Chakalaka – it’s as fun to say as it is to eat. Now if you’re a halfway self-respecting South African, you’ll know what this is. But for the benefit of my readers in farflung places, it can best be described as an African relish, eaten most especially with ‘pap’ (kinda like polenta) and meat at a ‘braai’ (barbeque). Chakalaka recipes differ, but at the heart of them all you’ll find tomato, onion, green pepper and chilli spice.

This recipe is based on my friend Thandeka’s mum’s. She laughed when I asked for it, Thandeka that is, not her mum. I spotted some pity under the giggles along with a rather unladylike little snort, but in the end she relented.

What makes this recipe different to most others is the addition of sugar and vinegar, lending a delightful sweet-sour tangy edge to the salty spice. I increased the curry and chilli because I like it hot. And because Robertsons sent over some of their iconic Steak and Chop Spice for me to play with, I incorporated that as well. You can get chakalaka in a tin. You shouldn’t. And once you’ve made this, you wouldn’t.

All you need is…

2 cups finely chopped onion
4 tbs vegetable oil
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2 fat cloves garlic, minced
1 tbs Robertsons Steak and Chops Spice (increase salt content if you leave this out)
3 tbs Rajah medium-heat curry powder
1 x 70g tin of tomato paste
1 cup diced green pepper
2 cups grated carrot
2 tbs dark brown sugar
1 tbs red wine vinegar
4 large ripe red tomatoes, peeled and diced
½ tsp salt
1 tin baked beans in tomato sauce
fresh coriander (optional)

Fry the onion in oil until nice and caramelised. Add the chilli, garlic, Robertsons Steak & Chops Spice, curry powder and tomato paste and fry for a further minute. Add the carrots and green pepper and fry for another minute. Stir while you fry so that any bits clinging to the bottom of the pan are lifted. Next add the sugar, vinegar, tomatoes and salt. Cover and cook on low heat for 15-20 minutes. Add the beans. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature before serving topped with coriander. This chakalaka will keep brilliantly in the fridge for a few days, in fact like most spiced dishes, the flavour improves as it matures.




10 min


20 min


tips, tricks and trivia

More chakalaka options

1) Leave the beans out for a low carb version.
2) Add some fresh ginger.
3) Replace the beans with finely shredded green cabbage or add cabbage to the dish, just remember to taste and add salt if needed.


enjoy with

Celebrate another South African icon at your next braai – our uniquely South African cultivar, Pinotage. Mooiplaas is well known for making accessible, affordable Pinotage. Their 2013 is available online at R102 a bottle.

On the nose it has sweets and fruit cake. On the palate it’s juicy and fruity with well integrated soft oak.



Ook beskikbaar in: Afrikaans