Traditional recipes with a vegan twist

Guest chef Sophia Craig (22) bakes sesame, hemp and dark chocolate cookies in her Dunedin flat....
Guest chef Sophia Craig (22) bakes sesame, hemp and dark chocolate cookies in her Dunedin flat. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
As the turmoil of Covid-19 continues to swirl globally, here in our little corner of the world it is time to celebrate our wonderful food professionals. 
Rebecca Fox talks to Kind Company’s chef Sophia Craig about cooking when you live in a flat of five.


How often do you cook?

We often cook individually as we all work and are home different times of the day, but I have cooked for everyone on occasion, especially through lockdown — we had nothing to do but cook!

Are you vegan/vegetarian?

I am vegan. I went vegetarian four years ago, and made the shift to veganism three years ago. I originally went vegan for health reasons. I left school and started studying and I began to feel extremely run down. I wasn't prioritising my health or my diet, and it was having a negative impact on my mental and physical health. I decided to go vegan for four weeks and assess how I felt, and that month genuinely changed my life. Apart from feeling physically refreshed, it also gave me a whole new view on cooking and fresh motivation. I really enjoyed the challenge of creating traditional recipes with alternative ingredients, using products and methods I may not have explored otherwise. Being a foodie, I honestly thought I'd be limited by choosing a vegan lifestyle, but I've learnt so much and continue to do so every day! The vegan food world is a fast-growing, revolutionary space to be involved in - I love it.

If there are fussy eaters or people with allergies that you cook for how do you deal with that?

Considering I am usually the fussy eater in my group of friends, cooking for those with allergies usually isn't an issue. It comes naturally to cook dairy-free, and I'm slowly building up a repertoire of gluten-free recipes, too. I enjoy the challenge.

What kind of food do you like to cook?

I love Asian fusion cooking! I especially love the spicy and fresh flavours that come with Thai cooking. There's something so comforting about those flavours, and I love any excuse to cook with a wok.

What is your go-to dish when time is tight?

Any kind of stir-fry. So quick to throw together and you can add whatever veges you have in the fridge. Simple to flavour — my go-to is satay or soy, garlic and sesame. It's also easily made gluten-free, if I'm cooking for others. I also keep pizza dough and dumpling dough in the freezer for quick meals!

What are your favourite flavours to cook with?

At the moment, I'm loving cooking with Chinese five-spice. It has such a savoury sweet flavour with hints of fennel and star anise. It works well with sesame oil and soy sauce ... I just love to cook with it. Otherwise, I love cooking with chocolate and coffee!

What is always in your fridge/pantry?

Sriracha sauce, chilli oil, garlic and crunchy peanut butter. They are staples.

What won't we ever find in your fridge?

Meat, naturally.

How long have you been a chef?

I've been cooking at home since I was little, but I did complete a bachelor's degree in culinary arts here in Dunedin. I worked as a chef fulltime for a year post-study before coming to work at Kind Company.

What is your favourite thing to cook?

Vegetarian lasagne might be one of my favourite things to make when I have the time. It was one of my favourite foods growing up, and my mum used to make it for my friends and I every birthday. There's a lot of love that goes into a good, wholesome lasagne!

If we came for dinner at your place, what would you most likely serve?

A very special vegetarian lasagne.

Falafel pictured as summer falafel flatbread.
Falafel pictured as summer falafel flatbread.


50g dry chickpeas

6g cumin powder

2½g garlic powder

10g Moroccan seasoning

10g nutritional yeast

4g turmeric

5g paprika

20g fresh coriander

20g fresh parsley

10g fresh mint

35g sesame seeds

20g cornflour


Soak your chickpeas in one litre of cold water overnight until they have doubled in weight (250g of dry chickpeas will make 500g of soaked chickpeas).

Drain the chickpeas. Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until combined.

Roll into balls (or to whatever shape you like) and shallow fry in oil until golden. If the chickpea is still uncooked in the middle, you can continue the cooking process in the oven.

Serve straight away or freeze for later use.

Satay sauce pictured as fresh citrus satay noodle salad.
Satay sauce pictured as fresh citrus satay noodle salad.

Satay sauce

Orange satay sauce

1 large onion, diced

1 tsp crushed garlic

3 Tbsp vegan red curry paste

2 tsp vegetable stock powder

2 Tbsp tamarind

2 Tbsp miso paste

2 tsp lime juice

zest of whole orange

juice of ½ an orange

⅔ cup crunchy peanut butter

2 Tbsp soy sauce

1½ cups coconut cream

1½ cups soy milk


3 Tbsp sriracha


Saute the onion and garlic with a

dash of oil. Once softened add red

curry paste, stock powder, sriracha

sauce (if using), tamarind, miso paste

and peanut butter.

Add remaining ingredients and allow to simmer until it begins to thicken.

Serve with vegetables and proteins over rice or with noodles. I’ve served mine with rice noodles as a fresh salad. Works really well with fresh flavours such as lime and coriander!

Note: This sauce is quite spicy so leave out the sriracha for a more mild satay sauce.

Annalise Jose’s tandoori butter chickpea curry

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 onion, diced

1½ cups of diced pumpkin, cut into 2cm pieces

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 heaped Tbsp tandoori paste

2 cups of canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 cups of crushed tomatoes

2 cups of coconut cream

1 Tbsp brown sugar

juice and rind of 1 lemon

½ cup fresh coriander, roughly chopped


Heat a large frying pan over medium heat.

Add oil, onion and pumpkin. Stir-fry for five minutes, until lightly brown. Add tandoori paste and crushed Garlic and cook for two minutes.

Now add chickpeas and tomatoes, pour in coconut cream and bring to a simmer for 15 minutes. Add brown sugar, chopped coriander and lemon.

Season with salt to taste and serve with rice and steamed greens.


Fantastic seeing ODT publishing more vegan recipes. Keep it up guys.


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