Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The gold nugget of nutrition- "Soyabean"

Mughlai Tofu

As health and diet consciousness increases among Indians, the earlier neglected soyabean is now emerging in the limelight! Not surprising, considering its immense nutritional benefits. Soya is often spurned by many because of its rather bland taste, but as you explore the possibilities of including it in your diet, you come to know that it is an extremely versatile ingredient that lends itself to several recipes! In fact, gone are the days when soya was merely used by vegetarians as a substitute for meat, because of its texture and flavour.

Health food stores and other provision stores offer a range of soya products ranging from whole beans, flour, milk, tofu and sauce to textured soya protein in the form of granules and nuggets. These can be used to substitute several fatty products, so as to reduce the calorie count and increase the health benefits of a recipe. Soya bean, because of its high nutrient content and its benefits has become the “gold nugget of nutrition” today.

Besides being loaded with nutrients, soya beans contain certain chemical compounds called ‘Phytochemicals’ (chemicals derived from plants) that are known to play a significant role in fighting cancers, promoting bone health, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and controlling blood sugar levels. It can reduce menopausal symptoms too.

Our daily diet can be given a health boost simply by incorporating this nutrition-filled gold nugget and the wide range of its products into vegetables preparations, soups, salads, chapatis, rice preparations etc. If you have been consuming soya beans keep doing so, if not then start now!

You can start with these interesting recipes which are sure to pleasantly surprise you with their taste and well as nutritional benefits….


The magic touch of the Mughals transforms tofu into a royal treat! The white paste is the key ingredient of this delicacy as it imparts the required taste and rich texture. Make sure you soak the seeds in warm water as it softens and forms a smooth paste on grinding. You can also make white paste using cashewnuts, poppy seeds and watermelon seeds if you do not like onions. The spices and pastes used are unique to this gravy… so, go ahead and binge on this rich treat!

Preparation time: 10 minutes. Cooking time: 20 minutes. Serves 4.

½ cup tofu (bean curd/ soya paneer) cubes
¼ cup boiled green peas
¼ cup boiled and cubed carrots

For the white paste (makes approx. ¼ cup)
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tsp poppy seeds (khus-khus)
2 tsp watermelon seeds (charmagaz)

For the gravy
2 tbsp soya oil
1 green chili, slit
½ tsp chilli powder
¼ tsp fennel seeds (saunf) powder
1/8 tsp cardamom (elaichi) powder
½ tsp garam masala
Salt to taste
3 tbsp fresh cream (malai)

Other ingredients
2 tbsp chopped coriander (dhania) for the garnish

For the white paste
1.Combine together the onions, poppy seeds, watermelon seeds and ½ cup water and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes or till they become soft.
2.Remove from the flame and keep aside to cool.
3.When cool, blend in a mixer to a smooth paste. Keep aside.

For the gravy
1.Heat the soya oil in a kadhai, add the white paste and green chilli and sauté till the paste turns golden brown in colour.
2.Add the chilli powder, fennel seeds powder, cardamom powder, garam masala and salt and mix well.
3.Cook for 5 minutes while stirring continuously.
4.Add the tofu, green peas, carrots, cream and ¾ cup of water, mix well and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
Serve hot garnished with coriander.


The goodness of soya, garlic and spinach is reinforced in these tikkis. Certain compounds in garlic inhibit cholesterol synthesis in the body, helping to maintain normal blood cholesterol levels.

Preparation Time : 10 minutes. Cooking Time : 20 minutes. Makes 6 tikkis.

¼ cup soya granules, coarsely grinded
1 cup blanched and chopped spinach (palak)
¼ cup chopped coriander
1 teaspoon ginger-green chilli paste
½ teaspoon chopped garlic
2 tablespoons powdered roasted chana dal (daria)
2 tablespoons besan (Bengal gram) flour
Salt to taste

Other ingredients
1 teaspoon oil for cooking

1. Soak the soya granules in lukewarm water for ½ an hour. Squeeze out the water. Keep aside.
2. In a bowl, mix the soya granules with all the other ingredients. Sprinkle a little water and mix well.
3. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and shape them into flat tikkis (approx. 1½" in diameter).
4. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and cook the tikkis on both sides till they are golden brown in colour.
5. Serve hot.

Soya Methi Masala

A low calorie subzi for health freaks! Relish it with phulkas or with any other roti or paratha and cut down on your fat intake. This subzi doles out a double dose of health as it is not only low cal but also made using soya oil, soya granules, fenugreek etc. which are high in vitamin A and calcium. Low fat milk (99.7% fat free) is easily available in the market, however you can make skimmed milk (low fat milk) at home by boiling the milk and removing the cream; repeat this twice and your skimmed milk is ready. Milk helps to pep up the flavour of this dish as well as moistens the subzi. Relish it hot with phulkas, page…. or soya puris, page…. If the subzi becomes dry after some time, add milk and reheat.

Preparation time: 10 minutes. Cooking time: 20 minutes. Serves 4.

1 tbsp soya oil
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
½ cup chopped onions
1 tsp ginger-green chilli paste
1 cup soaked soya granules, page....
1½ cups chopped fenugreek leaves (methi)
½ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala
Salt to taste
½ cup boiled green peas
2 tbsp low fat milk (99.7% fat-free readily available in the market)
¼ cup chopped tomatoes and 2 tbsp chopped coriander (dhania) for the garnish

1.Heat the soya oil in a non-stick kadhai and add the cumin seeds.
2.When the seeds crackle, add the onions and ginger-green chilli paste and sauté till the onions turn light brown in colour.
3.Add the soya granules and fenugreek leaves and sauté for 6 to 7 minutes.
4.Add the turmeric powder, chilli powder, garam masala and salt and mix well and cook for 1 minute. Sprinkle a little water if the mixture is dry.
5.Add the green peas and milk, mix well and cook for another minute.
Serve hot garnished with tomatoes and coriander.


Manimau said...

Hello Tarla ji

I am a great fan of yours and i hav always tried my hand at your recipes. I have made a mini collection of some of your recipes and all of them are great!
Heartiest Congratulations on being awarded PADMASHRI.

zlamushka said...

Hi Tarla,

I really want to try the soy bean soupy curry. But I cannot handle cream very well, it is way too heavy. Do you think a thick joghurt or something else would work as a substitute?

thank you very much in advance

Tarla Dalal said...

Dear zlamushka,

well I am not aware about the recipe you are using...however if you wish to replace the cream you can do so with low fat cream or beaten yoghurt (curds)mixed with milk. another way to do so is by adding milk and corn flour mixture it adds the required creamy texture and thickness too. try any of these ways and relish the soya curry....do write back...

Dagny said...

Thanks for sharing such wonderful recipes with us mam. I have been watching your shows since childhood and its an honour to thank you personally today.

zlamushka said...

Hi Tarla,

thank you very much for your answer. I was referring to yours Mughlai Tofu. I think I ll try yoghurt eith soy milk.. I ll let you know how it went :)

manjit said...

Hello Tarla Ji,

Please advise in MUGHLAI TOFU you have mentioned green peas and carrots in ingrediants but when can we add the same.


manjit said...

Tarla ji,

Please also advise the recipe for soya champ.

Thanks in advance.


Tarla Dalal said...

Dear Manjit,

Thank you for your interest in our website. you have to add green peas and carrots while you are adding tofu.
Keep blogging...

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Really liked the simple Vegetable Makhanwala and the Mixed Dal recipes. I'm gonna surely try them the coming week and let you know!

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