Soya Chunks Curry Recipe (Meal Maker Curry)
Soya Chunks Curry aka Meal Maker Curry is a delicious Indian dish made with soya nuggets, spices, onions, tomatoes and herbs. This vegan mock meat curry is the ultimate comfort food! Super delicious, easy to make and is sure to please everyone. If you love something tasty and meaty without having to eat the real meat, this is absolutely for you! Serve it over rice, pulao, jeera rice or with roti, paratha, naan, it simply tastes the best with anything!
If you are new to Indian foods, you may be wondering
About Soya Chunks
Soya chunks are textured vegetable protein made from defatted soya flour, after extracting soya bean oil. Also known as nutri-nuggets, meal maker, soya nuggets, soya vadi, these are a kind of mock meat that is immensely popular in India.
They are considered healthy, protein rich and a good alternate to those who want to refrain from eating meat. Soya chunks are used in various dishes like curries, pulaos, fried rice, biryani, appetizers and stir fry dishes.
However since these are highly processed it is advisable to eat them in moderation. Also using organic soya chunks or at least NON-GMO is highly recommended.
How are soya chunks used?
Since these are dehydrated and defatted product they need to be soaked well in hot or warm water until softened. Then they are squeezed off to remove the soaked up water. Soya chunks are finally rinsed well a few times and then used.
My Soya Chunks Recipe
This soya chunks recipe will give you a simple yet delicious and flavorful curry made with just pantry staples. It is made much the same way as any other curry but with a higher amount of spices, as meal maker tastes bland and require more spices.
This curry has the typical South Indian flavors infused, with the addition of curry leaves. However you may easily tweak it to for North Indian flavors with the use of kasuri methi.
I have used coconut to make the gravy which can be easily substituted with cashews, soaked & peeled almonds or coconut milk. The color of your gravy will differ based on the ingredients used.
My Mom always made soya chunks gravy to serve as a side with vegetable pulao, ghee rice, peas pulao, biryani and kuska rice. Her soya chunks curry always had bay leaf and many other whole spices in it to mimic the strong non-vegetarian flavours.
So you may experiment with bay leaf, cloves and cinnamon for stronger flavors.
For more Soya chunks recipes or meal maker recipe, check
Soya chunks kurma
Meal maker stir fry
Meal maker fried rice
Soya chunks biryani
Meal maker keema curry
How To Make Soya Chunks Curry
Preparation the recipe
1. Bring 3 cups water to a boil in a large pot, add 1¼ cups soya chunks. You can add more or less it is just fine. Let sit till they turn soft. Meanwhile chop onions and prepare the rest of the ingredients. Do not leave the soya chunks for long time as some brands of chunks turn soggy.
When they soften, drain them and rinse. Squeeze off the excess water from the soya chunks. You will see frothy liquid and it is just normal. Repeat the rinse in fresh water and squeeze again. Repeat the rinse and squeezing off cycle a few times to remove the frothy liquid. This reduces the chances of tummy upset or digestive problems. Keep these aside in a bowl.
2. Pour 1½ to 2 tablespoons oil to a hot pan. Add cumin and mustard seeds. When they begin to splutter, add 1 sprig curry leaves, 1 slit chili and 1 cup onions. Saute until onions turn golden.
3. While the onions fry, grind 2 medium tomatoes (1 cup chopped) and 3 to 4 tablespoons coconut to a smooth paste without adding water. If you do not have coconut, use 1/3 cup thick coconut milk or add 10 cashews or 10 almonds or 2 tbsps almond meal or 2 tbsps roasted gram. Set this aside.
4. When the onions turn golden, add 1½ teaspoon ginger garlic paste. Saute until it begins to smell good.
5. Pour the tomato paste from the blender jar. Saute this until the mixture turns thick and the raw smell from tomatoes has gone.
6. Slide the onion tomato masala to a side and add
- soya chunks
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon red chili powder
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
7. Saute all of these till the meal maker blends well with the mixture for about 3 to 4 minutes.
8. Pour 1¼ cup water and mix well. If required add more water to make a slightly runny gravy. Bring it to a boil and reduce the heat. Cover and cook till the meal maker are soft cooked for about 5 to 8 minutes. If using larger chunks you may cook them a little longer. Taste test and add more salt. When the curry is done, you see it thickens and specks of oil float. Add coriander leaves & turn off the heat.
It is best to serve soya chunks curry after 1 to 2 hours of preparing as they soak up and absorb the flavors. Serve soya chunks curry with Veg biryani, pulao, jeera rice, ghee rice or biryani rice/ kuska.
Whole spices: I have used mustard and cumin seeds in the tempering. For flavour variations, you can instead use 1 bay leaf, 2 cardamoms, 2 cloves, 1 inch cinnamon piece and ½ teaspoon cumin seeds. If using these spices you may skip curry leaves.
Onion and tomato masala: For a smoother consistency of the curry, you can also saute onions until golden, followed by chopped ginger garlic for a minute. Then add tomatoes and coconut. Saute until mushy. Cool and blend. In this case you have to use half more cup of water.
