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Chakalaka | South African Food 

Take your taste buds on an adventure with this homemade chakalaka recipe – a spicy, savory relish that’s perfect as a condiment or side dish, and it’s also delicious on its own!

South African Relish

Chakalaka is a staple of South African cuisine. It is made from colorful ingredients like tomato, bell peppers, onion, carrots, and chili. It is also very versatile as it can be served with nearly any meal.

What is Chakalaka?

Chakalaka is a staple south African dish made from beans, fresh veggies, onions, pepper, and tomatoes. It is a straightforward and spicy recipe. The combination of its spices really makes this dish stand out.

Interestingly, this relish pairs well with almost anything. You can serve it with bread, rice, south African pap, barbecues, custard, and braai.

Besides, it is gluten-free and vegan-friendly. You can include it in your menu no matter your diet. Whether eating it warm or cold, you will enjoy chakalaka’s delicious and traditional flavor.

Versatile!

If you don’t like spicy food, you can still eat chakalaka. You can reduce the spice in your own version for a mild spicy taste. More so, this recipe is flexible, so feel free to add extra veggies.

Overall, you can make it ahead because it retains its flavor for days if you refrigerate it properly. Chakalaka is a tasty option if you don’t have the time or energy to worry about dinner. Feel free to make this recipe your own. Check out more delicious South African recipes here.

A brief history of Chakalaka

First, this recipe has an interesting origin. Do you know that “Chakalaka” in the Zulu language means “put all together?” Well, I don’t think there can be any other suitable name since they combine all the ingredients in one pot to make a perfect meal.

Even though it is a common meal throughout South Africa, it originated primarily in Johannesburg. According to history, Mozambican mine workers in Johannesburg usually prepare beans, veggies, and spices to eat with putu pap. It spread from them throughout South Africa and has become one of the South African street dishes served, especially at braais (barbeques).

Why I like Chakalaka

  • One-pot and easy clean-up
  • Simple and flavorful
  • Versatile

What is Chakalaka made of?

There are different varieties of chakalaka, but this version is easy to make. It uses easy-to-get ingredients you can get at the grocery if you don’t have them. You can cook this dish anywhere in the world using the following ingredients:

  • Baked beans: The main ingredient. I used canned baked beans in tomato sauce.
  • Aromatics: The combination of onion, garlic, and ginger gives this recipe an irresistible taste and flavor.
  • Vegetables: You need red and green peppers that are deseeded and chopped. Also, I used carrots and red chili flakes. You can use green or red chilies as an alternative to chili flakes.
  • Spices: Add spices to make your chakalaka more delicious. I used curry powder in this recipe. For heat, I added cayenne pepper. You can substitute red chili flakes for cayenne pepper.
  • Tomatoes: I used fresh tomatoes, which I chopped into the pot of beans. Alternatively, you can use canned chopped tomatoes.
  • Salt and pepper: Add salt to taste.
  • Oil: Use vegetable oil or any other substitute you have.
Ingredients for making chakalaka

Chakalaka Seasoning

Let’s talk briefly about chakalaka seasoning. It is a blend of dried onion, garlic, crushed chilies, salt, spices, and red bell pepper. The powdery seasoning adds a rustic flavor to chakalaka. I used fresh ingredients in this version of chakalaka.

Since I used fresh ingredients, chakalaka seasoning became optional. Although it is worthwhile if you use it, I prefer the fresh ingredients for this recipe.

How to make Chakalaka

  • Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onions and sauté them until they become translucent.
  • After, stir in the minced garlic, ginger, and curry powder
  • Add the grated carrots, mix well, and cook for about a minute.
  • Add the diced tomatoes. Stir to combine, cover, and cook over low heat for about 5 to 10 mins or till the mixture is thick but still moist.
  • Stir in the baked beans and leave to simmer for another 5 minutes.

Is Chakalaka a Salad, soup, or condiment?

Firstly, I want you to know that chakalaka being a relish or condiment, is controversial. Specifically, we cannot put it in a category because it takes on different roles at different times.

Depending on the occasion, it can serve as salsa, the main course, a condiment, or a relish. To clarify, the way you cook the recipe will determine the category.

For instance, if you use more veggies, it will look like a salad. On the other hand, if it has more tomato sauce, it will be soup-like. In this case, the texture depends on the amount of veggies or tomato sauce you use.

How long does Chakalaka last in the fridge?

You can keep it in an airtight jar and store it in the refrigerator. It will last up to 5 days without losing taste. Also, you can make it ahead in batches and store it in the freezer.

Cooking Tips

  • Adjust the heat to mild or high to suit your taste and preferences. You can make chakalaka without chili flakes if you want.

How to serve Chakalaka

This recipe is versatile. It can go with almost anything. Pair it with the following:

Other Recipes you will like:

chakalaka

Chakalaka – South African Dish

Chakalaka is a south African delicacy that combines a spicy relish of tomato and beans that will entice your taste buds to salivate.
5 from 2 votes
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Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 red onion finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1/2 inch ginger finely grated
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 red pepper deseeded and chopped
  • 1 green pepper deseeded and chopped
  • 4 large carrots peeled and grated
  • 14 ounce Canned chopped tomatoes or 4 large ripe tomatoes – chopped
  • 1 can baked beans
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼-½ teaspoon red chili flakes or fresh red or green chili deseeded and chopped.
  • 14 ounce baked beans in tomato sauce

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onions and sauté them until they become translucent.
  • Stir in the minced garlic, ginger, and curry powder
  • Add the grated carrots, mix well and cook for about a minute.
  • Add the diced tomatoes. Stir to combine, cover, and cook over low heat for about 5 to 10 mins or till the mixture is thick but still moist.
  • Stir in the baked beans and leave to simmer for another 5 minutes.

Notes

  • Adjust the heat to mild or high to suit your taste and preferences. You can make chakalaka without chili flakes if you want.
  • Feel free to add more veggies to your preferences, like cabbage, zucchini, corn, and so on.

Let’s Connect! You can find me on Facebook, and Instagram. I love keeping in touch with all of you! If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pictures of your creations on Instagram or Facebook. #cheflolaskitchen

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