soya chunks biryani

Soya Chunks Biryani | Meal Maker Biryani

By Swasthi on August 31, 2022, Comments, Jump to Recipe

Soya chunks biryani is a unique, nutritious take on the traditional biryani. This flavorful and delicious rich dish, also known as meal maker biryani is one of the easiest and quickest versions of biryani you can make. Soya biryani made with fragrant rice and either soya chunks or textured granules is perfect as a hearty meal or lunch box option. Biryani, the popular dish from Mughlai cuisine, is so versatile that you can serve as a weekday meal or turn into a gourmet creation for a special occasion.


soya chunks biryani

What is Soya Biryani?

Fragrant basmati or seeraga samba rice is cooked in a bed of aromatic Indian spices and curd and enriched with soya chunks or granules. This is a creative take on vegetarian biryani which again is adapted from the traditional meat-based recipe.

Soaked soya chunks or ready-to-use soya granules are cooked with spices, curd and long grain rice. The resulting dish is bursting with bold flavors from the spices, the mild tanginess of the curd and the texture and feel of the rice and soya.

About This Recipe

Vegetarian biryani, especially South Indian varieties, feature prominently in family meals at my home. These recipes are less elaborate unlike the layered and dum style recipes from Mughlai cuisine.

Old-style biryani are slow cooked meals that require time and effort. These are best saved for leisure days or weekends. And your vegetarian meal is ready in less than an hour compared to the long marination time required for chicken or mutton biryani.

Coming back to this dish, I am sharing two ways to make simple and fast soya biryani.

The first recipe uses soya chunks marinated in a spice paste and then cooked with curds or coconut milk and rice.

The second recipe is inspired by hyderabadi chicken keema biryani. Here you’ll be making a meaty, protein-rich vegetarian version with soya keema (granules), spices, curd and green peas. The rice is cooked separately and added to the soya and spices.

This soya biryani recipe is gluten free. Turn this vegan by subbing curd with lemon juice or using plain vegan/coconut yogurt.

soya keema biryani

A tasty and cooling raita complements both these soya biryanis. If you’re not a raita person, simply serve it with papads or papadums, sliced sweet onions, and lemon wedges.

You don’t need curries or stews as accompaniment as the biryani is wholesome and favorable on its own. Add a simple vegetable salad or side to make a richer and sumptuous dinner experience.

How to Make Soya Chunks Biryani (Stepwise photos)

Prepare the rice and soya chunks

1. Rinse and soak 1 heaped cup basmati rice or seeraga samba or South Indian kaima rice for 15 minutes or according to the packet instructions. You can use any long grain, non-sticky rice to make this biryani.

2. Add half cup soya chunks to 2 cups hot water and soak until they soften, for 10-15 minutes. In the meantime, prep the rest of the ingredients like getting herbs and spices ready.

3. Squeeze the frothy liquid out of the chunks or nuggets and rinse it well in cold water. Repeat this squeezing and rinsing process a couple of times and set aside the soya chunks.

soaked soya chunks in water

4. Drain all the water from the rice using a colander and set the rice aside.

Make the marinade

5. Grind the following spice into a paste with some water to use as marination for soya chunks.
½ cup mint (pudina) leaves
¼ cup coriander leaves
1-2 green chilis
1-inch ginger peeled
3 garlic cloves
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
Salt to taste

green paste for soya biryani

6. Add the green paste to a bowl along with ¾ to 1 teaspoon garam masala or biryani masala. You add ¼-½ tsp of meat masala along with garam masala to get the authentic taste of regular meat biryanis.

marinade for soya chunks

7. Marinate ½ cup of soya chunks in it for 15 minutes.

marinated soya chunks

Cook the biryani gravy

8. Heat 1-2 tablespoons neutral oil in a deep pan or pressure pan. You can use ghee instead for a flavorsome dish.

9. Lower the heat and add the following whole spices –

  • 1 small bay leaf (tej patta)
  • 1 star anise 2 green cardamoms
  • 3 cloves
  • 2-inch cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon shahi jeera or cumin seeds. You can also add 1 strand of mace and 4 black pepper corns or skip these two spices. Fry the spices until fragrant for a minute.
tempering spices for soya biryani

9. Now add the marinated soya chunks along with remaining paste. Sauté the mixture for 2 to 3 minutes on medium heat until the raw smell of ginger and garlic begins to vanish.

