Southern Cha Cha Relish Recipe

Cha Cha Relish Recipe This Cha Cha recipe is a Southern relish that was made popular in the 1800's by the African American communities of the South. Probably just as popular today if not more so.

Southern Cha Cha Relish
Reviewed by Site Editor on .

Cha Cha is unique in that it may be made in a wide variety of ways with significantly different ingredients. This is a basic recipe with the understanding that each cook may wish to revise ingredients to fit their own preferences. Hot and spicy, or mild you can obtain either with this recipe.

Rating: 5
5 Star Rating: Recommended

Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Yield: 1 1/2 pints


  • * 4 cups cabbage, grated
  • * 4 cups green tomatoes, chopped (you can substitute red tomatoes)
  • * 1 large onion, chopped
  • * 1 large bell pepper, chopped
  • * 1/2 Tbsp. pickling spice (see note 3 below to make your own)
  • * 1/3 Tbsp. dried dill weed
  • * 2 tbsp sugar
  • * 1/3 cup vinegar (add an additional 2 tablespoons vinegar if using red tomatoes)
  • * 1 tbsp salt
  • * Tabasco Sauce or jalapeno pepper (optional - see note below)
  • * 1 cup water IF NEEDED (see note in step 1)


  1. Place all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. NOTE: the chacha depends on the tomatoes for liquid. Some tomatoes may have insufficient liquid so if the cha cha seems too dry, add 1 cup water.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer 15 to 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring frequently.
  3. Cool and store in refrigerator. If you do not expect to consume within 2 days, place hot relish in sterilized canning jar and process in a boiling water bath 10-15 minutes. If processed you do not need to refrigerator until opened.


  1. If you like hot and spicy Cha Cha, add 1-2 tbsp. Tabasco Sauce or 1 chopped jalapeno pepper (to taste) to the above recipe.
  2. The traditional Cha Cha is made with green tomatoes. We prefer red since they are more available. You can also substitute Mexican tomatillo, which are generally available most of the year in large supermarkets.
  3. Pickling spice is available at most supermarkets but you can make you own if you have a well equipped spice rack. Just combine as many of the following ingredients as you have available and grind them into a powder with a food processor.
    One bay leaf
    1/2 tsp chili powder
    1/4 tsp cloves
    1/3 tsp ground cinnamon
    1/3 tsp ginger
    1/2 tsp allspice
    1/2 tsp mustard seed
    1/2 tsp coriander
    1/2 tsp black pepper
    1 tsp dill seed
    These measurements are "ballpark" so taste and adjust as you like.
  4. Serve Cha Cha with any meat or vegetable. Very good with Fried Pork Chops.

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