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.