So I had this box of soyabeans lying forlorn on my kitchen shelf, and rightfully so, because it had been ignored for long . Yes, I had again and again procrastinated cooking with soyabeans. Until the expiry date was too close, and the pantry too empty to cook anything else. And lo and behold, Soyabean Biryani was born
Ok, enough of the poetic touch . Well, soyabean biryani might not be such a rare dish to come across; it’s served in my office cafeteria after all; although it’s too dry and tasteless to inspire anyone.However, I feel that soyabeans as an ingredient has not been used to it’s potential in Indian cuisine, even though it has several nutrition benefits. Alas, vegetarians find it too meaty , and ironically, non-vegetarians find it not meaty enough.
In my recipe, I have stuck to the traditional biryani cooking process. First, the soyabeans are left to soak in warm water for around 10 minutes and then removed and gently squeezed to release extra water.To cook the biryani, whole spices are roasted in ghee, soaked basmati rice is then added and flavoured with any seasoning of one’s choice. My favourite combination for the seasoning is garam masala, cinnamon powder, coconut powder,nutmeg shavings and salt.One can even add the off-the-counter biryani masala powder, however that drastically changes the colour of the biryani. The rice is then mixed with soyabeans and allowed to cook in water, and towards the final stages, little milk is added (optional) to give a soft texture to the rice.The rice is then garnished with fried onion slices.
While cooking this dish, it’s important to take care that we don’t add too many soyabeans. When cooked, soyabeans expand in size and suddenly look like twice the quantity. I have fallen into this trap before and this prompted the following tongue-in-cheek comment from my dad
Beta, this dish is supposed to be Rice with Soyabeans or Soyabeans with Rice??
Let’s celebrate the unassuming soyabeans, I say!!