South African Chakalaka (Vegetable Relish)

Chakalaka – Where Pap (cornmeal) is the staple for any dinner or braai in Johannesburg, Chakalaka is the mandatory side dish. This spicy vegetable “salad” is a mixture of sautéed canned chickpeas, grated carrots, peppers, tomatoes, garlic, and spices. It was most likely invented in the Johannesburg townships by immigrants from Mozambique who came to work in the mines in the 19th century and brought with them their Portuguese culinary influences (piri-piri chicken is another). Boerewors (grilled beef sausage) with Chakalaka; no Braai is completed without them.

Chakalaka – South African Relish

This spicy vegetable relish is traditionally served along with South African Boerewors sausage. It is also a wonderful accompaniment to most any grilled meat, chicken, or sausage. A food processor can make preparing the vegetables for this a cinch.
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Course: Braai, Condiment, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: African, South Africa
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 8
Author: My Hungry Traveler


  • large saucepan
  • Food processor with grating blade


  • 3 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 large Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 each Green, red, and yellow bell peppers, (3 total), finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp Curry powder
  • 2 medium Green chili peppers, minced
  • 2 cloves Garlics, minced
  • 1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 5 large Carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
  • 15 oz Can of diced tomatoes and juices
  • 2 tbsp Tomato paste
  • 2 sprigs Thyme (1 tsp dried)
  • Ground black pepper


  • Cut vegetables, either by hand or with a food processor using the blade and grating attachments. Heat olive oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add onion and salt and cook until translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in curry powder, chili and bell peppers, garlic, and ½ of the ginger. Stir for 2 minutes then add carrots and a pinch of salt. Stir in tomatoes with juices, 1 cup water, and tomato paste. Lower heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes to reduce. Remove from heat and mix in thyme, and remaining ginger. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour in a serving bowl to pass between diners.


Calories: 48kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Sodium: 478mg | Potassium: 337mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 7668IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 1mg

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