08 May 2015

Supermarkets of Mystery: Spicy Chakalaka ~ South African

Boom chakalaka, chakalaka boom boom. South African vegetable relish chakalaka gets added to anything and everything in the B-Kyu Kitchen.

Sometimes the supermarket can throw out some different items, especially the weekly specials at Aldi. They sometimes get products from different parts of the world, and in the last few weeks they seem to have scored case loads of South African goods - ketchup, chutneys and these intriguing tins of chakalaka.

Just saying chakalaka makes you feel happy. Whenever you say it, there's riffs happening from 'Walk the Dinosaur" running through your head in a flash. Just the general use of the word chakalaka at any opportunity makes you feel happy.

"What's for dinner, darling?"
"Shall we have chakalaka?"
"Oh, chakalaka sounds great."
"Chakalaka it is. How do you want your chakalaka, hot and spicy or mild and spicy?"
"Do you want a glass of wine with your chakalaka?"
"I'll do the laundry, then we'll eat chakalaka."

There were two types of chakalaka available at the supermarket, Mild and Spicy or Hot and Spicy. There's no difference to the vegetable mix but the heat level between the two is noticeable. The hot version really did have a little burn kick to it, mixed in with the mild it was just about perfect. The deeper red colour of the spicy chakalaka gives away the amount of extra chilli used.

"Enjoy it on bread or serve as a salad to accompany your favourite meal. Enjoy with pap and wors, at a brai or with any savoury dish."

Chakalaka is a side dish that is a staple of South African home cooking. There's closely guarded family recipes, multiple versions and favourites. It's the type of dish created to help cheap, blander food go a long way and spread out the family food budget or as a relish or sauce for meats. African ground maize dishes (known by a number of names: mealie pap, ugali, fufu) are especially helped by a dollop of this sauce.

The main ingredients are onion, beans and tomatoes, there also seemed to be carrot in the mix. There are a variety of spices used, from curry to chilli and more chilli.

There's also a fair whack of oil in the mix which helps preserve but most importantly spreads those flavours around even more.

We've been piling spoonfuls of the stuff onto cheese toasted sandwiches, mixed with melted cheese it's a wonder. A dollop with a grilled sausage was a excellent, or as a side dish with lots of other curries would also be great.

"Koo. It's the best you can do."

Chakalaka is available as a limited item from Aldi, about $2.50 a can. It's not cheap, but a little goes a long way.



    Chakalaka with krummel pap, for those who got the skillz. I heard Siba on The Food Channel had a chakalaka recipe, so that shizz has gone mainstream like wagyu biltong in district 9 (bladdy prawns!). I'm backing smileys as the next big street food craze from the Republic to become a hit in Aus - just need fatty cravatty from that TV show to back it, and Coles will stock them quicksmart.

  2. Had to chuckle at the Chakalaka convo in the B-kyu kitchen! hehe



Thanks for your comment joy - please keep your musings happy - if you want to complain about a restaurant please do it on a restaurant review site (or your own blog) - we're all about celebrating cultural diversity and the great eats that come along with it :-)

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