Chakalaka Tomahawk Steak

Chakalaka is a traditional, spicy South African Relish that can be found at most braais. It is very versatile and can be eaten with almost any meat, sausages or with mielepap. We do not traditionally have a Chakalaka spice, but it is becoming more and more popular, especially here in Germany. Unfortunately, most of them have nothing to do with Chakalaka and I have therefore made my own version that I believe mirrors the flavour profile of the traditional Relish. Let’s get braaiing!

The Steak

You will need:

  • Tomahawk Steak(s)

Ingredients for the Chakalaka Spice:

  • 1 x Tsp Paprika
  • ½ x Tsp Curry Powder
  • ¼ x Tsp Cayenne Pepper (optional – adjust depending on how hot you like it)
  • 1/3 x Tsp Dried Chili
  • ¼ Tsp x Garlic Powder
  • 2/3 x Tsp Dried Origanum
  • ¼ x Tsp Onion Flakes
  • ½ x Tsp Sea Salt flakes
  • ¼ x Tsp Freshly ground Black Pepper

Braaiing Instructions

  1. We start by taking your steak out of the fridge and letting it come to room temperature and then getting all the ingredients ready for the Chakalaka Relish. Peel and dice your carrots finely (julienne-style), slice the onions into chunky rings and the tomatoes and peppers into small squares. Also peel and crush 2 cloves of Garlic and keep all ingredients in separate bowls, ready to add.
  2. Make a fire with high heat. Make sure you create both a direct and indirect heat zone. This is necessary if we are going to cook such a huge steak properly. While waiting for the coals, make the spice.
  3. Simply add the spices together and mix thoroughly. Empty into a shaker and keep handy to add the spice when you are braaiing.

Pro Tip: Do not spice your steak before braaiing. The high heat we are going to use to sear the steak with and create that beautiful crust will burn your spices and give them a bitter taste.

  1. Once your fire is scorching hot, place the steak directly on the heat and let it build a nice crust. Turn and do the same on all the sides before moving it onto the indirect heat zone.

Pro Tip: The steak WILL stick to the grid initially (if it doesn’t, your fire isn’t hot enough!). If the steak is “stuck” when you want to turn it over, then it means it hasn’t caramelized enough yet. Leave it alone and only turn it once it releases by itself. This is how you build that beautiful, caramelization on the outside.

  1. Once the steak is on the indirect heat, you can season it using the Chakalaka Spice. Leave the steak on the indirect zone, rotating, adding spice, and turning occasionally to ensure it gets even heat until it reaches an internal temp of 55C (depending on the size of the Tomahawk and the heat this can take up to 45 mins), then remove it from the heat and let it rest for 5 – 10 minutes before serving.

Pro Tip: The perfect internal temperature for a medium steak is 59 – 60C. We remove the steak from the heat at 55C because the internal temperature will continue to rise even after we take it off the heat before settling down at about 60C after 5 – 10 minutes. If you like your steak more Medium Well done, then you want to take it off the heat when the internal temp reaches 62C and for Medium Rare take it off at 52C.

  1. Immediately once you place the Tomahawk on the indirect zone, start with your Chakalaka Relish (ideally on a different heat source because you need to stir it and when you have the lid open on the indirect zone, then your meat is not getting any heat).


The Chakalaka Relish

Ingredients for the Chakalaka Relish:

  • Red, Yellow and Green Pepper (1 each)
  • 1 x large Onion
  • 1 x Carrot (Julienne)
  • 1 x large Tomato (Diced)
  • Fresh Garlic (crushed)
  • 1 x Tsp Tomato Paste
  • 1/3 a head of Cabbage (sliced)
  • Baked Beans (can)
  • 1 x Tbsp Paprika
  • 2/3 x Tbsp Curry Powder
  • 1 x Tsp Cayenne Pepper (optional)
  • 1 x Fresh Chili (sliced)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Cooking Instructions

  1. Heat a cast iron pan on medium heat and add some Olive Oil. Brown your onions for 3 -4 minutes and add the Garlic and Carrots.
  2. Cook for a further 3-4 minutes and add the Peppers. Stir while cooking until the Carrots are al dente (or in braai terms, they start to droop a bit).
  3. Add the Paprika, Curry powder and Cayenne Pepper and mix through. Once incorporated add the diced Tomatoes, Cabbage and Tomato Paste and again stir through thoroughly.
  4. Add the Baked Beans and the Chili and let it simmer slowly for 20 minutes on medium heat, stirring every so often to let the ingredients and flavours combine. Once its ready, keep it on low heat and serve with your Tomahawk.
  5. When the Tomahawk has rested, serve and enjoy!


This goes well with:

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