Ground spices: I have also made this recipe several times with kitchen king masala, meat masala and chicken masala. You can try out with any of these to mimic flavors of a meat curry. You need to adjust the quantities as the spice levels vary.
Coconut: Substitute coconut with 1/3 cup thick coconut milk or cashews or almonds or even with fried gram (roasted chana dal). All work well and cashews are our favourite here.
For extra flavour, marinate soya chunks with ¾ teaspoon ginger garlic, ½ teaspoon red chilli powder & ½ teaspoon garam masala. You can rest them for 30 minutes to 1 day in the refrigerator. Saute the soya chunks for 5 minutes in 1 tablespoon oil first and Keep aside. Ensure the raw smell of ginger garlic has gone. Later add them to the simmering gravy.
Serving: Soya chunks curry is best served after 1 to 2 hours as soya chunks soak up and absorb the flavors. You can also make this ahead and refrigerate.
Combinations: Soya chunks and green peas is one of the popular combos in many households. You can add some boiled green peas or even potatoes to this recipe.
Soya chunks if eaten in moderation are healthy since they are a good source of plant protein. However eating it often makes it an unhealthy food as they are highly processed. Too much of protein can also cause stomach upsets.
No! Eat them only 1 to 2 times a week. If you are a meat eater, consume them in place of meat. Consult your dietician for a personalised advice.
Soya chunks can be used to make biryani, pulao, fried rice, curries, stir fry dishes, snacks like cutlets, patties and many more. You can also replace meat chunks in any recipe with soya chunks.
Ideally they need just a 10 to 15 minutes soak to hydrate and soften them. But if you are someone having a trouble digesting protein, then soak them in luke warm water for 3 to 4 hours. Oversoaking in boiling hot water makes them too mushy.
The main benefit of soya chunks is the ease of cooking. They taste delicious & make a good meat substitute. Also they are high protein.
Soya Chunks Curry Recipe (Meal Maker Curry)
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 1¼ cup soya chunks (meal maker / soya nuggets)
- 1½ to 2 tablespoons Oil
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
- 1 pinch mustard (optional)
- 1 sprig curry leaves or bay leaf
- 1 cup onions finely chopped (1 large or 2 medium)
- 1 green chili slit (optional)
- 1½ teaspoon ginger garlic paste
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon red chili powder (adjust to taste)
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon garam masala or meat masala or chicken masala
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon coriander powder (optional)
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
- 2 tablespoons coriander leaves finely chopped
- 1 cup tomatoes (2 large)
- 3 to 4 tablespoons coconut (optional, or 10 cashews or ⅓ cup thick coconut milk)
- Bring 3 cups water to a boil, switch off the stove.
- Add soya chunks and leave them in hot water till they soften.
- Debris settles down, discard the water and squeeze off the water from the chunks.
- Rinse them in cold water twice and repeat squeezing off the excess water. You will get frothy water from the soya chunks, it is just normal. Set this aside for later use.
- If you are using large chunks you can cut each one to two.
- Grind the tomatoes and coconut to a smooth paste.
How to make Soya Chunks Curry
- Heat oil in a pan. Then add mustard and cumin seeds.
- When they begin to splutter add curry leaves, onions and green chilies.
- Fry till the onions turn golden.
- Add ginger garlic paste and fry till the raw smell disappears.
- Add the tomato and coconut paste.
- Fry till it thickens and begins to leave the sides of the pan.
- Add red chili powder, garam masala, coriander powder, and salt.
- Saute everything well until the spices begin to smell good, for about 3 mins.
- Next transfer the soya chunks. Saute them for 3 minutes stirring often, till the meal maker are coated well in the masala.
- Pour 1¼ cup water and mix well. Bring it to a boil & simmer. If the curry is too thick add more water.
- Cook on a low flame for about 5 to 8 minutes, till soya chunks are cooked well. The oil begins to float on top when the curry is done. Add coriander leaves and mix. Turn off the heat & let rest for at least an hour so the soya chunks soak up the flavors well.
- Serve soya chunks curry with plain rice, variety rice or roti. We usually squeeze some lemon juice and serve with raw onions, cucumber and carrot slices on the side.
- You can replace garam masala with kitchen king masala or meat masala. For North Indian flavors simply add 1 teaspoon kasuri methi at the last step and use bay leaf instead of curry leaves.
- It is important to use coconut or cashews as it thickens and won’t let water separate in the gravy. If you do not have coconut you can use ⅓ cup thick coconut milk. Blend it with tomatoes. Other options are to use roasted gram (roasted chana dal).
- You can also marinate soya chunks with ¾ teaspoon ginger garlic, ½ teaspoon red chilli powder and ½ teaspoon garam masala. You can rest them for 30 minutes to 1 day in the refrigerator. Saute the soya chunks for 5 minutes in 1 tablespoon oil first and Keep aside. Later add them to the simmering gravy.
