Brent Assamís Goolwa Pipis with Chakalaka

11 July 2019 Brent Assam

Brent Assamís Goolwa Pipis with Chakalaka

(serves 4)
1kg Goolwa pipis
100g butter

For the chakalaka sauce:
50ml vegetable oil
2 shallots finely chopped
1 teaspoon garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh red chillies, chopped
¼ cup carrot finely diced
1 chorizo sausage
6 Roma tomatoes diced
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 tablespoon brown sugar
100ml red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup fresh coriander finely chopped
¼ cup fresh parsley finely chopped

Brent says…
I grew up in Durban, on the east coast of South Africa, so I was always at the beach on the weekends with family. There was always a lot of seafood – whether it be fresh fish, crab, mussels or pipis themselves.

In South Africa, we always cook around the fire or the “braai”: it’s a barbecue over an open wood fire, and quite common on the weekend. And chakalaka is always not far away from the braai.

Every family has its own version of chakalaka. It’s a South African relish that originated in the townships of Johannesburg, influenced by Mozambican people who came to work in the mines. They made it with tinned tomatoes and beans, and added in chillies and spices for Portuguese flair. Some people add baked beans, others add cauliflower or chorizo, but this is my version.

For me, this dish is quite special; I wanted to connect my past to where I am today. My mum used to do a lot of cooking at home, and I was always in the kitchen with her preparing what needs to be done, always around the table getting my fingers in the pots. Chakalaka would be on the table three or four days a week. Not only does it go with barbecue, but it also goes with stews, casseroles, crunchy bread and is beautiful with grilled sweet corn. It can be served hot or cold, and can even be a nice dip if you add a bit of olive oil for a runnier consistency.

This recipe is a bit of nostalgia, like a lot of our food memories. Even before I decided I wanted to be a chef, the connections of great food and good company are the fondest memories I have as a child. And when I sit down with the chakalaka in front of me, with the fresh pipis straight from the sea, they take me right back to being with the family around the braai.

» Brent Assam is the executive chef at Hilton Adelaide, including the Coal Cellar + Grill. He is serving up a feast at The Big Issue’s annual Big Lunch at Adelaide Central Market on Sunday 28 July. Tickets available at

» First appeared in Ed#591