We live in such an amazing country here in sunny South Africa. I can’t be more proud to be a South African, really. From a foodie perspective, we sure have one of the richest, culturally diverse cuisines in the world. What defines South African cuisine though? There is no one answer. Take Chakalaka for instance.
Veggie Packed Chakalaka
Believed to have originated from the townships of South Africa, this popular local spicy vegetable relish was made with tinned tomatoes and beans, and added curry powder or chili for extra kick. Chakalaka is usually served with pap or maize and many varieties exist, depending on different cultures and regions within our country. It’s still a firm favourite and an unmistakable symbol of South African cuisine.
I grew up with a family that embraced South African cooking. On weekends, there would always be a braai planned. Boerewors, steak and lamb chops filled up the grills and would sizzle away on the hot coals, while us kids cooled off in the pool. Either stokbrood or pap were made. Both of these were served with the most delicious homemade Chakalaka relish my mom used to make. The leftovers were literally scooped clean out of the pot with bread!
So the other day as I was busy planning dinner, I casually constructed a pasta sauce that we would have that night. Little did I know that it basically turned out to be the exact same taste of my mom’s version of Chakalaka. To cut a long story short, I made such a huge batch that I ended up adding my favourite veggies to this spicy sauce, and happily filled the freezer with Chakalaka to enjoy on a busy day.
The Chakalaka low down
My Veggie Packed Chakalaka consists of the usual suspects. Tomato, onion, mushrooms and beans formed the base of my relish with added peppers, corn and peas. Flavourings such as ginger, garlic, thyme, chili, paprika, curry powder, salt and pepper were added. You can either make it with fresh tomatoes or use the canned variety. A good idea is to let it cook off quite a bit to ensure deep flavour and consistency. How do I enjoy it? Stuffed (my face, yes) in baked potato, sweet potato and butternut.
Do you have a favourite South African recipe? Share with me below in the comments. Enjoy!