Soya chunk curry in a spinach and jalapeño base

11 Apr

Soya chunk curry in a spinach and jalapeño base

There’s a lady called Agnes in my aqua-fit class.

Soya chunk curry in a spinach and jalapeño base by Deena Kakaya


My mind has a tendency, even on an average and non-pool day, to go into overdrive and often feels like it’s floating away with the echoes of the pool. Light and drifting. Sometimes sinking. Washing and leaving.

‘Get those knees up HIGH, come ON ladies and gents!’ and I wonder where it is all going to end up in 5 years’ time. Oh my goodness, I’ve just realised how old I will be in 5 years’ time. Am I focusing on the right things? Do we move or do we stay what of the house prices. I can’t send him to school in this area, look at how much I have invested in him. Look at what it has yielded; he’s so polite, smart, and sweet and never hits another child, ever. But what of those house prices. More work, move abroad, or to invest, what to do? ‘Oh I am getting them up high, I have lots of practise, he he, he’ yells Agnes. I laugh, with the group, in the present.

‘Rocking horse AND TRAVEL’. What am I doing with this body, why haven’t I been eating those iron tablets regularly, why haven’t I removed this chapped nail varnish from my nails? I miss looking after myself, but that’s a ridiculous thing to say. I should make more time. How long does it take to put some hair oil in my hair at night? Exactly. Some oil in the bath? Some lovely hand cream. And I need to eat better too, I need to cut those cakes out. I come from a family of diabetics; do I want to be one of them? No! ‘oh, I love that rocking motion, you know what I mean!’ chuckles Agnes, then there’s a room full of echoes to the same tune, including mine.

‘PUMP those arms, come on, PUMP, and PUMP’ I need to get sink unblocker. I need to get the house sorted, I can’t live like this, I’m going to go mad if I continue cooking in that kitchen, and it HAS to get fixed. I cannot believe the neighbours have built their entire extension without planning permission or even telling us. It’s looking worryingly light-reducing. More paperwork to deal with, great. ‘Oh I like it, I love it, I like a bit of pumping action, ha ha ha’…belly laughs all round, Agnes throws her head back.

We all need an Agnes in our heads don’t we, well, I do anyway. Clearly.

Just like Agnes, I like it hot. This curry is hot, tangy, and fresh with green glory and has a tang! Again, I am sharing with you an unusual recipe, I don’t think I have cooked spinach and jalapeno peppers in a curry in quite this way, but believe me…it works SO well.

Cooks note: I have used vegetarian chicken from the TKC brand available in wing-yip and it works fabulously. I have also used meet the alternative which is pretty good. I would not use those popular vegetarian chicken products that are made from mushroom protein for this dish.

Soya chunk curry in a spinach and jalapeño base by Deena Kakaya


400g soya nuggets

200g fresh spinach leaves, very finely chopped in a food processor

175g jalapeño peppers in brine, 100g pureed and the rest finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

One medium onion, diced

Salt to taste

1 tsp. cumin seeds

1 tsp. coriander powder

½ tsp. garam masala

450ml water

1 tsp. cumin powder

½ tsp. turmeric powder

The juice of half a lemon

2 tsp. tomato puree

2 tbsp. cooking oil


  1. Defrost the soya nuggets per the packet instructions
  2. Heat the oil in a pan and add the turmeric, cumin and allow the seeds to sizzle. Then stir in the onion and salt then sauté until the onions have softened.
  3. Add the garlic and sauté for a further minute before adding the soya nuggets and coat them well in the tempering.
  4. Sprinkle in coriander powder, coriander powder, garam masala, and grow the tempering to a to a high heat over 30 seconds to a minute then pour in 250ml of water and stir in the tomato puree.
  5. Cook the soya until most of the water has evaporated; it should take about ten minutes.
  6. Add the spinach and cook the curry for a further 3-4 minutes.
  7. Add the jalapeno puree and the sliced jalapeno peppers and cook for a further 3 minutes before turning off the heat.




23 Responses to “Soya chunk curry in a spinach and jalapeño base”

  1. apsara April 11, 2014 at 8:18 pm #

    what a lovely pairing! Jalapeno peppers is something I have only had in a pizza or salad. Cooking with spinach is a novel idea!

    • Deena Kakaya April 23, 2014 at 2:30 pm #

      Apsara I agree, I havent cooked jalapeno and spinach in this way either, but for some reason it really works. x

  2. Elaine @ foodbod April 12, 2014 at 6:30 am #

    My husband would love these flavours, do you think it would work with chicken?

    • Deena Kakaya April 12, 2014 at 10:45 am #

      Hi Elaine, lovely to see a message from
      You. Funnily enough my husband loves these flavours too, my brother is a chicken-addict and I recommended this one to him so that he can have it with chicken instead of soya, so yes on your question. Xx

  3. Anita Menon April 12, 2014 at 6:17 pm #

    lovely recipe. Looks healthy and appetizing.

  4. Rhonda Sittig April 14, 2014 at 4:39 am #

    This looks delicious–although I think I’ not brave enough the add the jalapeño– so spicy! But it does look like something my Larry would really like!

    • Deena Kakaya April 14, 2014 at 11:42 am #

      Hi Rhonda, great to hear fro you! The jalapeño peppers are in brine and so milder. Cut back on the amount if you like, but they do add bags of flavour x

      • Rhonda Sittig April 15, 2014 at 1:47 am #

        I’ll wait til my son-in-law comes. He love spicy food!

  5. Joanne April 14, 2014 at 10:55 am #

    So this is kind of like saag paneer but with the soya instead of paneer! Super tasty. I always love a good green sauce.

    • Deena Kakaya April 14, 2014 at 11:41 am #

      Hi Joanne, sort of, except much of the flavour in this dish comes from the jalapeños x

  6. Dhruti April 14, 2014 at 1:14 pm #

    Hi Deena, do you know approximately how many people this recipe would serve? Thank you! xx

    • Deena Kakaya April 14, 2014 at 1:16 pm #

      Hi Dhruti, it should serve four people as a side curry or three as a main curry. Hope that helps


  7. Poppy April 14, 2014 at 5:49 pm #


  8. Claudia ~ Food with a View April 14, 2014 at 7:19 pm #

    This looks like a true comfort and fitness dish at the same time! Love the spices.

    • Deena Kakaya April 14, 2014 at 8:16 pm #

      What a lovely description Claudia, thanks xx

  9. Sophie33 April 14, 2014 at 9:25 pm #

    I made this delectable recipe & my hubby Peter & I loved it, my friend,…divine food! xxx

    • Deena Kakaya April 14, 2014 at 9:27 pm #

      Sophie I’m so pleased to learn that you true this recipe and that you enjoyed it! Which soya product did you use x

      • Sophie33 April 14, 2014 at 9:28 pm #

        I used soy tvp curls, the smaller ones

        • Deena Kakaya April 14, 2014 at 9:29 pm #

          Oh I know the ones you mean! I will try those too x

          • Sophie33 April 14, 2014 at 9:31 pm #

            Yes, you must soak them in water or in stock for 15 minutes, then. Squeeze them & use them like that or fry them etc,…

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