Soya Chunks Kurma also known as Meal Maker Kurma is a delicious South Indian dish of curried soya nuggets in a spicy and flavorsome kurma gravy. Kurma is the South Indian version of the North Indian/ Mughalai Korma and is a popular dish made with mixed vegetables or meat. This soya chunks kurma is one such variation from my Mom’s kitchen, where she would replace veggies and meat with soya chunks. This meal maker kurma goes well with flavored rice varieties like Pulao, Ghee rice, Jeera rice, roti, chapathi or paratha.
This dish can be made ahead and in fact tastes best after resting for a few hours as in the case of meat. So you can very well prepare this 2 days ahead, refrigerate and then reheat to serve.
Soya chunks, known by different names such as Soya Nuggets, Soya Wadi & Meal maker is a vegetable textured protein made with defatted soya flour. As the name says, these are in the form of chunks and granules. The chunks are also known as nuggets and the granules as soya keema.
It is identified as a great mock meat in India and eaten in various forms such as curries, kebabs, burger patties, pakoras etc.
Since Meal maker is a highly processed food, it is ideal to eat this in moderation and wherever possible please use organic soya products only.
About Soya Chunks Kurma
Back to this soya chunks kurma, the base of the kurma is made with onions, tomatoes, coconut and white poppy (optional). In South India, most kurma recipes used poppy seeds for the texture and milk aroma it imparts to the dish.
For this post, I shot the pictures while I was in India in my Mom’s place so I used poppy seeds and fresh coconut. However I am not accessible to poppy seeds in Singapore so I always make this dish with coconut milk or just coconut & sometimes with a few cashews as well. For the replacement, you can also use plain yogurt that’s not sour.
To keep the recipe simple, I have not used any green peas or potatoes. But they add another layer of flavor to the dish so feel free to use half cup green peas or 2 medium potatoes (diced).
How to Make Soya Chunks Kurma (Stepwise Photos)
For the ingredient quantities, please scroll down to the recipe card. Gather all your ingredients and follow the steps here.
1. Add soya chunks to hot water and let them soak till they soften. Squeeze up the water and rinse them in water and squeeze off excess water. If desired you can chop each chunk to 2 pieces.
2. Add soya, salt, ginger garlic paste, red chili powder, garam masala and lemon juice to a bowl and marinate the soya chunks. Keep this aside till we use.
3. This step can be skipped if using yogurt or coconut milk alone for the kurma. If using poppy seeds, dry roast or sundry them till crunchy. Add poppy seeds or cashew nuts along with saunf to a blender jar and powder them finely first and then add the coconut and make a fine paste with little water. Set this aside. If you do not have a good blender, don’t use poppy seeds.
Make Kurma Gravy
4. Heat a pan with oil, add bay leaf, cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon, shahi jeera or jeera and star anise. You can skip using star anise, if you don’t have.
5. When the spices sizzle, add onions, chilies and fry till they turn golden.
6. Add tomatoes. My tomatoes were not juicy, so I sprinkled little water and salt to soften them. Cook till the tomatoes turn mushy.
7. Add the marinated chunks along with mint and coriander leaves. Fry till the raw ginger garlic smell vanishes, for about 5 minutes on a low to medium flame. I used a spoon oil to prevent them from burning at this stage.
8. Add the ground coconut paste. If using yogurt, Pour it to a bowl first. Take a few tablespoons of the onion tomato masala to the yogurt, whisk it well. Pour that to the pot. Add saunf, garam masala and coriander powder to a blender jar and powder it, an easy way to powder little saunf.
9. Add red chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder and fry again for 3 to 5 minutes or till you get a good aroma of the masala.
10. Pour water as needed to get a gravy. Do not add too much water, it will thin down the soya chunks kurma. Check the salt and add if needed. If using only yogurt, you may not need much water. Cover and cook till the chunks are soft and the gravy turns thick enough to suit your taste. You will see traces of oil over the kurma when it is done.
Serve soya chunks kurma with biryani, pulao, phulka or chapathi.
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- ½ cup onions finely chopped
- 1 tomato medium sized , chopped
- 1 to 2 green chili chopped
- 1 tbsps coriander leaves chopped
- 1 tbsp mint leaves / pudina, chopped
- 1/8 tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp garam masala
- ¼ to ½ tsp red chili powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- Salt as needed
- 2 to 3 tbsp Oil
To grind (or ½ cup thick coconut milk or yogurt, refer notes)
- 2 tbsp Poppy seeds or cashews (optional)
- 2 to 3 tbsp Grated coconut
- ½ tsp saunf / fennel seeds
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ star flower / star anise (optional)
- ½ tsp shahi jeera or cumin / jeera
- 1 cinnamon stick / dalchini, small
- 4 cloves / laung
- 2 green cardamoms / elaichi
- Heat 3 to 4 cups water, add soya chunks. Switch off the stove. Leave them to soften for about 10 minutes.
- Squeeze off the water and rinse them in lot of water. Repeat squeezing them. Make sure there is no water left in the chunks. If you desire you can cut the chunks to half or use them as it is.
- Marinate them with 1 tsp ginger garlic paste, 1/4 tsp garam masala, 1/4 tsp red chili powder, salt and lemon juice. Set this aside until needed.
- Chop onions, tomatoes, set them aside.
- If using poppy seeds, dry roast them until crunchy. Powder them first with saunf and then add the coconut with very little water to make a thick paste.
- Heat a pan with oil, add the dry spices.
- When they begin to sizzle, add onions and green chilies. Fry till the onions turn golden.
- Add tomato and fry till the tomato turns mushy. If needed sprinkle water to cook tomatoes.
- Add marinated soya chunks, coriander and mint leaves. Fry everything well till the raw smell of the ginger garlic goes away.
- Stir well to prevent burning. If needed use little more oil.
- Add the ground coconut paste or coconut milk. (If using yogurt, mix a few tablespoons of onion tomato masala to the yogurt, whisk it well and pour it to the pot.)
- Then add red chili powder, garam masala, coriander powder. Mix and fry well for about 3 to 5 minutes, till you begin to get a nice aroma.
- Pour water just enough to make a good amount of kurma gravy. Adjust salt as needed.
- Simmer and cook till you get the desired consistency of gravy, for about 5 minutes. You will see traces of oil over the kurma when the gravy is done.
- Garnish soya chunks kurma with coriander leaves. Serve with rice or roti.
- The ingredients under “to grind” can be skipped and only yogurt can be used. If using yogurt, powder saunf and use it with the garam masala. To easily powder saunf, add it to a blender along with the garam masala and make a fine powder.
- Make sure you don’t use sour yogurt/ curd. It will ruin the dish.
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)
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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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