Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Soya Peas Pulao on a PlayDay


Little S’s friend was to come over after school to spend an evening with her. They are in the same pre-school and same class and I do not understand their need to spend still more time after school together. Both of them had been pestering me about visiting each other’s home for some time now and finally I called up her Mom and we decided to do it once a week.

The weather having turned a beautiful warm a week back, I had planned to take them to the park in the afternoon and let them run free. But come the day of the meet and it was chilly, so the poor kids & of course poor me, had to be stuck inside the house. They played on their own though and didn’t bother me except for occasional call for snacks. Four year olds can be angels if they want.

Now this little friend speaks Kannada(language spoken by natives of Karnataka a state in Sothern India) at home and last time she was visiting, she had asked for Rice & Tuppa for dinner. Of course I didn’t understand and had plied her with Rice, dal, vegetables and yogurt. Only later did her mom tell me that she loves rice & ghee and that is what she had wanted.

This time I tried to play safe and asked Little S what her friend liked to eat. The morning of the their play-day she declared “Friend S likes Pulao”

So be it I thought, easy for me and convenient for the kids to eat too. I decided on a Soya Peas Pulao with soya granules instead of the chunks. I loosely followed Tarla Dalal's recipe. Since Friend S was a eggatarian, I served it with boiled eggs which were lightly fried to a golden yellow. This was a complete meal delicious, protein rich and yet very easy. Served with a bowl of plain yogurt on the side, there was little more the kids will ask for. Ideal to be packed for a school lunch also.

Little S finished of her plate happily while I had to force friend S to eat, though she said she liked it. Friend S turned out to be unfamiliar with boiled eggs though and was pretty much taken by the egg white, hated yolk. She likes omlettes, more homework to be done next time.

When little friend S's Mom came to pick her up, she brought me some steaming Upma from her kitchen, now this kind of play days I like.

Soy Peas Pulao

What You Need

Uncooked Rice ~ 1 cup
Soya granules ~ ¼ cup of Nutrela Soya Granules(Note: Next time I am going to up this amount)
Green peas (fresh or frozen) ~ ¼ cup

For tempering

Cumin seeds (jeera) ~ ½ teaspoon
Cinnamon (dalchini) ~ 1/2" stick
Cloves (lavang) ~ 2
Bay leaf ~ 1
Cardamom (elaichi) ~ 2

For masala

Onions ~ ½ cup chopped
Tomatoes ~ ½ cup chopped
Ginger ~ ½ “ grated

Turmeric powder (haldi) ~ ¼ teaspoon

Garam masala ~ ¼ teaspoon
Coriander (dhania) powder ~ ½ tsp (You can use 1 tsp of this, but I kept it low)
Fennel (saunf) Powder ~ ¼ tsp

Oil ~ to cook
Ghee ~ ½ - 1 tsp to smear the rice (optional)
salt to taste

To be ground into a chilli-garlic paste – I did not use this since the pulao was intended for kids

3 cloves garlic
3 whole red chillies

How I Did It

Wash the rice and soak it for 10-30 minutes. Drain the rice after this and smear with ½ tsp of ghee.

Heat Oil in a Frying Pan

Flavor the oil with Bay leaves, whole cardamom, and cinnamon stick

Add ½ tsp of whole cumin seed

When the seeds crackle, add the onions and sauté till the onions turn golden brown.
If you are using chilli-garlic paste add it now

Add finely chopped tomatoes and sauté till they are soft

Add the green peas and soya granules and sauté for a minute

Add the turmeric powder, garam masala, coriander powder, fennel powder and salt and sauté for another couple of minutes

Add the Rice now and mix well with the masala. Sauté for 2 more minutes and add about 2 cups of water and cover and cook. If using a pressure cooker add 2 cups of hot water and pressure cook for 2 whistles

If not using a pressure cooker, check occasionally to see if rice is done. If not and water has dried up add a little more water (very little about ¼ cup might be needed) and cook till rice is done.

You can serve with boiled eggs, which I fried to a golden yellow because Little S likes the color. Also a bowl of yogurt on the side completed the meal.

Note: for younger kids you need to fish out the whole garam masala like cardamom, bay leaf, clove and cinnamon stick before serving

Other Recipes with Soya Granules:

Egg Paratha with Soya Stuffing

A recipe that could use soya granules or chunks:

Daliya Pulao

Reading List: Thanks for all of your inputs and enriching my reading list. I recently read Chitra Banerjee Divakurani's Palace Of Illusions, a feminist interpretation of the epic Mahabharata. I also read Cold sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns. Enjoyed both the books. I am currently reading Anne Tyler's Digging To America. I had read her Breathing Lessons earlier, but had totally forgotten about her, thanks to RLM for the suggestion. Sadly the library didn't carry "Tales from FirozSha Baag" by Mistry


  1. Nice looking pulao.....
    Did you like Palace of Illusions??? That's next on my reading list....

  2. It is kind of adult full filling meal, delicous one :)

  3. Hi Sandeepa

    Welcome to world of playdays, and slumber parties in years to come. Many more research, data storage and coordination is yet to come.Your Little S is indeed an angel, Sandeepa, love for her.

