When I think of chakalaka the things that come to mind are braais, salads, and good company. I don’t remember a time we didn’t have chakalaka at a family braai. If not then either green salad, creamed spinach, or beetroot salad was a definite. Chakalaka is a South African spicy vegetable relish, and when there’s chakalaka there definitely has to be mealie pap.
Although its exact origins are unknown, some believe it originated from mine workers in Johannesburg who added tomatoes, beans and chili to create a vegetable dish. This dish has become a South African staple, and it has become so popular you can buy it in cans in the supermarket, but nothing beats fresh homemade chakalaka!
There’s no exact recipe for chakalaka, and it varies from one family to another. My family loves hot food, so we would usual use more than one chili for an extra kick, and on some days to give it a sweet and chili taste my mother would add some fruit chutney. The recipe can also vary from one to another according to preference: some add cabbage, and sometimes it is made without tomatoes, but most recipes contain tomatoes, Koo baked beans, and peppers.
You can also make this recipe vegan or vegetarian by using baked beans that do not contain any animal products or by substituting the baked beans with chickpeas. Chakalaka is said to be a relish, sauce or salad. Whichever way you prefer to call it, it can make a great addition to Christmas lunches, Sunday roasts, and is best enjoyed with garlic rolls or pap, alongside braai meat. A definite crowd pleaser!
Prepare your vegetables:
Peel and chop onion into quarters add to your Omniblend jug with ½ C water and pulse for a fine chop.
Peel, or scrub carrots and grate (You can pulse your carrots with a cup of water for a fine chop).
Decant the can of whole tomatoes in the jug, and blend till smooth. Or use 3 fresh tomatoes (boil tomatoes for a minute, until the skin starts to peel, plunge in cold water and then peel the skin. Then add to you Omniblend jug and blend till smooth).
Finely chop the garlic, peppers and chilies.
Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onions, garlic, peppers and chili cook until soft.
Then add the spices (more or less depending on how spicy you would like it to be) stir to combine.
Stir in the carrots and tomato paste, the mixture should be well combined. Cook for a few minutes while stirring occasionally. Then add the tomatoes, and cook on a low heat until the vegetables are cooked but just slightly crunchy. Finish off with the baked beans and simmer for a few minutes.
Taste and season with salt and pepper. Can be served hot or cold.
Using the OmniBlend I with a 2ltr jug made it super easy to prepare the vegetables as, just a few pulses and you’re ready to go. The 2ltr jug is suited for both wet and dry ingredients, and for smaller dishes (because of the narrow base) like spreads, hummus, nut butter and pesto.
This recipe was developed by Bernice, who’s handling OmniBlend’s customer service and sales, and in contact with foodies around the country on a daily basis. Bernice has a background in food technology, and is passionate about all that looks, smells, and tastes like food. She loves sharing how you can get the most out of your OmniBlend.
This harissa recipe is so easy to make at home with a food blender. The warm flavours of roasted peppers and spice, and hot chillies make the sauce irresistible. Homemade Harissa is much more value for money, and it’s always rewarding to make this unique Middle Eastern blend in your own kitchen. Use it as a marinade for grilled chicken wings, mix it in a salad with chickpeas, roasted butternut, and baby spinach, or simply add some of this paste to spice up your avo on toast and other sandwiches.
No doubt the increased interest in the Middle Eastern kitchen, has contributed to the popularity of Harissa. Recipes vary slightly, however the chillies are an essential ingredient. The OmniBlend is a powerful food blender that purees pastes like these with ease. Any kind of (commercial) chilli sauce, is best blended using the 2 liter jug, which has a narrow base (or our 1.5 liter jug with the narrow base). For this recipe we used the OmniBlend I – 2ltr Pro, which is also used in commercial kitchens to blend sauces.
Ingredients (for about 2 cups):
3 Red Peppers
2 Red Onions
3 Cloves Garlic (big cloves)
3 Medium Hot Serenade Red Chillies
1 ½ tsp Coriander Seeds
1 ½ tsp Cumin Seeds
1 ½ tsp Caraway Seeds
4 Tbsp Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
100g Tomato Paste (about 4 tbsp)
1 Tsp Course Sea Salt
A little olive oil
Preheat oven at 250C
Half and deseed the peppers, drizzle some olive oil on top, and place them skin up on a tray. Grill in the oven, for about 10 minutes, keeping close eye on it. It needs to char, but be careful not to burn them completely.
Remove from the oven, and cover with foil or a plate to cool down. Once cooled down, peel the skin off, and discard the skin. Add the peppers to the OmniBlend jug.
Place a dry frying pan over low heat and lightly toast the coriander, cumin, and caraway seeds for 2 minutes. Remove them and add to the OmniBlend jug.
Now heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat, and fry the onion, garlic, and chilies for 10 to 12 minutes, until a dark smoky colour and almost caramelized. Add to the OmniBlend jug.
Add the lemon juice, tomato paste and salt to the jug too, and then start blending. Blend until smooth, add to 1 or 2 glass jars, leave to cool on the counter, then store in the fridge.
