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This is a wonderful and very proudly South African relish. It’s a well-known companion for meat and salads at a braai. The curry powder and chilli make it a bit spicy, but those can be controlled by using a milder curry and removing the pith and seeds of the chilli. The grated ginger is a delightful surprise, and gives this relish a fresh kick. I like adding a can of baked beans at the end, but doing that is optional.




15ml olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 bird’s eye chilies, deseeded and chopped

50ml ginger, finely grated

30ml mild curry powder

1 green pepper, finely chopped

1 red pepper, finely chopped

1 yellow pepper, finely chopped

5 large carrots, scrubbed, topped and tailed and grated

3ml tomato purée

400g can chopped and peeled tomatoes

400g can baked beans (optional)

2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


In a large frying pan, heat the oil and fry the onion for 2 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, chilies and half of the ginger – reserve the other half to add right at the end. Add the curry powder and stir to combine.

Add the peppers and fry for another 2 minutes, followed by the carrots. Stir well to make sure they are coated in the curry powder.

Add the tomato purée and tomatoes and stir. Cook for 5–10 minutes until the mixture is well combined and slightly thickened.

Remove from the heat, add the baked beans, fresh thyme, remaining ginger and seasoning to taste, and stir to combine. Serve warm or cold.

Siba’s tip…

Chakalaka keeps well in the fridge and can last for up to a week, and longer, if kept in a sealed container. If you plan to freeze it, be sure to reduce the cooking time and undercook the veggies to allow for reheating when it has thawed. Since the beans are added at the end of the cooking process, freezing them won’t cause them to split once reheated. And, since ginger loses its flavour when cooked for a long time, it’s important to reserve half the ginger to add at the end and ensure its flavour won’t be lost.

Siba Mtongana is a passionate and dynamic local celebrity chef and food enthusiast who brought style and charisma to the South Africa television food scene. All recipes are courtesy of her popular book, Welcome to My Table.

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