Soya Biryani, Katirikaiy Chutney from Pondicherry

>>  Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Pondicherry has always been our favourite weekend outing

Pondicherry is an Union Territory, about approx 150 Kms from Madras and takes about three hours by road.

Though I have visited the place many times before marriage, the trips after marriage and with kids, are what are still so fresh in mind. We used to leave in the morning and reach Pondi around afternoon, just in time for lunch and then spend a most relaxing time on the beaches. The resort we visit, has a beautiful view of the beach with a private access as well. The best things we remember are the open showers, the hammock and the swings. 

Not just the place, the ECR from Madras to Pondi is equally so beautiful. Just mere words are not enough the express the beauty of the luscious greenery you find on the way. Coming to the times we spent there, one of the most memorable one is what I have shared on my personal blog. That was when the boys were just two and half and were handful, running all over the place and getting drenched every other time from the garden hose pipes that were fixed. We had a wonderful weekend and have visited again. However that one trip, always remain fresh.

Now coming to the food, that special to Pondicherry, I had the toughest time, deciding what to make. Since its cuisine is a mix of most South Indian States, more of TN involved, I hardly had anything that I could make. There was absolutely no special bread prepared that I have not yet posted. So I resorted to looking out for Rice based dishes. I asked Priya Suresh for ideas, again the recipes were mostly what I had already posted.

I read about Lourdes Tirouvanziam-Louis, who wrote The Pondicherry Kitchen. And thought if I could make something from this book, it will surely meet the requirement. Searching her book online lead me to many reviews that had mostly the gravies, chutneys covered. I even read a google online book that shared the condiments etc. I saw that she had listed some Rice dishes as well and was badly searching for this. I am not sure on this, however the same google book showed up the rice dishes after a period. So I saw some interesting rice based dishes that slightly different or so I want to believe. 

The book had more non vegetarian rice dishes, and the vegetarian versions something I have already have on the blog. So I took the mutton biryani and substituted with Soya Chucks. 

I had the soya chunks more than a whistle and it was little on the softer side. So had to fry them before adding to the rice. The rice was very tasty and I attribute it to the long spice that goes by the name Marathi Mogga, which in sense it is not. However for name sake, until I find out its name, let's call that as such, and that's what gave the rice the characteristic hotel taste. The best surprise was the Brinjal Curry. The author calls it Chutney, though it's more than a chutney as it has coconut milk added. I have never added coconut milk to brinjal in this way. And the chutney was really so yum! You must try it, if you are a brinjal fan. It has that creaminess that comes because of the thick coconut milk, and that smoky aroma as it was roasted on flame. Well it was very smooth and blended so well with the biryani. This side dish is truly something that doesn't overwhelm the rice and at the same time holds it's unique taste.

All in all our Pondicherry was a smashing hit. Though I was upset I couldn't get a bread to make, I am happy I have a rice and a pachadi that I will be most surely be repeating. 

Katirikaiy chutney

Ingredients Needed:

Brinjals - 4 medium nos
Oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds, Urad dal -  1 tsp
Onions - 2 big
Curry leaves few
Green chilies, finely chopped - 2 nos long
Salt to taste
Tamarind pulp - 1 tbsp
Coriander leaves, finely chopped - 1 tbsp
Coconut - 1 cup thick coconut milk

How to make

Coat the brinjals with oil, roast over flame, until completely charred and vegetable is soft. Peel the skin, making sure the charred bits are removed. Cut off the stems and mash with fork.

In a pan, heat the oil, add the mustard seeds and urad dal and let them splutter

Add the onions, curry leaves, green chilies. Shallow fry for a couple of mins, then add the brinjals and saute well . Add the tamarind pulp, cook for couple of mins.

Then the chutney is almost done, add the coconut milk and simmer.

Serve with Briyani
How to make Soya Vegetarian Biryani

Soya Chunks Biryani

This is served with brinjal chutney

Ingredients Needed

For the Soya Chunks:

Soya nuggets - 1 cup
Water twice the amount
Salt - 1/2 tsp

For Frying

Oil - 2 tsp

For the Biryani

Basmati rice - 2 1/2 cups
Water - 3 & 1/2 cup
Ghee / Oil - 4 tsp
Cloves  - 5
Cinnamon - 2 " piece
Cardamoms - 3
Bay leaf - 1
Star anise 1/2
Black Stone flower / Raati Puvvu - 2 nos
Onions, julienne - 2 big / 1 cup
Green Chilies, slit - 3 long
Ginger Garlic paste - 1 tsp
Tomatoes, finely chopped - 2 medium
Red chili powder - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Curds - 1/2 cup
Mint leaves - handful
Coriander leaves, finely chopped handful
Nutmeg, powdered - two pinches
Saffron pistils, soaked in 2 tbsp hot milk - 3 -4 strands

How to make the biryani

Rinse and pressure cook the soya nuggets for 1 whistle. Once the pressure falls down, remove and drain in a colander, rinse couple of times.

Then heat a pan with oil, fry the nuggets for 5 mins.


