnamon, 2 cloves, 1 green cardamom and fry for a few seconds until they crackle. Prep all your ingredients before you begin to cook the dish.
Tip: You can also use any neutral-flavored oil instead but coconut oil adds a delicious flavor.
5. Add 1 cup of thinly sliced onions, 1 teaspoon of finely chopped garlic and 1 teaspoon of finely chopped ginger.
6. Reduce heat to medium-low and sauté onions. Add a pinch of salt to cook the onions faster.
7. The onions will soften first and become light golden. Once the onions are fully golden turn off the heat.
8. Add 2 to 3 green chilies and 12 to 15 curry leaves. I used 4 green chilies as these are milder.
9. Switch on the heat. Mix and sauté for one minute.
10. Add ½ cup of finely chopped tomatoes.
11. Sauté stirring often until tomatoes become soft, mushy and oil releases from the sides.
12. You can switch off the heat or keep it to a low when you add the ground spices. Add the following listed spices:
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ¼ teaspoon crushed black pepper or ground black pepper powder
- ¼ teaspoon of garam masala powder
- ½ teaspoon of fennel powder
- ½ teaspoon of cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon kashmiri red chilli powder (swap with ¼ teaspoon cayenne or ½ teaspoon paprika.)
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
13. Mix well and sauté on low heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Make sure that the ground spices do not burn, but are sautéed well.
Make Meal Maker Fry
14. Add the prepared soya chunks and season with salt to taste.
15. Add 5 to 6 tablespoons of water.
16. Stir and mix well.
17. Cover with a lid and steam for 5 to 6 minutes on low heat. Check after 2 to 3 minutes.
If the mixture starts sticking, sprinkle 2 to 3 teaspoons of water. Deglaze, cover and continue to steam.
18. Remove lid. Check to see if there are any liquids in the pan. The dish is a dry dish. If there is any water or liquids in the pan then simmer without lid until the water evaporates.
Serve meal maker fry hot or warm. Garnish with coriander leaves if you prefer. Drizzle some lemon juice on the meal maker fry and enjoy.
If you want to make a gravy, add ½ cup coconut milk towards the end. Simmer until lightly hot without boiling the coconut milk.
19. Serve meal maker fry with roti, parotta, paratha and a wedge of lime. You can also serve it with dal-rice, sambar-rice.
- Soya chunks: In order to make soya chunks they must be cooked before making the dish so don’t skip this step. Once you have cooked the soya chunks it is important to squeeze all of the moisture out of the chunks before frying to achieve the best texture.
- Oil: This recipe calls for coconut oil. It adds a rich coconut flavor to the dish. However, if you are not a fan of coconut or don’t have any on hand then feel free to use neutral oil instead. You can also use ghee instead.
- Onions: To make soya chunk fry you will need to sauté onions, garlic and ginger first. This gives the dish rich, intense flavors so don’t skip this step! You will know that the onions are done once they are golden.
- Spices: It is really important to cook the spices for 1 to 2 minutes before you add the soya chunks. This will cook the rawness out of the spices and intensify the flavors. Be careful not to burn the spices as this will affect the taste of the dish.
- Additions: You can add pan-fried coconut for more texture.
There are two ways to prepare soya chunks before cooking:
1. The following method is great if you are short on time. Cook the soya chunks in water for about a total of 8 to 10 minutes. This helps the soya chunks to absorb water and soften. Once the soya chunks are boiled, then strain them using a mesh strainer, rinse with fresh water and let them cool before squeezing the excess water out of them.
2. If you have extra time then you can use the following method. Soak the soya chunks in water overnight and strain the mixture the following day. Rinse them in fresh water. Don’t forget to squeeze the soya chunks before cooking to remove excess water.
If you have boiled or soaked the soya chunks overnight then they should take 5 to 7 minutes to cook after you add them to the pot or pan when making the recipe.
No, soya chunks should not be eaten without boiling. They are dry, hard and need to be rehydrated by cooking or soaking overnight similar to dried shiitake mushrooms. Once they soften and are cooked, then you can add them to any dish.
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Soya Chunks Fry | Meal Maker Fry
To Prep Soya Chunks
- 1 cup soya chunks – meal maker (soya nuggets)
- 2.5 to 3 cups water
- 1 pinch salt
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil or any neutral oil
- 1 inch cinnamon
- 2 cloves
- 1 green cardamom
- 1 cup thinly sliced onions or 1 large onion
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
- 12 to 15 curry leaves
- 2 to 3 green chillies – sliced
- ½ cup finely chopped tomatoes or 1 medium tomato
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (ground turmeric)
- ¼ teaspoon crushed black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garam masala powder
- ½ teaspoon fennel powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder (ground cumin)
- ½ teaspoon kashmiri red chilli powder or ¼ tsp cayenne or any spicy red chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon Coriander Powder (ground coriander)
- salt as required
- 5 to 6 tablespoons water
- 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves – optional
- 2 to 3 lemon wedges
Prep Soya Chunks
- First, add the soya chunks or meal maker to a strainer and rinse 2 to 3 times. Then in a pan, take the rinsed soya chunks, water, add. Cook for a total time of 8 to 9 minutes on medium heat.
- Drain soya chunks in a mesh strainer and rinse well with fresh water. Once the soya chunks are warm, squeeze the soy chunks between your palms to remove all the liquids and set aside for later.
Make Soya Fry
- Heat coconut oil in a pan or skillet. Keep heat to a low. Add cinnamon, cloves, green cardamoms and fry for a few seconds or until they crackle.
- Add thinly sliced onions, finely chopped garlic and ginger.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and sauté the onions. Add a pinch of salt to cook the onions faster.
- The onions will soften first and become light golden. Once the onions turn golden, then switch off the heat.
- Add slit green chilies and curry leaves.
- Switch on the heat. Mix and sauté for one minute.
- Add finely chopped tomatoes.
- Sauté stirring often until tomatoes become soft, mushy and you see oil releasing from the sides.
- Switch off the heat and keep it to a low and the ground spices. turmeric powder, crushed black pepper, garam masala powder, fennel powder, cumin powder, kashmiri red chilli powder or paprika and coriander powder.
- Mix well and sauté on low heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Make sure that the spices do not burn, but are sautéed well.
- Add the prepared soya chunks and season with salt to taste.
- Add 5 to 6 tablespoons of water and mix well.
- Cover and steam for 5 to 6 minutes on low heat. Check after 2 to 3 minutes. If the mixture starts sticking, sprinkle 2 to 3 teaspoons of water. Deglaze, cover and continue to steam.
- Remove lid. The final dish should be dry without any liquids. Serve hot or warm. Garnish with coriander leaves.
- Serve soya chunks fry with roti, parotta, paratha and a wedge of lime or lemons. You can also serve it with dal-rice, sambar-rice or gravy with rice.
- Use soya chunks that are within their shelf life and have not turned rancid.
- This dish is moderately spiced. To increase the heat and spiciness, add more kashmiri red chilli powder or green chillies.
- For a gravy version, add ½ cup of thick coconut milk once the dish is completed and simmer on low heat until hot. Do not boil as coconut milk can split.
- Leftovers can be refrigerated in a covered container and reheated in a skillet or frying pan.