Chakalaka and grilled chicken: Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes for a braai

What’s the difference between a braai and a barbecue? Some might jump straight to the flames for the answer: a braai always has a proper fire with wood to cook food on, whereas a barbecue can be called a barbecue whether it’s open flame or gas grill. The real difference is in the skills of the braai master, who skilfully delivers juicy meat, homemade boerewors (sausages), braaibroodjie (braai bread – think barbecued toasties) and potjie (cast-iron pots buried in embers and cooked for hours). Not forgetting chakalaka, the relish without which any braai is incomplete.

Chakalaka (pictured top)

For me, this sounds like a word someone who’s about to save the day would cry out: “Chakalaka!” Some call it a relish, others a condiment, but either way it’s great, served warm or cold, with all sorts of grilled meat and vegetables. It’s even a perfectly acceptable option for a sofa supper of baked beans with buttered toast: after all, some days can be saved only this way.

Prep 15 min
Cook 20 min
Serves 4 as a side

100ml vegetable oil
2 green peppers
, halved, stalks, pith and seeds removed and discarded, flesh cut into 1cm dice (250g)
2 onions, peeled, halved and finely sliced (250g)
Fine sea salt
5 carrots
, trimmed, peeled and finely grated (350g)
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
20g ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 green chilli, finely grated (20g)
2 tsp medium curry powder, or hot curry powder, if you want to make it spicy
½ tsp sweet smoked paprika
¼ tsp kashmiri chilli powder
, or regular chilli powder
½ tsp mango powder (optional)
415g tinned baked beans
50g medium mango pickle
, roughly chopped – we like Patak’s
15g coriander leaves, roughly chopped

Put a large saucepan on a medium-high heat and add the vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, add the peppers, onions and a half-teaspoon of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, for five minutes, until softened and translucent.

Add the carrot, cook for five minutes more, then turn down the heat to medium, add the garlic, ginger and grated chilli, and cook for two minutes longer. Stir in the curry powder, paprika, kashmiri chilli powder, mango powder (if using) and a teaspoon of salt, and cook for another two minutes.

Add the baked beans and 100ml cold water, cook for a final two minutes, just to heat through, then take off the heat. Stir in the mango pickle and coriander, and serve warm or at room temperature.

Marinated chicken thighs with fenugreek and ginger

Yotam Ottolenghi’s marinated chicken thighs with fenugreek and ginger.

These spiced chicken thighs are my kind of barbecue food. All you need alongside are some flatbreads, a green salad and the chakalaka above. If you can, ideally marinate the chicken a day ahead, then cover and chill. An hour before cooking, take it out of the fridge to bring it back to room temperature. I’ve provided instructions for cooking the thighs first on a griddle pan and then in the oven, for when the weather isn’t barbecue-friendly. Just make sure to open the windows and ventilate your kitchen well.

Prep 10 min
Marinate 6 hr+
Cook 30 min
Serves 6

300ml double cream
2 garlic cloves
, peeled and crushed
5cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1½ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground turmeric
2½ tbsp dried fenugreek leaves
, or ½ tsp ground fenugreek
½ tsp ground cardamom
1½ tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp lime zest
12 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
(about 1½kg)
Fine sea salt

Put everything bar the chicken in a deep bowl, add a teaspoon of salt, then, using a handheld blender, blitz just until the cream starts to thicken – be careful not to overmix or the mixture will split (if it does split, add a little more cream and mix again to bring it back together). Pour the cream mix over the chicken and, using your hands, toss well to coat. Cover and put in the fridge to marinate for at least six hours, and ideally overnight.

Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6, then put a ridged griddle pan on a high heat and ventilate the kitchen (alternatively, cook the chicken on a barbecue). Lift the chicken out of its marinade and scrape off as much of the cream mix as you can. Stir a quarter-teaspoon of salt into the marinade left in the bowl and put it to one side.

When the griddle pan is good and hot, lay in the chicken skin side down and cook for two minutes, turning once halfway, so it chars on both sides. Transfer the chicken to a large, high-sided baking tray, then spoon all the reserved marinade over the top. Roast for 25 minutes, until the meat is cooked through and browned, then remove and leave to rest for a few minutes before serving.

  • Discover Yotam’s recipes and many more from your favourite cooks in the new Guardian Feast app, with smart features to make everyday cooking easier and more fun. Start your free trial today.


Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.