Chakalaka recipe from South Africa

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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.

History of the Chakalaka recipe from South Africa?

It is not known exactly where the name came from. Some say it comes from the Bantu language Setswana. Others say it means "quick and tasty". Others think it comes from the Zulu language and means something like "something that was hacked together". Still others claim it comes from Fanagalo, the language of the miners around Johannesburg. There are also versions that differ in spelling. One reads Chakka Lakka as well as Shakalaka. However, the name Chakalaka has spread internationally. I have also read about a Tschakka Lakka recipe. The Chakalaka dish definitely comes from the kitchens of the workers in the townships of South Africa. It's a type of vegetable stew traditionally served with barbecues and braais (barbecues) is served.



Is there an original Chakalaka recipe?

Nobody in particular invented it, it was created from a combination of different African cuisines and European influences. Ingredients vary by region and taste, but typical ingredients include onions, peppers, carrots, tomatoes, and beans. There are also spices such as cumin, paprika powder and ginger.

You keep reading about the Chakalaka recipe in its original version. However, these do not exist. Because the dish was created from what was in stock in the kitchen at the time. Therefore, the preparation is diverse. Depending on what the workers had available, they added onions, carrots, potatoes, peppers, cabbage, garlic, chili, and curry powder. There was also ginger or coriander sometimes. Today you can even do one Buy spice mix for Chakalaka * (Advertisement). Originally, people seasoned it with whatever was available. Because curry was often used, some believe that Chakalaka is inspired by the curry dishes of Asian cuisines. 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.

Where can you eat chakalaka in restaurants in South Africa

Chakalaka is usually served warm and goes perfectly with it grilled, but also with rice, bread or potatoes. In South Africa you can find it in almost every restaurant, but also in the markets and in the street stalls of the cities. Today the Chakalaka recipe is common as a sauce, soup or stew. In the shebeens, the pubs in the townships, it is often served as an ingredient with poultry, lamb, rice or corn porridge. It also tastes good with Boerewors, a type of sausage that is on the menu in many South African restaurants. Chakalaka is usually spicy. That's why they often add amasi, a kind of sour sour milk that's very popular in Africa. Chakalaka is a popular dish among locals and tourists alike.

Chakalaka is not as well known in Europe as it is in Africa, but there are a few restaurants and takeaways that have it on the menu. You can find it especially in big cities like London or Berlin, where there are many South African immigrants.

Try the original Chakalaka recipe in the shebeens of South Africa

I got to know African Chakalaka in the shebeens on my travels through South Africa. Chakalaka with Boerewors is one of my favorite South African foods. In combination with the coarse sausage, the vegetable sauce tastes fresh. I liked it best with Mielie Pap or mashed potatoes. I also like to cook this dish at home. For example, you can do Chakalaka well in one Dutch Oven the Camping or on campfire prepare. You can also find Dutch oven accessories you can also find here.


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


Ingredients for our recipe for Chakalaka (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


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Preparing the recipe for Chakalaka from South Africa

First, 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 then stir the vegetables well.

Add the cabbage, carrots, and peas to the vegetable mixture. Add the diced tomatoes and the beans. Season with sugar and mix 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.


Chakalaka recipes
Peter Mfulo, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Chakalaka recipe from South Africa: Discover the variety of variations

Chakalaka is more than just a side dish. This spicy vegetable dish from South Africa has many faces. Whether as Dip, sauce or stew, Chakalaka is versatile and suits many occasions. Here you can find out how you can vary the recipe to suit your taste.

Classic Chakalaka

The basic recipe is simple. You need onions, garlic, peppers and tomatoes. There are also spices such as curry powder and chili flakes. Everything is fried in a pan and then braised briefly.

Chakalaka with beans

For a more filling option, add cooked beans. White beans or kidney beans work well. They make the dish more nutritious and give it a different texture.

Chakalaka with meat

If you like meat, you can too Sausage or add chicken. Fry the meat beforehand and then mix it with the vegetables. This way you get a complete meal.

Fruity Chakalaka

For a fruity touch, add pineapple or mango. The fruit gives the dish a sweet note and harmonizes well with the spiciness of the chilies.

Chakalaka with seafood

Fish and seafood lovers can add shrimp or squid. Be careful not to overcook the seafood to avoid it becoming tough.


Shakalaka with side dishes
Shakalaka recipe with side dishes


Chakalaka recipe from South Africa: The best side dishes for your dish

Chakalaka is a real classic in South Africa. This spicy vegetable dish is not only delicious, but also versatile. But which side dishes go best with it? Here are some ideas to complete your Chakalaka experience.

Rice: The all-rounder

Rice is probably the simplest and most popular side dish for Chakalaka. It absorbs the sauce well and tempers the spiciness of the dish. Basmati rice or jasmine rice are particularly suitable.

Cornbread: A South African must-have

In South Africa, chakalaka is often served with cornbread. The bread is slightly sweet and complements the spicy Chakalaka perfectly. You can buy it ready-made or bake it yourself.

Potatoes: Simple and delicious

Whether fried, boiled or pureed – potatoes always work. They are a good alternative if you don't like rice. Plus, they're quick to prepare and filling well.

Grilled meat: For meat lovers

Chakalaka and grilled meat are a dream couple. Whether chicken, beef or lamb, the spicy vegetables go well with everything. So if you Grill Chakalaka should not be missed.

Salad: For a light touch

A fresh salad brings variety to the plate. A simple green salad or a tomato salad go particularly well. They bring freshness and are a good contrast to the spiciness of the Chakalaka.


South African recipes

Other Recipes from South Africa you can also find here.

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Chakalaka recipes
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Source Chakalaka recipe South Africa: own research on site. My opinions definitely remain my own.

Text Original Chakalaka Recipe: © Copyright Monika Fuchs and TravelWorldOnline
Photos Chakalaka recipe from South Africa: © see caption, Pixabay, Wikimedia Commons and Flickr Public Domain

Chakalaka recipe from South Africa

Monika Fuchs

Monika Fuchs and Petar Fuchs are the authors and publishers of the Slow Travel and Enjoyment travel blog TravelWorldOnline Traveller. You have been publishing this blog since 2005. TravelWorldOnline has been online since 2001. Your topics are Trips to Savor and wine tourism worldwide and Slow Travel. During her studies, Monika Fuchs spent some time in North America, where she traveled to the USA and Canada - sometimes together with Petar Fuchs - and spent a research year in British Columbia. This strengthened her thirst for knowledge, which she pursued for 6 years Adventure Guide for Rotel Tours and then for 11 years as Study tour guide for Studiosus Reisen tried to breastfeed all over the world. She constantly expanded her travel regions, but curiosity still gnawed at her: “What is beyond the horizon? What else is there to discover in this city? Which people are interesting here? What do you eat in this region?” These are the questions she is now trying to answer as a freelance travel journalist (her articles have appeared in DIE ZEIT, 360° Canada, 360° USA, etc.), among others. travel writer and travel blogger answers in many countries around the world. Petar Fuchs produces the videos on this blog as well as on YouTube. Monika Fuchs from TravelWorldOnline is below Germany's top 50 bloggers in 2021 Other Information about Monika and Petar Fuchs. Recommendations on LinkedIn from tourism experts Further recommendations from cooperation partners and tourism experts Professional experience Monika