10. Reduce the heat to low and add ¼ teaspoon of turmeric and 2 tablespoons of plain curd/yogurt. This prevents the curd from breaking down or curdling. You can sub curd with 3 tablespoons of thick coconut milk or coconut yogurt for a vegan version.

11. Stir frequently as the soya chunks release moisture. Cook until spice mixture turns thick and starts to leave the sides of the pan.

12. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. If you’re using a pressure pan, reduce the amount of water to 1 ¾ cups.

13. Add drained rice and salt (start with ½ teaspoon). Taste and adjust seasonings.

14. Cover with lid and cook the biryani on low heat until all the water has been absorbed and the rice grains are tender and fluffy. If the pan lid isn’t tight, cover the lid with a damp kitchen towel to prevent the steam from escaping.

Cooking in pressure cooker

15. To fully cook biryani in a pressure pan, cover with the lid and add the whistle. Cook on low heat for 5-7 minutes and switch off before you hear the first whistle. Alternately you may cook on a medium heat, till you hear one whistle.

Remove from heat and let the soya chunks biryani remain covered for 15 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork and serve warm or hot with raita or onion slices and lemon wedges.

soya chunks biryani

Ingredients and substitutes

Keep soya chunks and spices handy and you can cook the biryani in a jiffy.

Basmati rice: Biryani and pulao require fragrant basmati rice to bring out the flavor and texture of the dish. Use samba seeraga rice or other long grain rice.

Soya chunks: This is the heart of this biryani variant. The soya chunks nuggets provide the meaty texture and necessary proteins to the dish.

Coriander leaves and Mint leaves: Fresh mint and coriander leaves are needed for the green marinade. They enhance the taste of the dish along with spices.

Garam and biryani masala: The bold flavors of this biryani come from the warm masala. Use homemade or store bought. Add a dash of meat masala to give your dish that something extra.

Whole spices: Shahi jeera, mace, cardamon, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf and star anise are signature flavoring elements of every biryani dish.

Plain Curd/ yogurt: While curd is used in biryani to steep the meat or vegetables, I use it here to provide that mild tanginess.

How to make soya keema biryani (stepwise photos)

Prepare the rice

1. Rinse 1½ cups of basmati rice or seeraga samba rice and drain in a colander.
Boil 6-8 cups of water in a large saucepan or soup pot. Add 1 teaspoon of oil or ghee along with ¼-½ teaspoon of salt. Then add 1 small bay leaf, ½ teaspoon shahi jeera, 4 cloves, 1 small cinnamon stick and 2 green cardamoms to the boiling water.

2. Now add the rinsed rice, reduce the heat to medium and cook the rice until al dente (tender but crunchy). The rice must have a bite to it.

3. Drain water from the rice using a colander set over a bowl. Save the water and set aside the rice.

Prepare the soya keema

4. Add textured soya granules (keema) to this hot water and soak for 10-15 minutes. If you don’t have granules, soak chunks. To save time, boil fresh water separately and soak the granules while the rice is cooking.

In the meantime, prep the rest of the ingredients like slicing the onions and getting curds, peas, lemon juice, herbs and spices ready.

5. Squeeze the frothy liquid out of the chunks or nuggets and rinse it well using cold water. Repeat this squeezing and rinsing process a couple of times and set aside the soya keema.

Prepare the soya biryani gravy

6. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil or ghee in a deep saucepan or soup pot. Reduce heat to medium and add ¼ teaspoon shahi jeera or cumin seeds, 1 small bay leaf (tej patta), 1 anise, 4 cloves, 1 small cinnamon stick and 2 green cardamoms. Pan fry spices for 30-60 seconds until fragrant.

7. Add ½ cup of sliced onions and 1 slit green chili. Mix and sauté until onions turns golden brown, around 3-4 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of ginger garlic paste. Stir well and sauté for 2 minutes.

8. Now add ¾ cup of soya granules (keema) and ½ cup of fresh green peas and sauté well for 3 minutes. You can use thawed frozen peas or soaked cashews if you don’t have fresh peas. If you’re using soaked chunks, coarsely grind them in a mixer or food processor to resemble keema or granules. Add this to the pan and cook.