- Soya chunks , potatoes and green peas make a very good combination. You can add about ½ to ¾ cup green peas and 1 medium boiled and diced potato.
- For a healthier and more nutritious dish you can add carrots, peas, cauliflower and bell peppers to the curry. Saute the veggies separately or grill them in the oven or air fry them. Add them to the gravy once it almost done. In this case reduce the soya chunks to 3/4 cup.
- Soya chunks curry is best served after 1 to 2 hours as soya chunks soak up and absorb the flavors. You can also make this ahead and refrigerate.
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)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
This soya chunks recipe is from the Archives. First published in October 2014. Updated and republished in May 2021.
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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I used 2 teaspoons of meat masala to make this soya chunks curry. My family thought I was cooking meat. Thank you for the recipe. It turned out wonderful.
My first time cooking soya chunks and this tasted delicious. Thank you for the recipe.
Glad to know Sophie. Thanks for trying
Thank you. This was very delicious.
Delicious recipe. We added 2 potatoes and 4 boiled eggs. My guests said it tasted fantastic. Thank you
Glad to know! Thank you
Tried this recipe. Turned out very delicious.
Can we use meat or chicken masala for vegetarians
yes you can use if it is from an Indian brand. There is no meat product included in it
I tried it and the recipe was so yummy
Glad to know Neelima
Do we need to add some salt in water for boiling water? Great recipe tho!
I don’t add. If you want you may add salt. Some people also add whole spices and milk so they soak up the flavors.
The recipe for the soya chunk curry was easy to follow. It was very helpful in making a delicious dish – we relished it. ?
Glad to know Rodney
It was so yummy! Best soya recipe I’ve ever seen. I reduced the amount of chilli powder, corriander and garam masala by half since my mother can’t eat spicy foods and it still turned out amazing due to that sweet tomato-cashew flavour!
Glad it turned out yummy!
Tried this recipe. It was simply delicious. Loved all the recipes that I have tried so far. Thanks for sharing.
Glad to know!
Superb posts Swasthi. I enjoy cooking with your recipes. They are easy to follow and outcome is exactly like your pictures. I recommend it to my friends and kids. Thank you for sharing, it has been a great help during the lockdown.
That was absolutely amazing! Best curry dish have made in a long time(if ever)!
I used coconut flour and dessicated as all I had, and added a spoon of tomato puree to the mix.
Forgot to add curry leaves til the end, but all good.
I soaked the soya in hot water with half a veg stock cube, and garlic, ginger and dried red chilli flakes as all I had. Cooked on the stove at the end for about 20 mins, low heat, lid on.
Oh I forgot- I also added some diced aubergine and mushroom to the onion mix, and cooked it down til all a bit caramelised and fragrant.
So delicious – thank you. Served with chapatis made with sourdough starter discard, a bit of wholemeal flour and coconut flour, and nigella seeds. YUM!!!
Thank you! Wow! Love all those additions of mushrooms and eggplants. Glad it turned out delicious. Thanks again
Well, like you had diwali recipes etc, I am looking for “lockdown” recipes, made mainly of dry rations, rice, daal, rajma, matki etc, or pasta and instant noodles (every bachelors favourite standby) also onions and potatoes which can be stored for long. Basically anything that has a long shelf life, without need for fresh veggies.
Yes I understood. I don’t have any such collection on the blog. You can actually use the search bar on the blog. Key in the ingredients you have. you will get the results. Hope this helps
I just love your cooking and I’m a great fan and follower of you and at times I add my own twist God bless keep up the cooking
Happy to know!
Thank you so much!
Actually I am a novice. Tried looking for recipes because of the corona lockdown, when I was forced to cook for myself. Now one more question. Since soya chunks, pasta etc have loong shelf life, they can always be kept at home in sufficient quantities, (dry rations) and also recipes should be with ingredients which are long lasting products, unlike fresh veggies, which need to be bought fresh. Any further clarifications will be most helpful
If you have onions and tomatoes you can make many foods using soya chunks, dal, chana, rajma, whole moong (green gram), makhana, matki etc. You can also sprout matki and green gram to replace your fresh veggies. I didn’t get your question. Are you looking for recipes using staples? Let me know which ingredients you have. I can help you find a recipe.
In case you are looking for pasta – check these simple pasta recipes.
I am new at cooking and all your recipes help me to make them the way it should be. The step by step points really helps. Thank you 🙂
You are welcome! Glad you like the recipes!
I liked the gravy… Soya tasted bland.. I think keeping the soya chunks mixed in spices after squeezing out water would make it tastier..
Yes soya chunks always taste bland. So it is good to rest them for 1 to 2 hours in the gravy after preparing. Thanks for the suggestion. I have put your tip as a note in the recipe.
I liked the taste .it was interesting cooking with both mustard seed and cumin seed as well as curry leaves and coriander leaves.
Great recipe Swasthi! ? I used dessicated coconut n it turned out perfect even then! Am a big fan of ur blog….all ur Indian recipes r very doable!
Glad your curry turned out good. Thank you so much!