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Chakalaka 101

Learn how to make this spicy relish plus great serving suggestions.

01 Apr 2012

Scroll down for some great recipes for this spicy relish.

Considering South Africa's colourful history, it's no wonder something as unique as chakalaka was eventually created. It's said that way back when black mine workers threw everything they had, onions, carrots, garlic, chillies, cabbage, green pepper, ginger, curry spices, coriander and, if they had it, a can of baked beans in a pot, let it simmer and served whatever came out over their beloved pap.

If the 'sauce' had a chance to sit, it would have thickened and the flavours would have had a chance to improve wonderfully to create the spicy condiment we know as chakalaka today.

It's served as both a sauce and a relish, but also as a cold salad with other greens. And don't think it's only served in shebeens or at melancholic ex-pat braais in the far corners of the world. Many a swanky bushveld, city or waterfront restauranteur, proud to show he knows how to fuse first world cuisine with third, is serving chakalaka in various guises.

There's so much you can do with chakalaka once you've made a good lot of it. Leave it for a day or so for the flavours to fuse, then use in bread or muffin mixes, as a marinade for meat and kebabs, over pilchards, hamburgers, fish cakes; with pap and wors, with a Malay curry or stirred into mixed vegetables, sprinkled with cheese and grilled. In fact, it tastes so good that many a big food company has included it in its lineup of products, from stock and dry spice in a box to tinned chakalaka in medium or hot, braai marinades, 'pap mixes' and more.

Like most recipes, chakalaka ingredients vary quite a bit, but you won't go wrong with this perfect chakalaka recipe. The ingredients almost always include grated carrots, chopped garlic, chunks of green pepper, sliced onion, cauliflower florets, chopped chillies, curry powder and a tin of baked beans.

5 things to do with chakalaka

1. Chakalaka

2. Pork bangers and chakalaka

3. Chakalaka muffins

4. Mushroom boerewors on chakalaka

5. Savoury braai bread




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