how to cook chakalaka


Chakalaka is a traditional South African vegetable dish that is both flavorful and versatile. It is made with a combination of onions, tomatoes, and mixed vegetables, with the addition of various spices and seasonings. Chakalaka is typically served as a side dish with braai (barbecue) meats, but it can also be enjoyed as a main course or used as a relish. In this article, we will explore the step-by-step process of cooking chakalaka and provide some tips for making it truly delicious.


Before we dive into the recipe, let’s gather the ingredients you’ll need:

    how to cook chakalaka

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 can baked beans
  • 1 can tomato and onion mix
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Now that we have our ingredients ready, let’s start cooking chakalaka:

Step 1: Sauté the onions

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the finely chopped onion and minced garlic cloves to the pan and sauté until the onions are translucent and fragrant.

Step 2: Add the peppers and carrots

Next, add the diced green and red peppers along with the grated carrots to the pan. Sauté for a few minutes until the vegetables start to soften.

Step 3: Stir in the tomatoes and spices

Now, it’s time to add the chopped tomatoes, curry powder, paprika, ground cumin, sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir well to combine all the ingredients and let the flavors meld together.

Step 4: Simmer the chakalaka

Add the baked beans with their sauce and the tomato and onion mix to the pan. Reduce the heat to low, cover the saucepan, and let the chakalaka simmer for about 20-30 minutes. This will allow the vegetables to fully cook and the flavors to develop.

Step 5: Adjust the seasoning and serve

After the cooking time, give the chakalaka a taste and adjust the seasoning according to your preference. You can add more salt, pepper, or spices if desired. Serve the chakalaka hot as a side dish with braai meats, or as a main course on its own. It also makes a great relish for sandwiches or wraps.

Tips for a Delicious Chakalaka

Here are some additional tips to elevate the flavor of your chakalaka:

  • Feel free to experiment with the types of vegetables you use. You can add cabbage, corn, or any other vegetables of your choice to create your own version of chakalaka.
  • If you prefer a spicier chakalaka, you can add finely chopped chili peppers or a dash of hot sauce.
  • For a smoky flavor, you can add a teaspoon of smoked paprika or a few drops of liquid smoke.
  • Consider garnishing the chakalaka with fresh herbs like parsley or coriander before serving.
  • If you have leftovers, chakalaka tastes even better the next day as the flavors continue to develop while it sits.

Now that you know how to cook chakalaka, it’s time to gather your ingredients, fire up your stove, and enjoy this delightful South African dish!

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