Recipe of the day: Vegan ‘chicken’ with butter and sweet sponge cake

It’s Meatless Monday and these two recipes – vegan butter “chicken” and a plant-based vanilla pound cake – are great for celebrating Vegan Month this November.

Many research studies have shown that there is a growing trend of people eating less meat and dairy products and leaning more towards plant-based products and actively reducing meat consumption.

Vegan products and restaurants are becoming more accessible and tasty. Try this delicious vegan butter chicken recipe that is great for dinner and end your delicious meal with something sweet.

Vegan Butter Chicken Recipe:


1 box (380g) vegan “chicken” or tofu, cut into bite-size cubes

for the marinade

  • 1 can (400ml) cream of coconut
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala spice mix
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • Juice of 1/2 lime/lemon

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight in 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon olive or coconut oil
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala, plus additional to taste
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 6 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh cilantro to garnish

TRY ALSO: Sunday Roast: Citrus Garlic Herb Butter Roast Chicken Recipe


  1. If you are using tofu, press the tofu with a kitchen towel to drain the water from the tofu, and cut into blocks.
    Combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and add the ‘chicken’ chunks or tofu Reserve and let marinate while you prepare the sauce.
  2. Blend the soaked cashews with the water until it becomes a creamy sauce. Scoop out a tablespoon and reserve for garnish. Heat the oil in a deep nonstick pot.
  3. Add the chopped onions and cook over medium-low heat until translucent. Add garlic, ginger and garam masala, paprika, turmeric and cumin and mix until the onions are coated and fragrant. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and a pinch of salt to the pan and mix. The tomatoes will release a lot of liquid. Simmer for 30 minutes to an hour until all excess juice has evaporated.
  4. Once the mixture has reduced to a paste, add it to the blender with the cashews and blend until smooth. Add additional water if necessary.
  5. Return the sauce to the pan and add the ‘chicken’ pieces/tofu cubes along with the marinade. Simmer until chicken/tofu pieces are cooked.
  6. Add cayenne pepper, nutritional yeast, and salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the flavor, adding more garam masala if necessary.
  7. Serve hot with basmati rice or naan bread.
  8. Garnish with a dollop of cashew cream and fresh coriander.

Thyme, cinnamon and orange cake

Thyme, cinnamon cake. Image: Supplied

1 layer only, double the recipe for 2 layers


Canola oil or Spray & Cook

For the cake:

  • 2 cups of nut milk
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
  • 1 ¾ cups of wheat flour for cake
  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons of orange extract
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

For the glaze:

  • 2 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vegan margarine
  • 2 tablespoons nut milk
  • 3 teaspoons of orange extract
  • zest of an orange


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  2. Spray a 20 cm round mold with Spray & Cook or spread with vegan margarine.
  3. In a pot, place the nut milk together with 2 cinnamon sticks and a few fresh sprigs of thyme. Bring the nut milk to a boil, then lower the heat. Let the nut milk simmer for 15 minutes to infuse the flavors.
  4. Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl.
  5. Remove the infused nut milk from the stove and mix 1 1/3 cups of the milk with the rest of the wet ingredients in another bowl.
  6. Beat the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until well combined.
  7. Pour the cake mix into the pan and tap the pan on the kitchen counter to remove any air bubbles.
  8. Bake the cake for 30 minutes.
  9. Remove the cake from the oven and insert a pin or toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is done.
  10. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  11. While the cake is cooking, make the frosting: Add the icing sugar, vegan margarine, milk, and orange extract to a mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer to mix the frosting until smooth and creamy (start mixing on the lowest possible speed and slowly increase). The consistency of the frosting should be thin enough to spread evenly on the cake, but thick enough that it doesn’t slide off the cake. If it’s too thin, add more icing sugar. If it’s too thick, add more milk.
  12. When the cake is completely cool, spread the frosting over the cake.
  13. Garnish with lemon zest and fresh thyme.

Recipes courtesy of Leozette Roode of Humane Society International/Africa (HSI)/Africa

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