Creamy, aromatic, and surprisingly sweet – those are just some of the ways to describe this rich dish. Originally made with chicken and cashews, I transformed the recipe into one that uses soya chunks instead of chicken, and walnuts instead of cashews. The result is a nuttier and creamier vegan delight!
What are soya chunks?
Soya chunks are a common meat substitute. According to this Wikipedia page, the ingredient used to make soya chunks is the byproduct of soy oil production, so basically all the protein rich solids left after the fat has been extracted. These solids can be made into many different shapes and sizes and some common products are texturized vegetable protein (TVP), soya curls and soya chunks. All these products usually require some soaking in water or a brief dip in a pot of boiling water to rehydrate them as they are packaged an sold dry.
Where do you find soya chunks?
Most large grocery store chains in the USA don’t carry soya chunks. This is a surprise since we could easily find them in my small home town in Serbia when we visited last summer! But in the US, you either need to order them through Amazon, or visit an South Asian grocery store. The price at my local Indian grocery store is about $2-3 for a 200 g box, which is enough to make a big pot of dinner to feed 6-8 people. Amazing, isn’t it?
Let the food processor do all the work
The recipe calls for a range and of ingredients, and quite a few spices. But the preparation itself is super easy. The sauce comes together in a food processor and then it slowly cooks and simmers with the rest of the ingredients. If you prefer a chunky sauce, dial down the length of processing, and if you prefer a smooth sauce keep processing and add a bit of water as you go for smoother consistency.
This dish is rich and complex, and it’s best served with simple basmati rice. Enjoy!
Vegan “Chicken” in a Nut Sauce
What you’ll need:
200 g soya chunks
2 yellow onions, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sliced ginger
1 cup walnuts
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup yogurt (almond, cashew or any other one you like)
1/2 lemon, juice only
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup golden raisins (sultanas)
10 oz white mushrooms, quartered
1/2-1 cup water, to taste
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, and more for garnish
What you’ll do:
- Rehydrate soya chunks according to instructions on the box. This will usually require either leaving them in some boiling water for 3-5 minutes or soaking them for a while.
- Drain and rinse the soaked chunks. Squeeze them gently to shake a bit of excess liquid off, but don’t squeeze them dry. That will make them rubbery and too chewy. You want the chunks to be soft and moist. Set aside.
- Place onions, garlic, ginger, walnuts, tomato paste, spices, oil, lemon juice, and yogurt into a food processor, and process until a smooth sauce forms.
- Place a large, heavy pot, like a Dutch oven, over the medium high heat and bring to temperature. Add the sauce and cook for 5 minutes with frequent stirring.
- Add the mushrooms and mix well. Cook for another 5 minutes then add the soya chunks. Mix well again, and check if any water is needed. You want the sauce to be dense, but still flowing so adjust the liquid accordingly.
- Add the golden raisins and simmer, covered, for another 10-15 minutes.
- Serve over some rice and sprinkled with fresh cilantro.
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