Chakalaka is a South African vegetable relish, usually spicy, that is
traditionally served with bread, pap, samp, stews, or curries.
~ Wikipedia ~
I’ve never really been a fan
Years ago when Chakalaka became available in supermarkets, I liked the taste of it, but I always thought it lacked something. Reading the Wikipedia entry above, I am relieved that chakalaka is commercially available. How else would I even have known about its existence? But only after I tried making it myself, did I realise what it was that the tinned versions lacked: home-made goodness.
The second time was the charm
I am an avid watcher of TV cooking shows. I actually came across the recipe for home-made Chakalaka years ago while watching an episode of Siba Mtongana‘s Siba’s Table. Her recipe was extremely easy, healthy and looked very delicious. I still didn’t try it though, as it was not really my relish of choice, having grown up with Traditional Tomato Sauce. Moving on a couple of years, I was watching a new Siba’s Table series and again she mentioned her mother’s Chakalaka recipe. Now I had to try it. And I am very happy that I did. Home-made Chakalaka is my new favourite relish! It’s so good that I keep wanting to go back for another spoonful!
What’s not to like?
Siba’s Chakalaka recipe produces a pretty dish full of fresh veggies and nutritious beans. But it is also filled with flavour. The normal flavours in Chakalaka comes from chilli and/or curry, but Siba also adds garlic and ginger. Not very traditional, but it really elevates this dish to something exciting to serve with a braai or a stew. It is very versatile as well. It is delicious hot, but I also love it cold served like salsa. You definitely don’t know what you’re missing until you try it!
Siba's Secret Chakalaka
- 45 ml olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 20 ml ginger, finely grated
- 1 red bird’s eye chilli, deseeded and chopped (I have used jalapeno instead)
- 30 ml mild curry powder
- 1 green pepper, finely chopped
- 1 red pepper, finely chopped
- 1 yellow pepper, finely chopped
- 4 carrots − scrubbed, topped and tailed, and grated (I use 3 large carrots)
- 30 ml tomato paste
- 250 ml tomato purée (I used 1 tin of chopped, peeled tomato)
- 15 ml castor sugar (optional)
- 1 tin baked beans in tomato sauce
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme, stems removed and chopped (I used dried thyme)
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- In a large frying pan, heat the oil and fry the onion for 2 minutes until soft and translucent.
- Add the garlic and half of the ginger – reserve the other half, so you can add it right at the end.
- Add the chilli and curry powder and stir to combine.
- Add all the diced peppers and continue sautéing for 2 minutes.
- Add the carrots, stirring well to ensure they are coated with the curry powder.
- Add the tomato paste and tomato purée and stir. Cook for 5 - 10 minutes until the mixture is well combined and slightly thickened.
- Add the sugar (if using) and stir.
- Remove from the heat. Add the baked beans, fresh thyme, remaining ginger and seasoning to taste.
- In a different version of this recipe Siba doesn't add any sugar. The sauce from the baked beans is quite sweet and I like not having more sweetness, so I don't add sugar.
- If you add peeled, chopped tomato in stead of tomato purée, it makes the relish more chunky. The first time I made this I used a tin of cherry tomatoes which contributes to the sweetness as well.