A Taste of Africa: Chakalaka (South African Vegetable Stir Fry)

Tue, Mar 08, 2016 @ 02:10 PM

Getting to know Africa includes experiencing the vastly different - and yummy - expressions of each culture through food.

We love the name of this simple vegetable stir fry! Sounds like the lead in for a disco song - Chakalaka - Chakalaka! Can't you just hear it?

You can pair this recipe up with almost anything! It can be a side dish or, as we mostly enjoy it, all on it's own!

Super simple to make and just plain delicious. The trick is to not over-cook the vegetables. We like ours still a bit "crunchy".

Chakalaka_Stir_Fry A Taste of Africa Free Recipe Kitchen and Tableware

Source: Creative Commons, Labeled for Reuse

We love sharing our family recipes with you but please remember you can search online and find lots of variations on this dish and other terrific African recipes.  An online recipe site we use over and over again is The Congo CookbookMy East Africa Journal is also a great source for recipes.  

We just came across a terrific culinary resource - afrolems.com - A food blog for Nigerian, African and Interational recipes.  Visit them - they have a really nice selection of recipes and the instructions are laid out in a really easy to understand manner.

AllRecipes and Food.com are also good resources.  Just a simple web search will turn up a wide variety of recipes for you to try.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3 medium sweet onions, diced (rough)
  • 3 plum tomatoes, rough chop
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 bell peppers, diced (rough)  (we use a mix of whatever we have on hand - yellow, green, red)
  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder (you can use less or a bit more according to your taste)
  • 1 bouillion cube (we use either vegetable or chicken - if you want a truly vegetable stir fry - use vegetable)
  • curry powder to taste (as curry is such a personal decision, we suggest starting with just 1 teaspoon and adding more to taste)
  • salt (to taste)
  • ground black pepper (again, to your taste)

Note: We tend to like things a bit spicy but not all do.  So vary your spices with this recipe until you get it "just the way you like".

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Fry your onions and peppers together in the olive oil. We use a wok but a large skillet/frying pan will work well too. It's done when the onion turns translucent (clear). Don't caramelize the onions.
  2. Then add the carrots and water, all your seasonings (again - to taste), tomatoes.
  3. Simmer for about 20 minutes.

This stir fry is terrific on it's own, as a side dish, or accompanied by some rice.

Please experiment. We've given you just the rough idea of what we do. One of our relatives grates the carrot (although we prefer rough chunks of carrot). Another friend adds some chopped hot peppers or a diced green chili pepper. We sometimes bung in some mushrooms or other vegetables - whatever happens to be in the fridge and seems appropriate.

Enjoy!  And please let us know how you enjoy this recipe and any creative culinary modifications you make. 

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Mustafa Salemwalla

Written by Mustafa Salemwalla

Mustafa hails from Tanzania and spent 30 years getting to know the magnificent continent of Africa. Hence his passion for African art, sculpture, fashion and empowerment of artisans.

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