Chakalaka (South African Relish with Baked Beans)

This Chakalaka recipe is an authentic South African relish that can be served as a side dish with bread, maize flour porridge or when having a barbecue. Vegetables in the Chakalaka recipe can vary, but it is always vegan.

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This Chakalaka recipe lets you believe you are in South Africa.

What is Chakalaka?

Legend has it that the Chakalaka recipe originated in the townships of Johannesburg when Mozambican workers cooked tinned products after returning from their work in the gold mines. They combined some Portuguese flavor with vegetables, resulting in the traditional recipe for Chakalaka: a great relish that can be served as a side dish with nearly everything.

This Chakalaka recipe makes for the perfect side dish

Usually, Chakalaka is eaten cold with bread, pap (maize flour porridge), or samp (dried, stamped corn kernels). Or it is with braai (barbecue).

We ate our Chakalaka with bread and really liked the combination of the spicy Chakalaka with the somewhat more moderate taste of bread. Different families have different recipes and different ingredients. Yet, carrots, onion, tomatoes and baked beans are in every Chakalaka recipe. Just like the garlic and curry powder.


For 4 servings as side dish

Chakalaka recipe ingredients
  • 1 large spicy chili, chopped up
  • 1 ½ inch (4 cm) of ginger, chopped up
  • 1 onion, chopped up
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped up
  • 1 big tablespoon of curry powder
  • 3 teaspoons of thyme
  • 2 teaspoons of paprika powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 cube of vegetable stock
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped up
  • 2 big carrots, jullienne
  • 2 big tomatoes, seeded, chopped up (only use the flesh and remove the liquid)
  • 1 can of baked beans (net weight 425 grams, drained weight 240 grams), leaked

Kitchen utensils

  • Saucepan

Step-by-step Chakalaka Recipe

Prep: 15 min. | Cook: 10 min. | Total: 25 min.

  1. Chop up the onion, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 ½ inch of ginger and the chili. Keep half of the ginger separated from the rest. Chop up the yellow bell pepper and cut the carrots julienne. Seed the tomatoes, remove the liquid and dice them. Let the beans leak.

  2. Heat up 3 tablespoons of olive oil (or other vegetable oil) in a saucepan. 

  3. When the oil is hot, add the onion and stir well. After a minute, add the garlic, chili and half of the ginger. Also add the yellow bell pepper and stir well.

  4. After two minutes, add the spices (curry powder, paprika powder, thyme, salt and pepper) and the cube of vegetable stock and stir just a little. Add the carrot and make sure it is well covered in the curry powder. Stir well on high heat. 

  5. After two minutes, add the diced tomatoes, the other half of the ginger and the baked beans and keep stirring for another minute.

  6. Let cool down. 

Serve with bread, or as a side dish to whatever you like!

And so is the result of this Chakalaka recipe.


Recipe: Chakalaka (relish from South Africa)
Country: South Africa
Prep: 15 min.
Cook: 15 min.
Total: 30 min.
Ingredients: chili, ginger, onion, garlic, curry powder, paprika powder, thyme, carrot, yellow bell pepper, tomato, baked beans
Type of meal: side dish

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