Chakalaka is a truly South African spiced dish, the ingredients of which are left both to individual taste and what vegetables are available when the dish is made.
The addition of okra, which is indigenous to Africa, to the Chakalaka makes for a uniquely tasty dish.
One of the requirements of Chakalaka is that it's spicy and contains tomatoes.
The quantities of the ingredients are fairly flexible
Apart from the tomatoes some of the vegetables may be omitted with others added.
Of course since this is an Okra and Chakalaka dish you would always add the okra, although you could always make the Chakalaka on its own
800g (1lb 12oz) okra, small young pods are best
15ml (1tblsp) salt
190ml (¾cup) red wine vinegar
125ml (½cup) Canola or Sunflower oil
3 cloves garlic
3 red chillies
200g (7oz) onions
500g (1lb 2oz) Tomatoes
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
200g (7oz) carrots
15ml (1Tblsp) curry powder (varied according to taste)
10ml (2 tsp) peri-peri (optional)
For example you could even add shredded cabbage, cauliflower and baked beans
To make the Okra Chakalaka
Top and tale the okra (ie remove the stems), layer in a glass bowl, sprinkle with the salt and add the vinegar. Leave the okra in the vinegar for an hour, this helps to remove any vestiges of sliminess and is the way okra is often prepared in Mediterranean countries.
Crush the cloves of garlic (you could of course use pre-bought crushed garlic)
Chop the chillies very finely
Peel and chop the onions.
Pop the tomatoes into boiling water, remove when the skin splits and remove the loosened skins the chop them roughly.
Chop the red and green peppers very roughly
Julienne cut the carrots (or grate them if preferred)
Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the garlic, chillies, and onions and fry until the onions are translucent.
Add the curry powder, carrots and tomatoes, cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Now drain the okra and rinse very thoroughly before adding to the saucepan together with the peppers.
Allow to simmer for a further 25 minutes, until the okra is tender, in the oil and juice from the tomatoes, stir occasionally to prevent the mixture sticking to the bottom and burning.
If the Okra and Tomato Chakalaka mixture becomes too dry you can add a very little water
Served on its own with crusty French bread or over stywe pap (stiff maize meal porridge)
This Okra and Chakalaka dish make a very tasty and nourishing vegetarian or vegan meal.
It can however also be served with meat and fish dishes.