LOOK: Aiden Pienaar’s new cookbook offers traditional Mexican dishes with a South African twist

Chef and author Aiden Pienaar. Picture: Aiden Pienaar Instagram

Chef and author Aiden Pienaar. Picture: Aiden Pienaar Instagram

Published May 15, 2024


South African-born chef and author Aiden Pienaar has released a new cookbook, “Mexico in Mzansi”.

The cookbook offers traditional Mexican dishes with a South African twist.

Taking to Instagram, Pienaar said he has always had the desire to share his knowledge about a new way of doing Mexican cuisine.

“After many years of persistence, hard work, and dedication, my ideas were recognised by the amazing publishers that are Penguin Random House.

“ I was signed by them in February of 2023. Twelve (and a bit) months later, ‘Mexico in Mzansi’ is born and on the shelves of the most prestigious bookstores in the country.

“‘Mexico in Mzansi’ pays tribute to some traditional Mexican dishes with a very unusual Mzansi Twist. From Boerie Tacos, Chilli con Carne Vetkoek, and the very much loved South African Chakalaka,” he wrote.

According to Penguin Random House, the cookbook is filled with a surprising array of flavours and influences to excite even the most experienced chefs and exhausted home cooks.

“From classics such as mole, refried beans, and nachos, to innovations including Mexican chakalaka, chilli con carne vetkoek and sosatie tacos, these are recipes to inspire and delight. All are easy to follow and require minimal prep.

“In addition, Chef Aiden will teach you to make your own tortillas and salsas, show you how to present tacos, enchiladas, and quesadillas, as well as introduce you to different cooking methods, from braising and grilling to air-frying.

“That’s not to mention the array of delicious desserts to round off your meal, or the collection of margaritas to tantalise your taste buds.” they revealed.

Below they share one of the delicious recipes you will find in the book.

Mexican chakalaka. Picture: Supplied

Mexican chakalaka


Olive oil for frying

4 large white onions, chopped

4 cloves of garlic, chopped

2 green bell pepper, de-seeded and diced

½ cup curry powder

4 tsp chilli powder

4 tsp chipotle chilli marinade

10 carrots, peeled and grated

4 x 410g chopped and peeled tomatoes

Salt and ground black pepper

4 x 400g black beans, drained

½ cup chopped fresh coriander


Heat some olive 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 coriander.

This can be served hot or cold. Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.