I am a vegetarian while my hubby is a non vegetarian. A lot of people tell me that I should switch to being a non vegetarian (I was one before!) as my diet will be deficient in proteins. This is where the marvelous soy protein comes in to prove them all wrong. Well, they are probably right to some extent as meat offers a lot of protein. But soy is definitely not behind; though the amount of protein you get through soy largely depends on whether it is whole grain and the form it is used in.
The Biological Value scale is a common method used in nutrition to determine how much protein a food has. It basically refers to the nitrogen retention (since proteins contain nitrogen in the form of amines...remember our basic Chemistry classes in school...I still have no clue how I passed the subject!) which in turn gives the protein quality. Soybean protein isolate has a biological value of 74, whole soybean has a biological value of 96, and soy milk 91 (*source: Wikepedia). Soy bean protein is also termed as a 'complete protein' since it provides the body with all the essential amino acids.
So what are soy chunks? Soy chunks are texturized soy proteins that are made by extruding dough made from soy flour through a die; which gives it the shape: granules, chunks, flakes etc and then dried in an oven. I usually cook soy chunks in a spicy garam masala and saute it till it becomes very dry. I must admit I am not a great fan of soy and I have it only to supplement my diet with proteins. I came across this recipe for soy biryani on Sanjeev Kapoor's site (one of my favourite) but I ended up making soy masala instead! Adding milk gives it a creamy texture and flavour which is quite good. So here goes, the first recipe I share on this blog. Hope you like it!
Soy Chunk with Green Peas: Recipe
(Source - Sanjeev Kapoor)
- Soy chunks - 1 cup
- Cinnamon - 1" stick
- Green Cardomom - 3
- Cloves - 3 to 4
- Cumin Seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
- Mace (Javitri) - 1/2" piece
- Onions chopped - 2 medium
- Tomatoes chopped - 3 large
- Ginger paste - 1 tablespoon
- Garlic paste - 1 tablespoon
- Coriander powder - 1 tablespoon
- Turmeric powder - 1/4 teaspoon
- Red chilli powder - 1 1/2 teaspoon
- Green chillies chopped - 2 to 3
- Salt - to taste
- Green peas (add some water and microwave for about 3 mins on high) - 1 cup
- Garam masala powder - 1 teaspoon
- Milk - 3 to 4 tablespoons or as required.
- Coriander chopped - for garnish
- Soak soy chunks in hot water for about half an hour. Squeeze the water out and cut each piece into half (you can leave it whole if they are small chunks). Add few teaspoons of milk and keep aside.
- Heat ghee in a thick-bottomed pan, add cinnamon, cardamoms, cloves, mace, and cumin seeds.
- When they begin to change colour, add chopped onions and continue to sauté. (I always add a bit of salt to sweat the onions. This helps to cook them faster.)
- Add ginger paste, garlic paste and continue to sauté.
- Add coriander powder, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and tomatoes. Mix and sauté. Add salt and mix. Saute till it forms a good gravy and the oil begins to separate out.
- Add soaked soya chunks, green peas and green chillies. Add remaining milk to form a creamy consistency. (Adjust according to the consistency you want. I like it a bit dry). Cover and cook.
- Keep stirring from time to time. When the soy chunks are cooked to your liking, garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot. Goes well with rotis or plain rice.