Chakalaka is a spicy, tangy, bean and vegetable dish whose origins are said to be the townships of Johannesburg or the surrounding areas of the gold mines. It was a dish the miners whipped up from canned beans and tomatoes and spiced up with curry and chilli powder to eat after work with pap, a soft form of posho.

Chakalaka has since evolved with the addition of other spices and vegetables such as bell peppers, carrots, and sometimes even cabbage and pumpkin. Every family has their own version of this popular dish that is often served as a side dish alongside barbecued meats.

Try this version of one of South Africa’s most popular dishes.

500g cooked beans
2 large tomatoes, finely chopped
2 large onions, sliced
½ a bulb garlic, chopped
2.5cm piece ginger, grated
3 large carrots, grated
2 large green pepper, diced
2 tbsp tomato paste
½ cup (125ml) mayonnaise
1 tsp curry powder
Juice of 2 small lemons
1 large chicken stock cubes
1 tsp garam masala
2 tbsp oil
1-2 small chilies (optional)
1 tbsp Royco

1 Heat the oil in a large sauce pan and fry the onion, garlic, ginger, green pepper, curry powder, garam masala, crumbled up chicken stock cube and chilies, if using, until the onions brown and begin to stick to the bottom of the pan.
2. Add the carrots and cook over medium heat until they begin to brown. Add in the beans, stir well and remove from the heat.
3. In a separate pan, cook the chopped tomatoes. Add the tomato paste, Royco, mayonnaise and lemon juice and cook on low heat until well combined. Add to the bean mixture, stir well and add enough water to make a thick stew. Bring to the boil, add a little salt if necessary and simmer for a few minutes before serving.