Chettinad Meal Maker Curry Recipe

by Sala @ Veggie Belly on September 2, 2011

Chettinad is a region in South India where many of my ancestors come from. It is a dry, arid land inhabited by a devout and enterprising people. And the food is simply sensational. There is no greater pleasure than eating at a chettinad wedding! Chettinad cuisine uses an abundance of spices like cumin, fennel, fenugreek, star anise, poppy seeds, chillies, tamarind, shallots, coconut and curry leaf. This chettinad meal maker curry is inspired by my heritage.

Nemam Koil, our clan temple in Chettinad

Chettinad is famous for its palatial ancestral homes. This house in Kothamangalam is now Saratha Vilas hotel.

Chettinad homes are generally famed for their non vegetarian food. But you can easily enjoy the flavors of this region with this vegetarian, vegan recipe. Meal maker or Nutrella are Indian brands of soy protein that are quite meaty in texture. I used Indian meal maker in this recipe. Feel free to use any kind of dried soy chunk or granule product. TVP, TSP, soy chunks, soy granules, or even seitan will work.

This chettinad meal maker curry recipe is easily adaptable to different tastes, use only vegetables (cauliflower is nice) or adjust coconut milk however you like. You can use more or less chillies according to your preference.

Chettinad Meal Maker Curry Recipe

(A Spicy Curry using TVP, TSP, Meal Maker, Nutrella or Soy Chunks)
Serves about 4

Ingredients
1 cup dry soy chunks/Meal Maker/Nutrella/TVP/TSP*
1 tablespoon oil
½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
6 curry leaves
1-3 green chillies, slit. optional
½ medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, cut into slivers
2 small tomatoes, chopped
1 recipe masala powder, see recipe below
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 cup coconut milk
Salt

*Soy chunks like Meal Maker and Nutrella are easily available at Indian stores. TVP/TSP granules are available at the regular grocery store.

Method
Rehydrate the soy chunks (meal maker) or granules according to package instructions. This usually involves boiling a small pot of water with a little salt, boiling the soy chunks in it, then letting them soak in the boiling water (10 minutes for soy chunks, less for granules – read the box instructions). Drain the soy chunks or TVP granules, and squeeze out as much water as you can. Set the re-hydrated soy chunks or TVP granules aside, and proceed with the recipe.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Add black mustard seeds and let them sizzle. Then add cumin and stir for 30 seconds. Add curry leaves and chillies, stir again. Then add onions, and sauté on medium-low heat for 3 minutes, or till the onions have softened. Now add the garlic and tomatoes. Continue to cook on medium-low heat till the tomatoes are very soft, about 6 minutes.

Add the ground masala powder (recipe below), turmeric, and salt, stir for a minute.

Add re-hydrated, squeezed soy chunks/meal maker/nutrella/TVP/TSP and pour in 2 cups water. Bring to boil. Continue boiling for about 5 minutes.

Pour in coconut milk and cook stirring for about 2 minutes. Taste the curry, if it is too spicy for you, add more coconut milk.

Garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve hot with rotis, chappatis, tortillas, or steamed rice.

For the masala powder
Ingredients
1 tablespoons coriander seeds
1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds
1/2 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 small dried red chili, optional

Method
In a small, heavy skillet on low heat, toast each of the ingredients one at a time. Roast each spice for about a minute, or till it lightly turns color and gets fragrant. Let the toasted spices cool a little. Then place in a coffee grinder and grind into a fine powder. Make sure there are no unground pieces.

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Comments

comments

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rosa September 2, 2011 at 6:52 pm

Those dry soy chunks are intriguing. I would love to try them. That curry is fabulous and so is your entire post.

Cheers,

Rosa

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2 Richa@HobbyandMore September 2, 2011 at 7:00 pm

The curry sounds delicious.! the best meals definitely come out of our age old tastes and spices. and and i love the temple and home pictures!.
lovely clicks of the dish as always.

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3 kankana September 3, 2011 at 1:55 am

That hotel lobby is gorgeous and so is that photo of the temple . My husband loves soya chunk and this recipe looks lovely to give a try.

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4 Spandana September 3, 2011 at 2:08 am

I love that picture of ancestral home.
The curry looks very delicious. Nice pics!

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5 Nishi September 3, 2011 at 4:13 am

What an innovative way to use the meal maker. The presentation is superb as well. Great post Sala!!!

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6 Nisa Homey September 3, 2011 at 5:08 am

This is a must try curry…..wonderful clicks…..

