What’s the perfect accompaniment to meat, bread, pap, potatoes, and stew? Chakalaka, of course! Every South African knows all about Chakalaka. We’ve all got our favourite Chakalaka dish, which can be served extra spicy or mild and enjoyed hot or cold! Chakalaka is a dish that wears many hats. It’s served as a relish, a condiment, a salsa, and very often even a main dish. It consists of vegetable relish made from onions, tomatoes, beans, peppers, chilli, garlic and ginger. Of course there are no real rules to making Chakalaka. It was a meal of the hardworking poor in the past and today it is a treat for every South African – young, old, rich or poor! Because of this, it seems that every South African has a favourite family recipe stashed away somewhere.
Before we jump right into a delectable BBQ Chakalaka chicken recipe of our own, let’s take a quick look at the history of the dish. Where does Chakalaka originate from and why is it so popular in South Africa? Let’s find out…
What is Chakalaka?
You might be wondering where on earth Chakalaka even comes from and the answer is probably going to surprise you! Chakalaka, which is Zulu for “all together”, hails from the townships of Johannesburg. Yup, that’s right. This delectable spicy dish is a product of South Africa. Now that’s something to be proud of!
While the exact history of the dish is hard to pin down, it is said that years ago the mineworkers in Jo’burg would return to their townships after a long day to cook up a hearty meal. Evening meals would be simple hot pots, cooked up with any veggies they had, along with tinned tomatoes and beans. Adding spice simply gave it unique flavour and the fact that many of the mineworkers were Mozambicans who were used to spicy Portuguese food, meant that spice was the norm. Just how much spice you add to your own Chakalaka recipe will depend on who created the recipe that you’re following. Nowadays of course, you can buy Chakalaka in a can at the local grocery store in South Africa and you will notice that the options range from mild to very hot. What do you do if you can’t just pop down to the local store to buy a can of Chakalaka? Just make your own!
Enough Chakalaka Chit-Chat; Let’s Cook!
Chicken chakalaka recipe:
You’ve probably read quite enough to get your taste buds rearing to go already, so without much further ado, let’s jump right into one of our favourite recipes; BBQ chicken Chakalaka. This particular recipe is quick and easy to make without compromising on taste or texture.
What you need:
- 8 pieces of chicken
- BBQ sauce of your choice
- 3 tablespoons of oil
- 2 chopped onions
- 2 green or red peppers
- 2 red chillies minced
- 2 garlic cloves grated or minced
- 2 teaspoons of curry powder
- 1 tin of whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 tin of baked beans in tomato sauce
- 4 potatoes cubed
- Salt and pepper to taste
What to do:
- In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat and then add the cubed potatoes. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the cubes of potato start to soften slightly.
- Increase the heat and add the chicken pieces to the pot. You will need to stir thoroughly to ensure that the chicken is decently coated in the oil. This will also help to reduce the possibility of the chicken pieces sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Add generous amounts of BBQ sauce to the pot and stir thoroughly, yet again coating the chicken pieces.
- After 5 minutes of cooking on high heat and stirring to ensure that the chicken doesn’t stick to the pot, turn the heat down and add salt to taste.
- Add a small amount of water so that the chicken can cook through and simmer for several minutes.
- Once the chicken is cooked, set it to one aside.
- In a separate pot, sauté the chopped onions and peppers for a few minutes, until the onions start to look see-though.
- Add the garlic, chilli and curry powder to the mix. Stir thoroughly and then cook for a further 2 to 3 minutes.
- Pour the tinned tomato into the pot and stir thoroughly. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the mixture for around 5 minutes. The tomato needs to simmer gently.
- Add the tinned baked beans and stir into the mixture. Simmer gently for 5 to 10 minutes on low heat until the potatoes are cooked through and the sauce has thickened.
- Once you are happy that the sauce is thick enough and cooked through, pour it over the chicken pieces and potatoes.
- Last, but not least; enjoy!
This sauce can be served as a main dish or as an accompaniment. Serve with rice, pap, or bread for the best possible enjoyment.
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