According to Wikipedia:

Chakalaka is a spicy African vegetable relish traditionally served with bread, pap, samp, stews or curries.


The ingredients can be varied according to what is available, but the main component is beans. Bean names seem to vary according to where you are in the world, I have used the names printed on the tins.  The measurement “tin” refers to a standard tin of approximately 400g.

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  • Olive oil
  • Medium green pepper
  • Medium red pepper
  • Medium onion
  • Garlic to taste
  • Chilli to taste
  • Tin of speckled sugar beans
  • Tin of butter beans
  • Tin of baked beans in tomato sauce (for a wet chakalaka)
  • Tin of garden peas, drained (for a dry chakalaka)


  1. Roughly chop the peppers and onions
  2. Heat the oil in a wide bottomed pan
  3. Add peppers, onions, garlic, chilli to pan – stir occasionally
  4. Open tins of beans (except the baked beans!), drain and rinse
  5. +a few minutes: Add rinsed beans to pan – stir more often
  6. +a few more minutes: add baked beans or peas – stir, making sure to scrape bottom of pan
  7. Keep stirring every few minutes – test for taste and add more chilli/garlic/curry powder/spice to suit
  8. Stop heating when it seems right, or at the point when it starts sticking to the bottom of the pan


Hot or cold and on its own or with just about anything: it is basically a spicy bean salad.

Favourites are with braaied (barbecued) meat and mashed potato.  Also with mince, pasta, rice, toad-in-the-hole…

Addendum #1:

Best to use a natural pan, i.e. bare metal – none of that non-stick nonsense. My favourite is a seasoned cast iron casserole dish.

Point 8 of the method: when it starts sticking, scrape it up, stir it, let it stick again, repeat until it looks right. After a few goes you’ll find the sweet spot.

Author: Michael

Parent, husband and civil engineer born and raised in Britain before emigrating to Botswana. Interests in construction, information technology, fitness, mechanics and mapping, among others.

4 thoughts on “Chakalaka”

  1. ha ha haha what a suprise….thats why u disappeared for some time u have been cooking! wow i like and ama try it…!

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