• Peri peri chicken with boom chakalaka (China Squirrel)Source: China Squirrel

Chakalaka is a South African vegetable relish, usually spicy, that's traditionally served with braised meat, pap and curries.






Skill level

Average: 4.3 (60 votes)


Brined chicken

  • 160 g sea salt flakes
  • 45 g (¼ cup) soft brown sugar
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) apple cider vinegar
  • 2 garlic heads, cut in half horizontally
  • 10 fresh bay leaves
  • 8 thyme sprigs
  • 1 x 1.6 kg chicken, butterflied


Peri peri sauce

  • 15 red birdseye chillies
  • 100 ml olive oil
  • 100 ml red wine vinegar
  • 4 garlic cloves, blanched and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2-3 fresh bay leaves, coarsely chopped


Boom chakalaka

  • 100 ml grapeseed oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 10 fresh curry leaves
  • 1 red birdseye chilli, cut in half
  • 2 lemons, rind finely zested
  • 1 tsp Madras curry powder
  • 100 ml red wine vinegar
  • 5 radicchio (or treviso) lettuce, trimmed and quartered


  • 2 lemons, thickly sliced, plus extra cheeks, to serve
  • extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Marinating time: overnight

For the brined chicken, place all of the ingredients in a saucepan with 1 litre water, bring to the boil, then transfer to a bowl set over ice to cool completely.

Place the chicken in a large deep non-reactive container, pour over the brine to cover completely and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the chicken from the brine (discard brine), rinse under cold running water, pat dry with paper towel and place in a tray.

Pour half of the peri peri sauce over (reserve remaining to serve), coating chicken evenly, then refrigerate to marinate (15 minutes or up to a day).

For the peri peri sauce, preheat the oven to 180ºC. Place the chillies in a roasting tray and roast until lightly coloured and softened (10-12 minutes). Cool, remove the stalks, chop the flesh, then transfer to a small saucepan with the oil, vinegar, garlic, paprika, bay leaves and 1 tsp sea salt flakes, and simmer over medium heat to infuse (2-3 minutes). Cool, then process in a blender until smooth. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for the flavours to meld (at least 15 minutes or up to 3 days). Shake well before using.

For the boom chakalaka, put all of the ingredients, except the vinegar and radicchio, in a small saucepan over low heat and bring up to 70°C. Add the vinegar.

Meanwhile, slightly char the radicchio on a barbecue or chargrill. Pour over the infused oil and let it marinate overnight in the refrigerator, if possible.

To cook and serve the chicken, heat a barbecue to high. Place the chicken on the grill, cover with a lid and grill, basting with the marinade, for 15 minutes or so on each side or until cooked through.

Transfer the chicken to a serving platter. Squeeze over the lemon cheeks and drizzle over the olive oil. Serve with the reserved peri peri sauce and chakalaka.


Photography, styling and food preparation by China Squirrel

(Plates from Stem.) 


Duncan Welgemoed is the head chef at Africola. This recipe is from The Chefs' Line - a brand new series airing weeknights at 6pm on SBS. Can the passion of a home cook beat the skills of a professional chef? Missed all the action? Catch-up online and get all the recipes #TheChefsLine.

This recipe has been edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the series.