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South African Chakalaka Recipe

South African Chakalaka Recipe

Chakalaka is a spicy tomato bean sauce that originates from South Africa. It is essentially a spicy vegetable relish which is served with bread, curry and stews. Often used as a marinade for kebabs and meat, in hamburgers and fish, it is a very adaptable dish as a variety of vegetables and spices can be added to enhance its flavour based on individual preferences.

South Africans typically serve Chakalaka at celebrations, big gatherings and braais (barbecues).

History & Cultural Significance

South African cuisine has many influences and as such is often referred to as the ‘rainbow cuisine’. Dishes generally have a strong culinary influence from European, Indian and Indonesian cuisines.

History suggests that Chakalaka was invented in the townships of Johannesburg. It is believed that it originated from the gold mines that surrounded Johannesburg by the Mozambican mineworkers.

There they would combine any leftover ingredients together in order to form a nourishing and delicious meal to fuel a hard day’s work.


Chakalaka Recipe

Yield: 2
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Chakalaka is a spicy vegetable relish which is served with bread, curry and stews.


  • Onion – 1 large (finely chopped)
  • Green chillies – 4 (sliced)
  • Garlic – 2 cloves (finely chopped)
  • Ginger – 1 tsp (minced)
  • Curry powder – 2 tsp
  • Yellow bell pepper – 1 (finely chopped)
  • Green bell pepper – 1 (finely chopped)
  • Red bell pepper – 1 (finely chopped)
  • Carrots – 2 large (finely grated)
  • Tomatoes – 2 large
  • Tomato puree – 2 tbsp
  • Green beans – 1 handful (cut into small pieces)
  • Fresh thyme – 1 handful (finely chopped)
  • Black pepper – 2 tsp
  • Paprika powder – 1 tsp
  • Red chilli flakes – 2 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Cooking oil – 3 tbsp


  1. Take a large saucepan. Add oil in it and heat it at a medium heat.
  2. Once the oil is hot, add onions, garlic, ginger and green chillies and fry them until they are soft and translucent. 
  3. Now add all the bell peppers (red, green and yellow) and stir for a minute or two.
  4. Gradually add in the carrots and all the spices (black pepper, red chilli flakes, salt, thyme, paprika and curry powder) and stir.
  5. If the ingredients seem too dry, then add a small amount of water to it and stir thoroughly. Allow the ingredients to simmer for around 5minutes.
  6. Now add in the tomatoes and the tomato puree. Continue cooking for another 2 minutes.
  7. Finally add the beans, a little more thyme and ginger and mix for a minute and then remove it from the heat.
  8. Your delicious and fiery Chakalaka is ready to be served.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 431Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 375mgCarbohydrates: 56gFiber: 16gSugar: 20gProtein: 10g

Chakalaka can be served either hot or cold depending upon your preference. As this recipe is super easy to make, it is a must try if you’d like to venture in to African cooking. Prepare this fiery and flavourful version of Chakalaka and surprise your guests with the flavors of South Africa.

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