Chakalaka recipe from South Africa

Chakalaka recipe from South Africa

Chakalaka recipe from South Africa

This Chakalaka recipe in its present form probably originated in the kitchens of the townships and mining settlements in and around Johannesburg South Africa. The dish is still quite new. It is said that it originated in the hostels where the men in the townships lived. This is where the miners who worked in the gold mines around Johannesburg lived. They are said to have diced their ingredients together to cook a vegetable stew. They also served corn "pap", a porridge made from corn. This one is also known as Mielie Pap. The workers in the hostels had little money to spend. Therefore, there were no solid ingredients for the dish. The recipe can therefore also be used well for recycling leftovers.

What does Chakalaka mean?

It is not known exactly where the name comes from. Some say it comes from the Bantu language Setswana. Others say it means "quick and tasty". Still others claim it comes from the Fanagalo, the language of the miners around Johannesburg. There are also versions that differ in the spelling. One reads Chakka Lakka as well as Shakalaka. However, the name Chakalaka has spread internationally.



There are many chakalaka recipes

The preparation is also varied. Depending on what the workers had available, they added onions, carrots, potatoes, peppers, cabbage, garlic, chilli and curry powder. Sometimes there was also ginger or coriander. Today you can even do one Buy spice mix for Chakalaka *. Originally you spiced it up with what was available at the time. Because curry has been widely used, some believe that chakalaka is inspired by the curries used in Asian cuisines. This is how some see the origin of the dish in the Indo-Malay region.

However, if the origin of the name from the Bantu language is correct, the Chakalaka recipe could also come from the kitchens of Botswana. A thick sauce made from tomatoes and onions is still made there today.

Today Chakalaka is also popular in restaurants

Today the Chakalaka recipe is common as a sauce, soup or stew. In the shebeens, the pubs of the townships, it is often served as an ingredient for poultry, lamb, rice or corn porridge. It also tastes good with Boerewors, a type of sausage that is on the menu in many restaurants in South Africa. Chakalaka is usually spicy. Therefore, Amasi, a type of soured curdled milk that is very popular in Africa, is often added.

I got to know it in the Shebeens on my travels through South Africa. Chakalaka with Boerewors is one of my favorite South African dishes. In combination with the coarse sausage, the vegetable sauce tastes fresh. I liked it best with Mielie Pap or with mashed potatoes. I also like to cook this dish at home. You can also do chakalaka in one Dutch Oven the Camping or on Campfire prepare.


Chakalaka with boerewors
Chakalaka with Boerewors © Copyright Kai Hendry, Flickr CC BY 2.0


Ingredients for our Chakalaka recipe (8 servings)

  • an onion
  • a clove of garlic
  • three carrots
  • one red pepper and one each
  • green pepper
  • half a head of white cabbage
  • six tablespoons of oil
  • a tablespoon of salt
  • five tablespoons of chakalaka spice
  • 150 grams of green peas
  • 400 grams of chunky tomatoes in a can
  • 400 grams of white beans
  • a tablespoon of sugar
  • Salt at will



Preparation of the Chakalaka recipe

Finely chop the onion and garlic.

Wash the vegetables and remove the cores from the peppers. Clean the carrots and cut the stalk from the white cabbage. Cut the vegetables into small cubes or thin strips.

Add half of the oil to the cabbage and salt it. Knead the cabbage well and then let it steep for a few minutes.

Put the oil in one pan and fry the chopped onions and garlic cloves in it.

Add the bell peppers and let everything simmer for ten minutes.

Add the chakalaka spice and stir the vegetables well.

Add the cabbage, carrots, and peas to the vegetable mixture. Add the chunky tomatoes and the beans. Season with sugar and stir the vegetables well.

Let the vegetable mixture simmer for about 20 minutes and finally season with salt. If you want it to be particularly spicy, you can add some chili powder.

The Chakalaka recipe from South Africa is traditionally served with corn porridge. But it also goes well with rice or mashed potatoes, coarse sausages or poultry, lamb or ribs.


Do you already know the funny-frisch Chakalaka potato chips? They must taste good.

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Source: own research

Text Chakalaka recipe: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Photos Chakalaka recipe: © see caption

Chakalaka recipe from South Africa
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