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Yum yum and Fast to Make
First you plant your vine tomatoes, staked and spaced 50 cm apart… hang on… it’s too much Internet… this is about Chakalaka. Chakalaka is possibly one of the best known, simplest and most disagreed-on recipes to come out of South Africa. So lets straighten the score. Essentially a dish for the all-hours mine workers, Chakalaka was born in the mine compounds and townships. Miners and laborers could make this quick, cheap and easy dish to eat with their putupap (Stywe Pap). People will argue that it’s not derived from an ancient and noble African culture but Chakalaka can boast its origins in Johannesburg and Soweto and is truly a food of the people.
Turn Your BBQ into a Braai
At its most basic level, Chakalaka is a mixture of fried onions and tomato with some chilies added for vooma! Add some curry powder and you’ve got real heat! For more nutrition, tinned baked beans were often included in the mix. As the flavorful dish traveled further afield, spices and vegetables from the traditional Dutch, Malay and Indian cuisines found their way into the pot. Almost everyone will agree with the basic tomato-onion mixture but after that, all bets are off. Many cooks use the basic mixture as a starting point for a flavorful curry or vegetarian casserole but that becomes another story… This is the version shown to me in those first challenging years as a new wife living in the back-of-beyond.
Marog – Indigenous African Greens
With the possible exception of Arctic areas, there are varieties of wild edible “leafy greens” on every continent.
Man has sought these wild crops for millennia, collecting them from the land wherever they could be found. Africans are no different; just as it was done in Europe and the Americas, it was done here. But, as elsewhere in the world, wild greens and the whole concept of foraging has fallen by the wayside though rural people still do gather free food in places.