    Me being a Mom to an going to be 11 boy, that too a Cancerian, who has an almost completely different set of '15 best friends' appearing on every birthday, have experienced it the most.

    Now we have confusions galore, two parties or one? Family friends to be called along with HIS or not? Should they come home (unlike other years) or to have it in some venue away from home....

    Would be great if sometime down the year we can have a food fest on Tiffin ideas.

  4. I'm reading total fiction now... hubby bought the Bourne series as he wanted it for his collection... and I am reading those now :-)

    Loved reading your post.

  5. "They are in the same pre-school and same class and I do not understand their need to spend still more time after school together." - My, my! Aren't you sounding just like Mum?

    I read Palace of Illusions too, recently. I have to check other sources and see whether the Draupadi-Karna bits have a basis elsewhere or whether it was entirely the author's imagination. I enjoyed the book but some reviews said Draupadi's character was weak.

    I like Anne Tyler too. Mistry's Family Matters had me howling - he writes well.

  6. Nice lukin pulav thanks for those list of books.. shud read it..

  7. This is good. I too love soya chunks as well as grenules. Good one

  8. wow..little kids know so much...my daughter too wanted this many times..but then I never had time for those days!..your lil s sounds so wonderful and sweet!...and I am so so J about you guys reading....:)..

  9. Pea Pulao looks so yum , and with Dim sheddo ,its very appetizing , aamader eyikhane dim aar chicken khaba kobe theke bondo hoye royeche ...I and my little one miss eating those ...
    hugs and smiles

  10. :) You dont understand their need to spend more time together???

  11. nice post ,..felt good reading it

  12. Sandeepa, they will spend the entire day playing and when it is time to leave the first question that pops "Can I play tomorrow?". It is not going to end soon :)

    I am not too fond of the soy chunks but soy granules I have to take a look.

    Rice, ghee and salt - DDs will eat it any time of the day. Try it you will be hooked.

  13. Sandeepa,so the play days have started...and yes, the research needs to be done :-)...lovely pulao :-)
    ...and it reminds me...I've got so much catching up to do on the reading bit...haven't done much lately :-(

  14. A sweet and heart-warming post as usual. I remember visiting home of friends and gobbling up whatever food was served there (while being a very poor eater in my own home)...my mother used to be aghast at this :D

  15. S's friend is a Kannadiga and she speaks Kannada! That is cool. Different cultural experience for S, that's great! Rice and Tuppa is a classic mild kids food we all grew up with in K'taka!:D
    Veey healthy meal for them good job Sandeepa. This is just the beginning, enjoy the innocent stage. Hahaha!!

  16. All that and the child does not like eggs. ; ) Sometimes kids can be as fussy as cats!

    Tasty rice dish, Sandeepa. I would have this with an egg, fried sunny-side up, right on top of it.

  17. Jayashree
    i did like "Palace Of illusions", didn't know about the Draupadi-Karna bit.

    Easier to please the adults :)

    Good idea, lets have it at DMC.
    I am going to stay away from slumber parties(that too here) for as long as I can :-D
    usually S doesn't have many playdays, its my friend's younger kids who drop in to play.
    Remember last year I talked about another Asian/Korean girl who used to come over, this year it is a new one. Already tomar cheler moton abastha.


    That is what I have become ;-) I think that Karna bit is true, though I didn't know earlier

    Smn, Bhawana, Valli
    Thanks girls

    Bird Flu ? No egg roll , ki obostha !!!

    It really is too much ;-), I am sure they will get bored in a couple of days


    Rice, Ghee & Salt and mashed Potatoes was my fav food as a child. That used to be my breakfast before going to school every day until my Ma decided I had put on more weight than necessary :)

    Have some time now, and doing a lot of reading

    Kids do that don't they :) But usually S is a ok eater and if she likes her food she eats it

    Ooops, shall correct :-D
    So it is Tuppa and not Thupa as I had thought. I myself used to love Rice, Ghee & mashed potatoes combo as a kid.
    Oh S has enough cultural variety, with Tamil/Telegu as neighbors, Kannadiga/Rajasthani/Asians/Americans in school.
    Good thing is she knows that in India there are a variety of languages spoken.

