Chakalaka Recipe - Vegetarian Food from South Africa


Chakalaka Recipe - Vegetarian Food from South Africa
Region / culture: South Africa | Preparation time: 10 minutes | Cooking time: 20 minutes | Servings: 4 | Vegetarian diet



Chakalaka is a traditional South African dish that is bursting with flavor and spice. This vegetable relish is a staple in many households and is often served as a side dish or condiment. It is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed on its own or paired with meat, fish, or bread.


Chakalaka has its roots in the townships of South Africa, where it was created as a way to make use of whatever ingredients were available. The dish has evolved over the years and is now a popular and beloved part of South African cuisine.


Recipe default

How to prepare

  1. Heat oil in a pan and sauté onions, garlic, ginger, and green pepper with the chillies and curry powder for five minutes.
  2. Add carrots and cauliflower to the pan.
  3. Cook gently for about 15 minutes, or until all vegetables are cooked.
  4. Add beans and seasoning to the pan, heat through, then allow to cool.
  5. Serve the dish cold.


  • Add diced tomatoes or tomato paste for a richer tomato flavor.
  • Include other vegetables such as bell peppers, corn, or peas for added texture and color.
  • Experiment with different spices such as paprika, cumin, or coriander for a unique twist.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

Make sure to sauté the onions, garlic, ginger, and green pepper until they are soft and fragrant before adding the other vegetables.

- Be sure to cook the carrots and broccoli until they are tender but still have a bit of crunch.

- Adjust the amount of green chillies to suit your spice preference.

Serving Suggestions

Chakalaka can be served as a side dish with grilled meat, fish, or bread. It can also be enjoyed on its own as a light and healthy meal.

Cooking Techniques

Sauté the vegetables until they are soft but still have a bit of crunch.

- Allow the flavors to meld together by simmering the dish for a few minutes before serving.

Ingredient Substitutions

Use any type of beans you prefer, such as kidney beans, black beans, or chickpeas.

- Substitute the broccoli with cauliflower or any other vegetable of your choice.

Make Ahead Tips

Chakalaka can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Simply reheat before serving.

Presentation Ideas

Serve chakalaka in a colorful bowl and garnish with fresh herbs such as parsley or cilantro for a pop of color.

Pairing Recommendations

Chakalaka pairs well with grilled meats such as chicken, beef, or lamb. It also goes well with rice, couscous, or bread.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop until heated through.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A serving of chakalaka is approximately 150 calories, making it a light and nutritious dish.


Chakalaka is a carbohydrate-rich dish due to the vegetables and beans used in the recipe. Carbohydrates provide energy and are an important part of a balanced diet.


The oil used in this recipe adds healthy fats to the dish, which are essential for overall health and wellbeing.


The beans in this recipe provide a good source of plant-based protein, which is important for muscle growth and repair.

Vitamins and minerals

Chakalaka is packed with vitamins and minerals from the vegetables used in the recipe. Carrots are rich in vitamin A, broccoli is high in vitamin C, and beans are a good source of iron and folate.


This recipe contains no common allergens, but be sure to check for any specific allergies or dietary restrictions.


Chakalaka is a nutritious and flavorful dish that is rich in carbohydrates, healthy fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. It is a great addition to a balanced diet.


Chakalaka is a delicious and nutritious South African dish that is easy to make and full of flavor. Whether served as a side dish or main meal, this vegetable relish is sure to be a hit with your family and friends.

How did I get this recipe?

The memory of discovering this recipe for the first time is a joyful one. It was many years ago, when I was just a young girl living in South Africa. My mother had invited some friends over for a dinner party, and she asked me to help her prepare the meal. One of the dishes she wanted to make was Chakalaka, a spicy vegetable relish that is a popular accompaniment to many South African meals.

I had never heard of Chakalaka before, and I was intrigued by the name. My mother explained that it was a traditional dish made with tomatoes, onions, peppers, and beans, all cooked together with a blend of spices. She said that it was a dish that had been passed down through generations in our family, and that it was a favorite of many of our friends.

As we started to prepare the Chakalaka, my mother told me stories of how she had learned to make it from her own mother, who had learned it from her mother before her. She said that each generation had added their own twist to the recipe, making it truly unique and special.

I watched as my mother chopped the vegetables and sautéed them in a large pot. The kitchen was filled with the warm, spicy aroma of the cooking vegetables, and I knew that this dish was going to be something truly delicious. I helped my mother stir in the spices and the beans, and as we let the Chakalaka simmer on the stove, I could hardly wait to taste it.

When the Chakalaka was finally ready, we served it alongside some grilled meat and freshly baked bread. As I took my first bite, I was amazed by the explosion of flavors in my mouth. The spicy peppers, the tangy tomatoes, and the creamy beans all blended together perfectly, creating a dish that was both comforting and exciting.

From that moment on, Chakalaka became a staple in our household. My mother would make it for special occasions, and sometimes just because she felt like it. I loved helping her prepare the dish, and I always felt a sense of pride knowing that I was helping to carry on a tradition that had been passed down through generations.

As I grew older and started my own family, I continued to make Chakalaka for my loved ones. I shared the recipe with my children, and they in turn shared it with their friends. It became a dish that was loved by all who tried it, and I was proud to have played a part in keeping this tradition alive.

Now, as I sit here in my kitchen, surrounded by the aromas of cooking spices and simmering vegetables, I can't help but feel grateful for the memories and traditions that have shaped me into the cook that I am today. Chakalaka will always hold a special place in my heart, as a dish that connects me to my past and to my family.

And so, as I take the steaming pot of Chakalaka off the stove and serve it to my family, I know that I am passing down more than just a recipe. I am passing down a piece of my heritage, a taste of my childhood, and a reminder of the love and joy that cooking can bring. And for that, I am truly grateful.


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