There is a small Mexican store in Midrand called Azteca. I love to go and browse it – picking up new ingredients to experiment with. From masa harina to corn tortillas, spicy chillis, avocado and limes – there’s little not to love about Mexican food. Take that and add a little South African flair and you get Mexican in Mzansi – a cookbook featuring classic Mexican dishes like tacos, guacamole and enchiladas with a South African twist. 

There’s also a section on cocktails, which I’ve been using for Friday night cocktail hour (the Cantarito is delicious!) and guidance on how to make your very own corn tortillas!

Dietary Notes


While there are a handful of vegan and vegetarian recipes, the majority of the recipes contain meat, poultry or seafood. 

Best For


Those who love Mexican food and want to learn how to make basic Mexican dishes.

Cooking Level


Beginner – recipes are really easy and utilise easy to find ingredients. 

I’m sharing the recipe for Mexican Chakalaka, because what is more South African than a Chakalaka. This recipe makes a huge quantity so feel free to halve it. I served it in a bowl with avocado slices, lime and homemade corn tortillas. The leftovers were used to make stuffed omelettes which were delicious!

Mexican in Mzansi

Mexican in Mzansi is published by Penguin Random House . It is available here

Mexican Chakalaka

A Mexican take on a classic South African dish
Course: Condiments, Main Course, Side Dish
Dietary: Dairy Free, Gluten Free, No Added Sugar, Nut Free, Vegan
Servings: 8 cups


  • olive oil for cooking
  • 4 white onions finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 green bell peppers deseeded and finely diced
  • ½ cup curry powder
  • 4 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 4 teaspoon chipotle chilli marinade (see below)
  • 10 carrots peeled and grated
  • 4 410 gram cans of chopped and peeled tomatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 400 gram cans of black beans drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup fresh parsley or coriander

Chipotle Chilli Marinade (makes 1 cup)

  • 200 grams chipotle chillies in adobo sauce
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  • Heat some oil in a heavy-based pot over medium heat.
  • Fry the onion, garlic and green pepper until the onion turns translucent. Add the curry powder, chilli powder and chipotle chilli marinade and cook for 1 minute.
  • Next, add the grated carrots and cook for a further 2 minutes, then stir in the chopped tomatoes and season with salt and black pepper. Cover with a lid and cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the black beans and cook, covered, for a further 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley or coriander.
  • This can be served hot or cold. Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Chipotle Chilli Marinade

  • Place all the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.
  • Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
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