9. Add 1 teaspoon of red chili powder, 1 teaspoon of garam masala, 1 tsp of meat masala and salt as required. Sauté for 2 minutes more. You can sub garam and meat masala with 1½-2 teaspoon of biryani masala.

10. Lower the heat to low and add ¼ cup of plain curd/yogurt and 2 tablespoons of. Substitute curd with ½ cup of thin coconut milk for a vegan version.

11. Cover and cook until the mixture thickens to a gravy. Taste for seasonings and add more as needed. Chop a handful of fresh mint (pudina) leaves and coriander leaves.

12. Now add a layer of cooked rice and mix to combine. Sprinkle over the biryani. Drizzle 1½ tablespoon of melted ghee over the biryani.

13. Cover with a tight lid. Cover this with aluminum foil or place a heavy object over the lid. Continue to cook the biryani on low heat for 5-7 minutes.

14. Remove from heat and let the biryani rest for 10-15 minutes. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and fluff the rice with a fork. Your soya biryani should have no excess moisture at the bottom. If you see more moisture simply cook for a few more minutes.

Serve warm or hot with raita or onion slices and lemon wedges.

soya chunks biryani soya keema biryani

Ingredients and substitutes

Make the soya keema in advance and you have a dish that come together in less than 30 minutes.

Basmati rice: Biryani and pulao require fragrant basmati rice to bring out the flavor and texture of the dish. Use samba seeraga rice or other long grain rice.

Soya chunks: This is the heart of this biryani variant. The soya chunks nuggets provide the meaty texture and necessary proteins to the dish.

Coriander leaves and Mint leaves: Fresh mint and coriander leaves are used as toppings. They enhance the taste of the dish along with spices.

Garam and biryani masala: The bold flavors of this biryani come from the warm masala. Use homemade or store bought. Add a dash of meat masala to give your dish that something extra.

Whole spices: Shahi jeera, mace, cardamon, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf and star anise are signature flavoring elements of every biryani dish.

Plain curd/ yogurt: While curd is used in biryani to steep the meat or vegetables, I use it her to provide that mild tanginess.

Other ingredients: To make a spicy and zesty keema, I am adding both red chili powder and green chili, and ginger garlic paste while cooking the biryani

Pro tips

  • Cook the rice and soya on low heat to ensure the spices and masala flavors are infused into the dish.
  • Use ghee or clarified butter to add a richness to the biryani.
  • Ensure the biryani pan is covered tightly to ensure the steam doesn’t escape.
  • Add thick coconut milk for a vegan version.
  • Add peas or carrots to make a healthier and tastier soya biryani

More Soya recipes
Soya chunks manchurian
Soya chunks curry
Meal maker fry

Recipe Card

soya chunks biryani

Soya Chunks Biryani | Meal Maker Biryani Recipe

Soya chunks biryani is a delicious Indian meal made with basmati rice, whole spices, ground spices and herbs. This post shared 2 ways to make meal maker biryani. You may check the post for the other method.
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Servings2
AuthorSwasthi
Diet : Gluten Free, Vegetarian

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • ½ cup soya chunks (meal maker)
  • 2 tablespoons curd (yogurt or 3 tbsp. thick coconut milk)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
  • ¾ to 1 teaspoon garam masala or biryani masala (adjust to taste)
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 cups water to cook in pot (1¾ cups for cooker)

Whole spices

  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 to 3 green cardamom
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 Inch cinnamon piece
  • 1 strand mace (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon shahi jeera or cumin seeds
  • 4 black pepper corn (optional)

To grind

  • ½ cup mint leaves pudina
  • ¼ cup coriander leaves (updated)
  • 1 to 2 green chilies
  • 1 Inch ginger pieces (Peeled)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 onion (medium )
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)

Instructions

Prepare Meal Maker

  • Soak soya chunks in warm water till they soften, squeeze off the excess water,
  • Wash with cold water and squeeze to remove excess water, repeat this twice. Make sure there is no water left in the chunks.
  • Add mint leaves, coriander leaves, onion, ginger, garlic, green chilies to a grinder. Grind to a smooth paste.
  • Marinate the soya chunks with this paste and garam masala. Set aside for at least 15 mins.
  • Soak rice for 15 mins and drain off the water and set aside.

