For one brief moment, the graceful verdancy of cardamom and the maple-like sweetness of fenugreek step forward from our salt-free Chakalaka Seasoning blend, an initial greeting that’s flavorful, but mild. Then the rest of this complex seasoning blend comes to life. A rich incorporation of mustard and Birdseye chiles, cayenne and clove, thyme and turmeric, this traditional South African blend spins this blend into a tornado of flavors. It is woodsy and warm. Spicy and sweet. Herbaceous and earthy. Its flavor is multilayered, and it is fragrant with aromatic garlic and onion, deeply resonant with fenugreek’s perfume, with a citrusy lift from coriander and ginger. We blend our Chakalaka Seasoning in small batches in our facility, so we can ensure quality and freshness in our products.
Chakalaka is a highly-seasoned side dish that most likely originated in the mining communities to the south of Johannesburg and Soweto. The miners, looking to be frugal, combined the remnants of other meals—some tomatoes, some carrots, bulked up with beans to be more filling—into one hearty pot. It was seasoned with a combination of local spices and the ones that were carried in on the backs of Indonesians in the Dutch slave trade. Chile peppers were most likely added by Mozambicans brought to South Africa by the Portuguese. They created a fragrant mélange that is at once a hearty side dish, a relish, or a meat-free main dish. South Africans insist that no braai—barbecue—is complete without chakalaka and the stiff, polenta-like porridge called mielie pap.
Tips From Our Kitchen
Use salt-free Chakalaka Seasoning like you would any curry powder. Sauté with vegetables for a fragrant curry; finish with coconut milk to make a rich gravy. Toast pearl couscous in oil and Chakalaka Seasoning, then cook in tomato sauce. Stir into eggplant that’s been roasted and pureed for a South African take on baba ghanoush. Add to dal, a thick stew with sweet red lentils. Make a quick marinade for fish or chicken with Chakalaka Seasoning, red wine vinegar, and some oil. Marinate for 20 minutes and remove from marinade to grill or bake. It’s also wonderful on grilled fruits like peaches, plums, and pineapple.
Our Chakalaka Seasoning is blended from onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, birdseye chile powder, thyme, coriander, turmeric, fenugreek, cardamom powder, cumin, cinnamon, black pepper, organic curry leaves, clove, fennel, mustard, cayenne pepper, and ground ginger.
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Serving Size1 tsp
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*