Chakalaka 101


  • 1 cup canola oil
  • A few freshly chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 large onion – chopped
  • Some masala leaves or curry powder
  • About 2 chopped chiles
  • Handful of freshly chopped ginger
  • 5 tomatoes – roughly chopped
  • 1 green pepper – roughly chopped
  • 1 red pepper – roughly chopped
  • 2 large carrots – grated
  • 1 can baked beans (sometimes)
  • Small bunch fresh coriander


Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the garlic and onions. Add the masala leaves or curry powder of your choice and fry for 3-4 minutes to allow it to cook up just a tad. Then add the chiles, ginger and tomatoes and cook until they begin to release their juices and disintegrate (about 10 minutes). Next add peppers and carrots and cook for a further 10 minutes. Lastly, add the baked beans (optional) and heat through. Remove from heat and sprinkle with fresh chopped coriander and add salt and pepper to taste.

This is such a versatile sauce that you might as well make a whole batch of it while you’re about it. Leave the rest for a day or so; it’s even better when the flavors have fused. You can serve this hot or cold with anything that’s lacking a bit of voomah. Use in bread or muffin mixes, as a marinade for meat and kebabs, over pilchards, hamburgers and fish cakes, with a Malay curry or served as mixed vegetables sprinkled with cheese and grilled.

Then I make . . .

Pap fingers
See page 50 for basic pap recipe.

When the pap is cooked spoon it on to a layer of silicone paper. Keep a finger bowl of water next to you at all times as this will help keep your hands clean and lubricated. Use your wet hands to flatten the pap into a layer about ½ inch thick. Cut the fingers ½ inch x 2 inches – think of shortbread biscuits.

You can bake these in the oven for a while or deep fry them until golden brown. But only do this just before you eat as they have a very short shelf life and are best served piping hot.

Pap/ground maize porridge is a popular, inexpensive staple carbohydrate eaten by much of our population. There are different ways of preparing it, which really just depend on how much water you add. Most people tend to make slappap at breakfast time and eat this with milk and sugar. Then there’s the drier, crumbly phutupap, which we’d eat with a savory sauce or meat,
much like polenta, as a main meal. A certain sector of the population believes it’s imperative to have stywepap with a braai, so I can’t pretend that my idea for using this is entirely original.

Last, but definitely not least, I braai . . .


Bargain on 2-3 lamb loin chops per person, cut off any excess fat.

The marinade:

Vesuvio olive oil
Zonnebloem Sauvigon Blanc
Coriander seeds
Mustard seeds
Red, black and yellow peppercorns
Crushed garlic
Fresh rosemary stalks and leaves

Combine all the marinade ingredients in equal quantities (strip the rosemary leaves from the stalks and just use the leaves), except the wine and olive oil – give it a bash with a mortar and pestle, then add the wine and olive oil, mix, and marinate the chops in this for a couple of hours. When the fire is good and hot, I take the rosemary stalks and use them as skewers. I jab a couple of chops on to each to create a "rack of lamb" so that I can crisp up the fatty strip without the chops falling over. I hate nothing more than undercooked fat on a lekker chop. When this is done I pull the stalks out, sprinkle with a smattering of salt and pepper and quickly sear both sides. I like mine pink in the middle – a dry lamb chop is akin to eating sawdust and displays a total lack of respect for the lamb.


About the Show

Cooked in Africa

Based in Cape Town, South Africa, Cooked in Africa producer and host Justin Bonello describes himself as a “cook, traveler, father, husband, filmmaker, gardener... and not particularly in that order.” Bonello works on projects that bridge his love of travel and food. The self-taught bush cook is a fan of the slow food movement, and in his work on the show has covered over 5,000 miles. As Bonello himself puts it, “Cooking, travelling and filming is all in a day’s work.

More Recipes