We've also used this harissa for Ottolenghi's Pappardelle with Rose Harissa, Black Olives & Capers; replacing the rose harissa with 3 tablespoons of this recipe. It was so delicious, give it a try!
Tahini, the Middle Eastern sesame paste, is made of just sesame seeds and oil and adds so much flavour to your recipes! Tahini is used in hummus …duh… and it’s actually very versatile. If you find that a jar is usually just sitting in your fridge, and you’re not sure what to use it for, you’ll want to check these recipes.
There are many ways to use tahini, and we’re sharing our 5 favorites:
Adding a few spoons of tahini will make a dressing that’s rich, creamy and velvety. For an everyday vinaigrette, whisk together tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, honey and minced garlic. Or try this Sweet Potato Buddha Bowl with Maple Tahini Dressing from the Minimalist Baker.
Tahini gives creaminess and a rich flavor to all your dips. Mix it with a sour cream for a nutty, tangy dip for pita chips. Tahini also makes a great dip for raw veggies: just add lemon juice, salt and a little pepper and enjoy a delicious snack. Try this 5-minute dreamy vegan and gluten-free tahini dip by Gimme Some Oven that’s delicious with chips, veggies, breads, falafel or chicken strips.
If you enjoy smoothies with nut butter you’ll love a smoothie with tahini. It adds a creamy texture and depth of flavour to your smoothies. Try this Berry & Tahini smoothie from Green Kitchen Stories that’s both tart & savory.
Tahini makes a great spread on toast and rice cakes. Tahini has the consistency of nut butter, making it the perfect substitute. Spread it on toast with some sliced bananas, or try this chocolate tahini spread as a healthy alternative of Nutella, on sourdough toast.
Try adding a few teaspoons of tahini to your soups! Tahini works well as a substitute for dairy in vegan soups to create creaminess. Try this creamy broccoli tahini soup.
Tahini can be used in sweet and savory dishes, and in fact you can replace nut butter with tahini in all your recipes that include nut butter. That makes tahini a perfect substitute in case of nut allergies, and as it's high in vitamine A, and B vitamins, healthy fats, and essential minerals, it's a highly nutritious replacement.
Now that you know how versatile it is, you’ll want to make your own, to always have it at hand. Try our recipe and make your own homemade tahini in just 5 minutes with your OmniBlend blender.
Winter’s upon us, days are shorter, and the mornings are becoming slightly colder. That doesn’t mean we have to give up our favorite salads as we have warm flavours to look forward to in autumn and winter. It’s the time of the year for cozy comfort dishes, and the season comes with an abundance of beetroot, butternut, pumpkin, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, figs and oranges to name a few. Use these for your salad this season, cause salad doesn’t always mean lettuce, and autumn salads are perfect for the cooler weather.
This season’s salads are made using roasted seasonal vegetables, apples and nuts for crunch, and quinoa or brown rice. Add some fish, chicken or eggs for protein to make it a substantial meal for lunch or dinner.
A salad is not a salad without the dressing, so we’ve picked our top 5 dressings and we’ve paired them with some great salads.
You can make these dressings using the OmniBlend 2 liter jug. The 2 liter jug is most versatile because of the narrow base. This narrow base works excellent for a smooth dressing, or sauce. Making these recipes with your OmniBlend blender will definitely prove that making your own salad dressing is fun, fresh and easy.
Creamy Cashew Green Goddess Dressing (vegan)
A delicious Creamy Cashew Green Goddess dressing that gets its silkiness from the cashew nuts that are blended to a milky texture. You definitely want to try this recipe with a quinoa salad, with fresh cucumber and chickpeas. Any leftovers of this dressing are also great on a sandwich, or as a dipping sauce for raw veggies on a platter. Dairy free, and vegan.
Photo credit Cookie+Kate
Avo Coriander Dressing
Ever hosted a Texmex party? This Avocado Coriander Dressing is great on a spicy Western salad with roasted sweet potato, black beans and corn. It brings all the flavours together really well. Just blitz the ingredients using the pulse, and you’re done!
Photo credit Pinch of Yum
Green bean salad Ginger Carrot Vinaigrette
Autumn is the season for warm root vegetable flavours like carrot and ginger, and this Ginger Carrot vinaigrette goes perfectly with tossed green beans, topped with cherry tomatoes, and toasted almonds. Toss some grilled chicken breast strips in for additional protein.
Photo credit 101 Cookbooks
Harvest Maple Dijon Dressing
Citrus is another autumn favourite, and this Harvest Maple Dijon Dressing pairs beautifully with a zesty green salad this season, topped with some orange and avocado slices. Add some grilled halloumi and it’s a winner!
Photo credit TheKitchn
Ginger Cranberry Dressing
This Ginger Cranberry Dressing is for the more adventurous in the kitchen. Replace fresh cranberry with (defrosted) frozen cranberries when they’re hard to get by. Or use dried cranberries, and leave the maple syrup out as it will have sweetness already. This dressing is magical in a warm kale salad with apple and walnuts or almond slivers.