British Tomato Week with a taste of South Africa: Chakalaka sauce

Tomatoes in the sunshine make a beautiful sight
Beautiful tomatoes in the sunshine
Continuing my celebration of British Tomato Week, here’s my version of traditional South African spicy vegetable relish that it is believed originated in the townships of Johannesburg. The beauty of it is that there are so many versions you can experiment until you’ve invented one of your own. I’d  recommend keeping the baked beans in, they definitely add flavour, texture and comfort.
I served my sauce with delicious boerewors from – yes my favourite biltong company are now producing yummy boerewors made from top quality beef and secret spices. I completed the dish with slices of fried polenta, fried in the juices from the boerewors – my own little South African/Italian fusion dish. It worked perfectly.
Delicious spicy Chakalaka sauce
Delicious spicy Chakalaka sauce
2tbsp sunflower oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 pepper, diced
2 carrots, peeled and grated
4 large tomatoes, diced
2 tsp medium curry powder
1 small dried red chilli, finely chopped
1 small tin of baked beans
Fry the onion and green peppers in the sunflower oil over a medium heat until they are softened.
Add the curry powder, stir and fry for about 2 min to release the flavours.
Add the grated carrots, tomatoes, chilli, beans and 100ml of vegetable stock and mix thoroughly.
Cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn’t stick and adding a little more vegetable stock or water if it starts getting too thick.
Do you have a favourite traditional relish from anywhere in the world? I’d love to hear about it.
Tomato fact of the day
Tomatoes are a sub-tropical fruit and dislike the cold, so they should be stored at room temperature. If you store them in the fridge it impairs their natural ripening and flavour. When you get your tomatoes home, remove them from their plastic bag or packaging and place them in the fruit bowl. It’s also worth remembering that over-ripe tomatoes will go soft even more quickly in the fridge.


  1. Hi Sandy,
    Swahili side dish called : Kajambali : slice tomatoes/onions/chillies, mix with lemon juice and salt to taste. Served with any curried chicken or beef.
    Standard with eating out here on the Western side of Tanzania/Tabora.
    x Esme’

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