Recipe courtesy of Hawa Hassan

Chakalaka and Cheddar Braaibroodjies (Grilled Cheese Sandwich)

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 10 min
  • Active: 10 min
  • Yield: 1 sandwich (easily multiplied)
These grilled cheese sandwiches are typically truly grilled, meaning they are thrown on an outdoor grill over open coals, and are usually served as a sort of snack after a big barbecue (known as a braai in South Africa). They’re a perfect midnight snack and the best way to make use of still-hot coals if you get a second wave of hunger after you’ve eaten a meal and the party is still going. The liberal spoonful of Chakalaka (Spicy Vegetable Relish) makes these extra special. If you don’t have a jar of it in your fridge, you can use any type of relish or chutney. Since we don’t want you to have to wait until you have an outdoor grill going just to make these, we simply call for a hot cast-iron pan. The mayonnaise spread on the outside of the sandwiches means every single bit of the bread will get browned and caramelized (remember, mayonnaise is basically just oil).


Chakalaka (Spicy Vegetable Relish):


  1. Set a cast-iron pan or other heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Spread 1 tablespoon of the mayonnaise on one side of each slice of bread. Place one slice of bread mayonnaise-side down in the skillet and top it with a slice of cheese, then top with the chakalaka and onion. Add another slice of cheese on top of the onion, then place the second piece of bread, mayonnaise-side up, on top. Cover the pan and cook until the bottom of the sandwich is browned, about 2 minutes. Give the sandwich a good press with a spatula and then carefully flip it over, cover, and cook until the second side is browned and the cheese has melted, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately.

Chakalaka (Spicy Vegetable Relish):

Yield: Makes about 6 cups
  1. Warm the oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot set over medium heat. Stir in the onion, garlic, jalapeño, and ginger. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the turmeric, cumin, coriander, and salt. Cook, stirring, just until the spices are wonderfully fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the bell peppers, carrots, cabbage, and tomatoes. reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, giving the mixture a stir every so often, until all the vegetables are tender and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 30 minutes. Turn off the heat, stir in the vinegar, and season the chakalaka to taste with salt. Let the chakalaka cool to room temperature and season it to taste one final time. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week, then serve it either cold or at room temperature.