A Fake Meat fare—–Spinach-Soya nuggets pulav

I made this dish when the organization I volunteer for had a pot-luck during training. This was before the spinach scare,when anyone could happily incorporate spinach in their daily fare. After proudly volunteering ‘vegetable pulav’, when I reached home my pantry was empty, except for some bell peppers and baby spinach in my fridge which I had stored for making a salad!! A little more rummaging produced some soy nuggets and then I was ready to cook!

The side for this dish at the pot luck was channa masala,volunteered by another Indian girl who I shall call L . During lunch time, when I opened the box after re-heating the rice, L, who was waiting for me to set the main dish saw the rice and immediately asked me whether it was vegetarian!!! I was surprised since I did write vegetable pulav in the sheet, but once I saw the soya nuggets peeping out like mutton pieces I realized that it really looked like meat pieces or at least like something alien to the vegetarian!!! I hastened to reassure her that it was Nutrella Soya Nuggets and the look of relief on her face was evident! Anyway it was a huge success with everyone at the training, Indian or otherwise and so here goes the recipe:

The recipe below would serve about 10 people if the dish is made in a potluck and about 6 people if made as a one pot meal with just raitha.


2 green bell pepper chopped into small pieces

1/2 packet of frozen peas

One big bag of baby spinach chopped coarsely

3 medium sized red onions

1/2 a packet of Nestle Soya nuggets soaked in warm water for 15 minutes

1 small red onion chopped fine

2 green chilli slit lengthwise

1 bay leaf

1/2 inch piece of cinnamon stick

4-5 cloves

1/2 inch piece ginger chopped fine

4 cloves garlic chopped fine

1 tsp fennel seeds

1/2tsp turmeric powder

1/2 tsp dhania powder

1/2 tsp red chilli powder or curry powder (I had ‘Shan” curry powder)

1/2 tsp garam masala

1 tsp oil

1/2 tsp ghee or clarified butter

salt to taste

3 cups of Basmati rice washed and soaked in water for 15 minutes


Heat oil and ghee in pressure pan or cooker, add the fennel seeds, bay leaf, cinnamon stick and clove and fry until they bring a nice aroma to the room. Then add the green chillies and chopped onion. When the onion starts to turn transparent add the ginger and garlic pieces. After a minute of stirring with the ladle, add the bell peppers and wait a minute. Then add the turmeric powder,dhania powder, red chilli powder/curry powder,salt and mix thoroughly. Now throw in the chopped spinach ,soya nuggets and the frozen peas and give the pan a shimmy shake. Once the spinach leaves are sort of coated with the water from the veggies and the spices, drain and add the rice. Mix the whole medley,add 3 cups of water and close the pressure pan. Put the weight and reduce the heat to medium-low. After exactly 15 minutes turn off the heat whether you hear a whistle or not. Wait for another 15 minutes ,open the pan, add the garam masala and mix gently. Close the pan, wait for another 5 minutes for the rice to absorb the masala and serve hot with raitha. I made onion raitha for my husband that day.


1. It is extremely important to pressure cook in low only for 15 minutes and turn the heat off after 15 minutes to prevent the rice from sticking to the pan.
2. The ratio of the rice to water I use is 1:, if you are cooking in a pressure cooker, since the veggies let out some water too. After a number of attempts of making soggy pulav (which I passed off as Khicidi:-)) with different measures of water,I found that this ratio works for me

3. This is of course a general tip: any vegetable can be added.



  1. MenuToday said

    Hi ,
    Thanks for sharing a healthy pulav.

  2. Asha said

    What a beautiful looking Pulav! I have never used Soya anything in my cooking so far.Must start now,they are very healthy I know, specially for women.Thanks Nalini..:))

  3. lakshmi said

    that looks so good, soya and spinach, never tried one. lovely recipe Nalini

  4. gayathri said

    looks very yummy! Will try it this weekend… 🙂

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