Inspired by a question from Jeffrey Myers from Germany… “I am interested in learning more about the origin of the name “Chakalaka”. Could you please explain the origin (etymology) of the name of this delicious dish from South Africa? Thanks so much for your time and help!”
We asked our resident know-the-answer-to-everything person – Alana Bailey – and received this reply on her behalf:
We contacted the Department of African Languages at the University of Stellenbosch to get an answer to your question about “chakalaka”.
Apparently it is a made-up name (not from a specific language). The “ch”-sound comes from the Nguni languages.
The dish probably originated among mine workers, who took the recipe home, and so spread the dish, which is now so popular that you can buy it in cans.
And here are links to three variations of the recipe just in case you would like to try this at home…
But wait, there's more! Here is a recipe for delicious Chakalaka bread from Alana:
2 cups cake flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
4 large eggs (beaten)
1 tin Chakalaka
1/3 cup Cheddar cheese (grated)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1. Heat oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F).
2. Grease small bread tin.
3. Sift dry ingredients together.
4. Add eggs, cheese and chakalaka and mix thoroughly.
5. Pour into tin. Sprinkle more cheese on top if you like.
6. Bake for 45 minutes until it is golden brown.