How to Make Soya Chunks Biryani

  • Heat oil in a pot or cooker. Add whole spices and sauté till you get an aroma for about a minute.
  • Add the marinated soya chunks along with the ground paste. Saute on a low heat until the raw flavor in ginger garlic goes away.
  • Add curd or coconut milk and turmeric. Mix well. Cook till the mixture leaves the sides of the pan. The moisture evaporates and the masala turns thick.
  • Pour water and add salt. Taste test and more if required. Bring water to a rolling boil in a high heat.
  • Reduce the heat and add rice. Mix well.
  • Cover the pot or cooker. If cooking in a pot, cook covered on a low heat until the rice is fully cooked. If cooking in a pressure cooker, Regulate the flame to medium. Turn off the heat when you hear one whistle. Rest soya chunks biryani for 15 minutes and then fluff up with a fork.
  • Serve soya chunks biryani with any raita of your choice.

Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.

For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.

NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Soya Chunks Biryani | Meal Maker Biryani Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 572 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Fat 3g5%
Sodium 153mg7%
Potassium 1611mg46%
Carbohydrates 110g37%
Fiber 12g50%
Sugar 8g9%
Protein 27g54%
Vitamin A 2210IU44%
Vitamin C 179.8mg218%
Calcium 553mg55%
Iron 17.1mg95%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @SwasthisRecipes or tag #swasthisrecipes!

© Swasthi’s Recipes

This soya biryani post is from the archives, first published in February 2013. Updated and republished in July 2021.

Soya Chunks Biryani | Meal Maker Biryani

About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills.

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5 stars
I use your recipes very often and they turn out really good, along with this one. Thank you for sharing ☺️ !!

5 stars
This one was a huge hit with kids and an easy one.

5 stars
Hi Swasthi,

Like all your other recipes this is also perfect. Just wanted to ask what salt you use? I use both regular powder salt and rock salt but have to adjust quite a bit. Recipes like sweets etc come out perfectly for me. Hence I wanted to ask if you use any specific type of salt.

Oh ok ok. Thanks a lot 😊

Hey can i serve this dish to my 2 and half years boy

5 stars
Best dish

5 stars
Hi, I. tried this recipe today. It turned our really well and my little one loved it too. Keep sharing. Thank you 😊

5 stars
All your recipes are super good and I as a Punjabi get that authentic taste in all your recipes.♥️. Thanks for adding taste in my kitchen and my kids now love home made more than restaurant made.

Hi for some reason the marinade was extremely bitter especially after cooking. It was bitter even after i made it and became more bitter when cooking. I simply don’t understand why as there aren’t any bitter foods in it. Would you know why?

Thank you for the tips

The recipe mentions to use turmeric (step 6), but it doesn’t explain in what form ie grated, chopped etc.

Please can you help –

Many thanks!

5 stars
Very flavourful recipe … Swasthi… you are the best . All your recipes are so perfect ?

5 stars
I tried the several youtube briyani receipes but this one it turned out well and happy about that.. thanks swathi.

How much water shall I use to cook rice???…

Thank you… Definitely I ll try this recipe….

Can you suggest any ingredient other than coconut milk or curd

4 stars
Too good, Swasthi. Delectable! Thank you. 🙂

Being a southindian, i dont like the flavour of too much mint and corriander. So wat else can be added to marinate soya???? Still the receipe looks so promising…. ?

5 stars
it was awesome!

5 stars
I tried it today…..it was awesome same like mutton biryani.Thanku we love your recipes

5 stars
As I promised u, for posting my comments. Here I’m.

The taste of this biryani is very nice. I prepared this all my friends liked it.

Thanku for posting this floavour full biryani recipe.

5 stars
I’m gng to try this recipe soon & will know u the comment.

5 stars
Look so delicious recipe. Will try this soon.

Hi mam….2mrw v hv potluck in our school. I wanted 2 make pulav bt nt d regular one. Found diz soya chunks pulav nd seems 2 b easy. But d ques is can I use veggies lyk beans carrot nd gobi along wid soya chunks…..kindly reply. Thank u