Taking time out to make a meal from scratch can be quite a daunting task during a hectic work week, but this does not stop my taste-buds from craving something fresh. So this week we will be eating a Lesotho favourite made with carrots, tomatoes and bell peppers. Chakalaka is a simple vegetarian dish that can be eaten alone and leaves you wanting extra helpings. However, it can also be served with a choice of assorted braai (barbeque) meat – such as boerewors, steak, chicken, lamb shank etc, usually served with rice, pap or polenta for a complete meal.

Lesotho is a country in the southern region of Africa almost entirely bordered by South Africa. The Basotho diet is mainly made up of meals influenced by the British and South African cuisines so you are sure to get a helping of dessert along with your main meal.

So if you like to try new things like I do, whip up your cooking tools and let’s get to work! Feel free to email us at [email protected] on what you think or share your creative cooking ideas. Don’t forget to follow us on instagram so we can like your foodie pictures too.

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 2  


1 red bell pepper, finely chopped

2 tomatoes, finely chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

2 hot red chillies, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

Cooking Method:

Fry the carrots in a pan for a few minutes then add the onion, chillies and bell pepper. Fry for five minutes more then add the tomatoes.

Cook until the tomatoes break down and form a mush. Season and set aside.




300 g maize meal or polenta

300 ml water


Cooking Methods:

Bring the water to boil and add the polenta until a stiff mixture is attained.

Leave to simmer for 25 minutes, stirring every five minutes to prevent burning.


Plate pap and serve with Chakalaka




Other Chakalaka Variations:


(1) Chakalaka (Beans Recipe)




  • Oil — 3 tablespoons
  • Onions, chopped — 2
  • Bell peppers — 2
  • Hot chile peppers, minced — 2 or 3
  • Garlic, minced — 2 or 3 cloves
  • Curry powder — 2 teaspoons
  • Tomatoes, chopped — 3
  • Baked beans in tomato sauce — 1 (15-ounce) can
  • Salt and pepper — to taste


Cooking Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium flame. Add the onions, bell peppers, chile peppers, garlic and curry powder. Saute, stirring frequently, until the onions and peppers are cooked down and wilted, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the baked beans, salt and pepper and stir to heat through. Serve hot or cold with chopped cilantro.




Or with rice



More Variations:

  • The original chakalaka was probably a simple dish of onions, tomatoes and a little curry powder. These days, every Southern African has his or her own favourite recipe, and many are quite elaborate and served with braaied meats of choice.
  • Baked beans are not necessary, but are very common. They also make it a full meal when paired with mealie pap.
  • Other possible additions include minced fresh ginger (added with the onions), grated carrots, cubed fried potatoes, shredded cabbage or chopped cauliflower (added after the tomatoes and simmered until cooked).




Credits: Chakalaka beans recipe & variations courtesy: whats4eats 




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