Should be very careful in pressure cooking the soya for just one whistle and try to remove the pressure.
Since mine turned out a bit soft, I sauted them separately in a pan. Else it can be fried before adding the rice in the biryani itself. I added after the water was almost cooked.

For the Biryani

In a deep pan, heat the ghee, add the cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, bay leaf, star anise, onions and green chillies, and fry till the onions are golden brown.

Add the garlic and ginger pastes, and fry till golden brown.

Add the tomatoes and fry for 2 minutes. Cover the pan and cook on low heat till the tomatoes are soft.

Add the red chilie powder and salt.
Add the curds, mint, coriander leaves and nutmeg. Combine everything well. Then drain the rice and add to the pot. Simmer and let all the moisture evaporate. 

Cook on high heat for 5 - 7 mins. Once the water starts to be absorbed, reduce, cover tightly with another lid and simmer. After 5 mins, add the saffron mixture on the rice and don't stir.

Cover the pan and cook on low heat for 15 mins. This gets cooked well when you cook in the dum style.

Serve with Katirikaiy chutney and Onion Raitha.


Since I used basmati, you can always reduce ½ cup from the actual amount of water to be used.

Don’t stir very frequently. Use a spatula and not a ladle. 

Adjust salt after adding all the ingredients. You can adjust it by adding it to the milk in the end if it needs more salt.

If you feel the rice is more soggy, cover the mouth of the pan with a newspaper, cover tightly with the lid and simmer for 5 mins. All the extra moisture will be absorbed.


Priya Suresh April 22, 2014 at 1:07 AM  

Biryani and chutney both are simply inviting me, fantastic and flavourful dishes definitely.

Nivedhanams Sowmya April 22, 2014 at 7:10 AM  

kids surely love to get drenched!!! I am sure they also have it in their memory as a fav place!!

Biriyani and the chutney are looking so delicious!!

Akhila P April 22, 2014 at 6:11 PM  

Yummy... Looks very delicious.

The Pumpkin Farm April 22, 2014 at 6:16 PM  

I was so lost on Pondi until I met a friend the book you used was an option but I could not finalise any dish from it as it all seemed to be overlapping with tamilnadu...this is my fav biryani served at our canteen..

Vijayalakshmi Dharmaraj April 22, 2014 at 8:14 PM  

looks very yumm and love it..

Suma Gandlur April 23, 2014 at 8:41 AM  

The addition of coconut milk makes the chutney different than our versions, right? That soy chunks pulao is nutritious and yummy.

Varadas Kitchen April 23, 2014 at 9:28 AM  

Both dishes look really nice. Coconut milk and eggplant is an interesting combination.

Pavani N April 30, 2014 at 11:25 PM  

Valli, you have tempted me to try this combo really really soon. You know my love for eggplant and my new foud love for biryanis -- this combo is sure to be hit in my household. Will be trying this.

Harini-Jaya R May 1, 2014 at 2:01 AM  

Milk in Chutney is very new. Though I don't make eggplant chutney, my mom makes it. I can give her this idea.

Gayathri Kumar May 1, 2014 at 5:47 PM  

Even I have some happy memories of Pondicherry. This biryani looks so inviting. Kathrikkai chutney is very new and looks so yumm...

Archana Potdar May 3, 2014 at 8:53 PM  

Bookmarking this one Valli. Love it absolutely.

Padmajha PJ May 5, 2014 at 9:34 AM  

I got that book just to cook for BM and could not find anything suitable and finally made something from an online source!
And I visited your other blog and the pics are so nice and of course I was drooling over the food pic:)
The brinjal chutney sounds different and delicious..

Nalini's Kitchen May 5, 2014 at 6:54 PM  

Flavorful biriyani Valli,brinjal chutney sounds inviting and innovative,will try it for sure...

Usha May 8, 2014 at 7:40 AM  

Loved reading your naration of Pondi and the travel to Pondi from Chennai. Even I found addition of coconut milk to pachadi quite strange or rather unusual. Both the biryani and pachadi look delicious. I am glad you found recipes that you would repeat again.

Sandhya Ramakrishnan May 11, 2014 at 7:00 AM  

Very elaborate recipe and so beautifully made...Love the combo :)

Priya Srinivasan May 13, 2014 at 10:02 AM  

Love that brinjal chutney and soy biriyani looks tempting too!!!

Chef Mireille May 15, 2014 at 8:45 AM  

with all those spices biryani must be flavorful indeed

Manjula Bharath May 28, 2014 at 12:45 AM  

Oh my i am drooling here for some biryani rightaway :) such an delicious pondy meal makes me hungry valli .. I am in love with the roasted kathirikai chutney addition of coconut is something new chutney's na :)

Sapana Behl May 29, 2014 at 1:51 PM  

Soya biryani looks super tatsty and with brinjal chutney it must be wonderful ..

Jayanthi Padmanabhan June 9, 2014 at 2:13 PM  

that's a nice tip.. covering the pan with newspaper.. I am sure it'll come in useful
brinjal chutney sounds interesting

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