Chakalaka marinated roast chicken

I’ve made roast chicken more times than I can remember, but never before with chakalaka. The idea was sparked by a recent cook-off at the Capsicum culinary school. Cooking in pairs, we were challenged to recreate an Asian inspired dish, expertly prepared by Jodi-Ann Pearton, but with an African twist. The only ingredients to choose from were chakalaka, spicy salt and squash. The possibilities seemed bleak. Truthfully, I’ve never cooked with chakalaka before and now I’m wondering what took me so long. There’s loads of lively stuff happening in there. And yes, it comes out of a Koo tin. Reserve judgement until later. I’m now eating my words as well as this succulent roast and it’s incredibly good!

Chakalaka marinated roast chicken

Roast chicken remains top of the most searched recipes on Google. Chicken is one of the easiest proteins to cook. There’s no guessing as to its doneness, like say, red meat or duck. Rare, medium rare, well done aren’t an option. Here’s it’s cook until the juices run clear. Chicken also offers a choice of dark or white meat. For lazy days and hands-free cooking, nothing beats a all in one sheet pan supper. This Spanish roast chicken is super simple and makes short work of weekday suppers.

Chakalaka marinated roast chicken

For this recipe I wanted to incorporate the flavours of chakalaka but without a chunky textured sauce. That’s where the marinade comes in. Chakalaka, fresh ginger, soy sauce, molasses sugar and lemon makes up the paste. I add it all to the blender and whizz it together. The taste is mildly sweet and spicy.  Marinating the bird overnight is best but not essential. If you only have an hour to spare, that’ll do. I throw a hefty portion of potatoes in too. As the chicken roasts all the pan juices coat the potatoes and they cook down marmitey and delicious.

Chakalaka marinated roast chicken

Chakalaka marinated roast chicken


Chakalaka marinated roast chicken
Serves: 6

Marinade ingredients

    • 3 heaping tablespoons chakalaka (hot and spicy)
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 3cm knob ginger, grated
    • zest of 1 lemon plus juice of half
    • 1 teaspoon honey
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon melted butter
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • black pepper
  • 1.5kg free-range chicken
  • 8-10 roasting potatoes, washed and cut into wedges
  • extra lemon wedges, to serve
  1. Place all the marinade ingredients into a processor and blitz until smooth.
  2. Smear the whole chicken with the marinade, cover and set aside for at least an hour or preferably overnight in the fridge.
  3. Bring up to room temperature before roasting. Preheat the oven to 180º C.
  4. Transfer the chicken to a roasting tray. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  5. Arrange the potatoes around the sides, drizzle with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
  6. Cover with foil and roast for about 45 minutes.
  7. Remove the foil and turn the oven up to 200º C. Baste the bird and potatoes with the pan juices and roast uncovered for a further 50-55 minutes until the skin is golden and the juices of the chicken run clear when pierced. Check that the potatoes are fork tender.
  8. Cover with foil and rest for about 10 minutes before carving.



7 Comments. Leave new

  • Your chicken looks SO good, Dianne! I would have to say my favorite meal is a good roast dinner, especially roast chicken! It’s not just the delicious food (I think I might be addicted to roast potatoes!) but the ritual of the family feast. I can remember my sister mentioning Chakalaka before (she is Zimbabwean) but I have never seen it here in the UK. What is it and what could I use as a substitute? xx

  • I’ll admit, I usually think of roasted chicken as my “I don’t know what else to do” sort of dinner option. But now with this recipe, it might be my new specialty! This looks so delsh… can’t wait to try it out with the fam!

  • Dianne Bibby
    11 August 2016 4:31 am

    Chicken has definitely stepped up its dinner game plan. With so many new ways to roast this bird, the possibilities are endless. I hope this recipe becomes a new favourite.

  • Dianne Bibby
    11 August 2016 4:43 am

    Chakalaka is a traditional South African condiment usually served with stews and pap (corn porridge). It’s a spicy mix of onions, sweet peppers, carrots, chili, curry and sometimes beans.

  • Keith Perritt
    18 October 2020 9:58 pm

    Hi Dianne. This recipe seems really great. Our little family of two have always enjoyed a little extra spice in life. However, we prefer to stuff a roast chicken with some pork sausage meat, bacon, mushrooms and dried apricot. Would the given cooking times need to be adjusted to accommodate the stuffing? Kind regards Keith and Jen

  • Hello Keith. My apologies for the delay! Oooh, the stuffing sounds sweet-savoury and completely delicious. Generally, a well-sized bird would need 1 hour 30-40 minutes roasting at 180C. With the holidays just around the corner, this would be the perfect roast. All the best Di

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