    I think for people not too familiar with eggs, omlette is the more preferred way.
    I love eggs and would like it in any form, except raw :)

  18. Sandeepa, i liked ur idea of mildly frying the boiled eggs for pulao......dank u :)


  19. That's what "best friends"are for ! Tani spends the whole day at school with her friends and comes back and chats with them for hours on end . I've stopped asking why.
    I didnt like the Palace of Illusions very much although she has done a great job . Do read Rushdie 's "enchantress.." Its spectacular.

  20. lovely soya pulao, Sandeepa! My daughter goes to preschool too and wants me to ask her friends to comeover for playdate (ofcourse, I am little lazy on that! But I am going to do that pretty soon!).

  21. Hi Sandeepa.....looks like one healthy and delicious kid friendly meal. When I have my niece and nephew at my home, I make some sort of pulao as well. Just a small tip from my end -I grind equal parts of cloves and cinnamon to a powder and add them as needed. Why pay so much for the spices and then throw them out after cooking??

    - Karthika

  22. yes..I am heading down this road very soon with Sahil....it's all good, I guess...we all learn.

    Do read 'tamarind mem' if you get a chance...I think you'll like it.


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  24. that is alovely idea for pulao . i have some soya chunks in pantry, time to use it now :D.
    Its always fun to read your posts Sandeepa. RCI-Bengal round up is wonderful. kudos to you :) .

  25. This sounds neat Sandeepa! bet the kids enjoyed it, and so healthy too!:)

  26. Sandeepa, the guava pic looks just fabulous. Am not a great fan of soy in any form- i might give it a try but without the soy( it wouldnt be much fun, i know).

  27. Sounds like S had great fun and you did a great job with that pulao! Looks very tasty. I love the idea of frying the boiled egg as well. The color's awesome! Hope you enjoyed the upma that you were given (nice bonus!). :)

  28. play date for kids and food for moms... now that's a fair deal I say ;)

  29. Just wait until she's a bit older and all she'll want to do is spend time with the same school friends after school! Pulao looks delish - I've never used soya granules.

  30. Veggie & protein-rich pulao & kids loved it too?! You got a winner, San! :) M loves rice and "Pppa", as she calls it, too. Play dates are fun for the kids, aren't they? and I'm told kids eat more when they are with other kids! Not sure how true that is!

  31. A healthy meal for kids who love rice. I have only used soya chunks in pulaos but using granules is a new and good idea. pulao looks great and it was nice reading the post too.

  32. aaah... little S has a BFF... so cool... :) I love the fried-boiled egg idea...

  33. The comment from "Chef" was me

  34. Sandy!...:)))...I like that name!..do tell me if you don't like being called that!...

    and I have a little something for you, check my blog !

  35. arre sandeepa..bhool gayi jab tu bacchi thi :)..but kids are kids..it is impossible to predict what they like...

  36. Shn
    With a pinch of turmeric, it takes a nice yellow color with light frying. The kiddo has taken a distatste towards white eggs and wants it to be brown, just like it is before being cooked(brown shells)

    Eve's Lungs
    Shall check out Rushdie's latest. Ektu "antel" hoye jaay majhe majhe onar boi gulo, magic realism and what not.

    Ahh, my daughter wants to invite a whole bumch of them, narrowed down to one for now :)

    Yeah and "Kutti" means ... ;-) BTW which lang is that ?

    Thats a good tip but my Garam masala does have clove & cinnamon grinded. Anyway we don't eat the whole garam masala with which we flavor the oil either right ?

    "tamarind Mem" is Anita Rao Badami's isn't it ? I didn't find it in my lib. I read her other work "the Hero's Walk", left me pretty sad

    Yeah the original recipe was with soya chunks actually i love the Nutrela brand of soya chunks/granules etc.

    Thanks :)

    Yeah you can adapt it with anything you want actually

    Definitely enjoyed the Upma :)


    Soya granules are like tiny pieces of soya chunks. Kiddos wouldn't eat the soya chunks so used the granules which are almost invisible

    ha ha same theory doesn't hold in daycare/pre-school. You should see the little amount they eat there !!! But as they grow older it gets better.

    I like the chunks but my daughter won't eat them unless I cut them in small pieces so I thought better to use granules


    yeah got that muchhhhhhhhhh later :)

    Errrrr...ummmmmmm...can we have Sandeepa please, if you want to shorten it say San, "sandy" is too phoren :)
    Hey you weren't bothered with Valli were you ? I saw somewhere you liked it.

    Woh Bajaj ad yaad aa gaya..."jab main chota bachcha tha, bari shararat karta tha, meri chori pakri jati, bijli deta bajaj"
    Is that right ?

  37. Soya pulao looks YUM!... Nice recipe for a sunday night dinner... YUM!

  38. Little S is smart, she knows what she wanted to eat :)

  39. Hi Sandeepa,
    There is a little surprise for you on my blog, do chek out the new Awards page there.
    hope you like it.
    Catch me cooking at:


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