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Capsicum celebrates World Vegan Month

Capsicum Culinary Studio – South Africa’s largest culinary school with six campuses across the country – is celebrating World Vegan Month, an annual designation observed in November, with some unique and tasty recipes from their chef lecturers.

Cape Town Campus Akhona Swazi’s Chilli Seitan on Lettuce Cups

Olive oil, for frying
500g seitan (vegan meat substitute – see recipe below)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
5g piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1–2 red chillies, deseeded and chopped
1 tbsp light brown sugar
Zest of 1 lime and juice
3 spring onions, trimmed and chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

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1 tbsp soy sauce
Juice of ½ lime
1 tsp sesame oil
½ red chilli, thinly sliced
Small bunch of coriander leaves, chopped
1 tsp light brown sugar
1 tbsp olive oil

1 cup vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup chickpea flour
1 cup water

Cooking liquid
3 tbsp. granulated beef stock
3 cups water
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dried thyme

Mix together seitan ingredients together and knead for 3 minutes. Allow to rest.
Prepare cooking liquid by adding all ingredients in a pot and simmer.
Place small pieces of dough (seitan) into simmering liquid and allow to cook for 30 minutes
Once cooked, take out, allow to cool and pat dry.
Seitan can be chopped to a crumbly consistency to resemble mince.

Heat a large frying pan and add a little oil. Fry the seitan in the hot pan for 5–7 minutes until crisp and brown and broken down to a crumbly consistency. Drain in a sieve, removing excess fat. Set aside.
Wipe out the pan and add a tablespoon of toasted sesame oil. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli. Fry with a pinch of salt and the sugar for 2 minutes. Add the drained seitan and stir
Stir in the lime zest and juice and add the spring onions, stirring for 30 seconds. Turn off the heat.
Mix all the dressing ingredients together and adjust to taste.
To serve, spoon some of the seitan mixture into the lettuce leaves, drizzle with a little dressing, garnish with coriander cress toasted peanuts and serve.

Durban campus Chef Lecturer Caren Marimuth’s Hummingbird Cake

125g white sugar
125g brown sugar
250g cake flour
5g baking soda
5g baking powder
2g salt
5g ground cinnamon
5g ground nutmeg
2 bananas, mashed
15g flaxseed powder (to be mixed with 45ml water)
180ml  vegetable oil
5ml vanilla essence
200g crushed pineapple
125g chopped walnuts
250g grated carrots, grated
60g desiccated coconut

50ml aquafaba (from canned chickpeas)
125g – 250g white sugar
5ml vanilla essence
10g freeze dried pineapple
passion fruit (optional)

Line an 8cm cake tin with baking paper, alternatively use spray and cook on silicone moulds.
Preheat the oven to 160°C.
Prepare the flaxseed by whisking a tablespoon of flaxseed powder into 45ml of lukewarm water, allow to stand for at least 5 minutes or until it firms up and becomes gloopy.
Sift cake flour, white sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices into a bowl. Add brown sugar and mix until well combined.
In a separate bowl mix mashed bananas, oil, vanilla, pineapple and flaxseed ‘egg’.
Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients, then gently fold in chopped walnuts, carrots and coconut.
Pour into the prepared baking tin or into silicone moulds and bake for 15 – 25 minutes (or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean).

For the Frosting
Drain the chickpeas and reserve the liquid (aquafaba)
Whip the aquafaba with a handheld mixer or in a stand mixer and when soft peaks are formed start adding sugar gradually, until desired sweetness.
Whip until medium peaks, then mix in vanilla.
Dollop onto the cooled cake/s, swirl and decorate with freeze dried pineapple pieces and passion fruit

*Cinnamon and nutmeg can be substituted with ground ginger and allspice for a spicier kick
*For decorating, freeze dried pineapples can be substituted with toasted coconut or candied carrot

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