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7 Priya Sreeram September 3, 2011 at 8:41 am

loved this curry and I agree chettinad cuisine bursts with flavours & is sensational !

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8 Sharmilee September 3, 2011 at 9:33 am

Looks so tempting, meal maker is my fav anytime

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9 Suma Subramaniam September 4, 2011 at 6:45 am

Looks delicious. Thanks for the share.

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10 Christopher September 4, 2011 at 2:03 pm

I changed my dinner plans when I saw this post and knew it would be fabulous! I was right. I had a nice size head of cauliflower in the fridge, so I used that instead of the meal maker. It worked perfectly. I lightly roasted the cauliflower first on a bed of sliced onions, then added the cauliflower to the curry to finish cooking. It was really superb. Thanks for this recipe.

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11 Anna @ The Guiltless Life September 5, 2011 at 11:32 pm

Thanks for this – it looks amazing! Have you ever made a recipe with kofta? I’d love to learn how to make them myself at home as malai kofta or Himalayan kofta are my favourite things to order when I eat Indian! I’d also be curious to find out what you think of Riso alla Orientale, which is a Mediterranean version of an Indian recipe that I blogged about recently. If you get time let me know your thoughts!

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12 Olga @ MangoTomato September 6, 2011 at 3:09 pm

I think I have the exact same round dish. Except mine is no longer that shiny ;(

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13 Xiaolu September 7, 2011 at 12:18 pm

I haven’t had much luck with TVP chunks so far and kinda gave up, but the flavors in this curry look good enough to revive the dead (ingredients, that is). Maybe I’ll try it with seitan instead.

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14 The Yummy Morsel September 8, 2011 at 6:59 am

Yummy curry! I love soy chunks. I add them to my curry at every oppurtunity I get! Never been to Chettinad but relish the food a lot.

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15 Kelsey @ Snacking Squirrel September 8, 2011 at 9:50 pm

wow this looks so comforting and really well constructed. beautiful photos! <3

xoxo

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16 Vijitha September 9, 2011 at 2:24 pm

The hotel lobby looks very nice, reminds me of the Sterling Swami malai. I have visited Karaikudi during my stay in Madurai. Love the palatial homes. Have you seen a tamil movie “Pirivom Sandhipom”? It’s a movie about a chettinad family. Anyways just wanted to say that.

Meal maker is a vegetarian meat and my mom being a true blue vegetarian makes it quite often. She even adds them to briyanis. Your curry looks so good and the mundu goes so well in the picture.

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17 Piney Woods September 12, 2011 at 3:18 pm

I love this recipe! The curry turned out so well and incredibly nourishing for so few ingredients.
The wringing dry of the re-hydrated TVP is very important so please don’t skip this step! Squeezing out the soaking liquid allows the TVP to really absorb the coconut curry sauce and become more flavorful- also it seems to rinse off some of that strange TVP smell and taste that is hauntingly similar to dry pet food, ick!
I added some nice Japanese eggplant and instead of chopped fresh tomato, I added a small bowl of yellow grape tomatoes. Divine!!

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

great tips! Yes, its is important to squeeze out the water from the TVP!

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18 mythili September 12, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Lovely recipe and photos. I made this curry and I had one question about masala powder quantity. 1 recipe masala powder = how much yield you get from the recipe below, correct?

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

yes, make the masala according to the recipe directions, that equals 1 recipe

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19 Leah September 14, 2011 at 5:57 am

I love curries and the serving bowl in these pictures looks gorgeous. Will have to put one on my wish list :)

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20 Christy Gerald September 18, 2011 at 6:16 am

Wow!,Yummy dense Chettinad Soya Chunks Curry.Supergood Recipe with typical Karaikudi (ground )masala.

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21 San September 23, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Hey Sala.

Glad to have come across your gorgeous space, happy to follow you. Splendid looking curry. Chettinad curries are always spicy n so authentic. Nice pic of the hotel with the elaborate details. Have a nice weekend!

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22 Carolyn October 10, 2011 at 9:14 pm

There are a boatload of Soy Curls hunkering down in my freezer now, and although they aren’t the same shape as the meal maker chunks, I’m thinking they would be splendid in this dish. The recipe is on my list!

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

yes, soy curls will be perfect!

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23 Sharat August 4, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Great. Tried to impress my wife…totally worked. Thank you for a gr8 recipe.

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

Glad the wife was impressed!

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24 G Umapathi August 22, 2012 at 4:36 am

Really wonderful for sharing this information.

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25 muthukrishnan May 7, 2013 at 11:37 am

Fantastic photo’s.. Bookmarked your website… Would visit often…

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