Sumptuous soya for all

Soya nuggets have long been a favourite. The very fact that boiled nuggets turn spongy, all ready to absorb any flavour you dunk them in, make them a delight to cook.

Biting into one of the nuggets and letting the absorbed juices explode in your mouth can be a foodie’s delight. They are odourless and tasteless by themselves, presenting to every cook a blank canvas to paint on.

These nuggets are made like our Indian vadis, using soy flour - dried in the sun and used as per need. Their nutritional benefits are endless. They are an excellent source of vegetable protein. Soya being rich in fibre is great for people with weight issues. They contain vitamins and minerals necessary for children. They are one of the best non-fish sources of essential omega-3 fatty acids which help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Plus, they are unproblematic for diabetics too.

Fortunately, their culinary uses are as vast as their health benefits. Chef Madan Pujari of Exotica restaurant says, “The most common dish made with soya is soya ki subzi. All you have to do is soak the soya chunks in boiled salted water beforehand and then fry it in oil with cumin seeds, garlic-ginger paste, cloves, turmeric, tomato puree, chilli powder, besan, curd and milk. It is generally cooked with matar (peas) but some people add carrots, capsicums and cauliflowers too.”

Another healthy soya dish is Oriental Soya and Babycorn Stir-fry. After soaking the soya nuggets, heat oil in a pan, add spring onion whites and garlic. When the onions turn golden brown, put in mushrooms, soya nuggets, babycorn and capsicum and cook for a few minutes. Add soya sauce, tomato-chilli sauce, sugar, salt and lastly spring onion greens.

A traditional soya favourite is Soya Chunks and Carrot Pulao. Chef Madan says, “This is the most wholesome soya-rice meal. Soak soya chunks in warm water. Heat your pressure cooker and add oil followed by butter. In it, fry ginger-garlic paste, bay leaves, onion, soya chunks and carrot pieces. Wash the rice and put it in the cooker. Add garam masala, turmeric powder, salt and chilly powder as per taste. Now put in water, mix all and close the cooker. Serve with salad or yoghurt.”

Of course, who can forget the delicious soya chaaps. Madan says, “People think that chaaps are a wedding speciality and very difficult to make but actually they are most easy to prepare at home. Just get soya sticks, soak in water and fry in oil. Then prepare a gravy using the same spices as in soya subzi and cook the sticks in it. You can also add whisked cream and make it a creamy soya chaap. This is the tastiest soya dish ever. You will forget all about mutton and chicken.”  So what are you waiting for?

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