This page may contain affiliate links. So, I receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase using my link. This post is about the delicious dish with the funny name called Bunny Chow!
1,000 Foods To Eat Project
In this book, the author Mimi Sheraton lists her choices for the 1,000 Foods of the World that you MUST try.
Bunny Chow is my food #41 in my Project! Bunny Chow is basically a delicious curry served inside a hollowed out loaf of white bread. This dish originates from South Africa in the Durban area, which is home to a large population of people of Indian origin.
Certainly after having it the other evening, I can definitely and emphatically state that Bunny Chow is delicious and a food that you MUST try!
Some Interesting Background on Bunny Chow!
There are some different stories as to the origin of Bunny Chow and how it was named. One theory is that Indians who came to work in the sugar cane plantations in South Africa used a hollowed out loaf of bread to carry their curries. Another theory, which I read in a Wikipedia article is that during apartheid, Indian golf caddies weren’t allowed to carry sharp cutlery such as knives, so a hand held food such as the Bunny Chow was a great solution to this!
There is also an article from NPR which indicates that this dish originated as a food to sell to black people who weren’t allowed to dine in certain restaurants during apartheid. It was a totally portable dish so that nothing had to be returned after eating it.
As far as the name? It seems that “chow” in South African slang can mean a both a reference to food, or can be used as a verb meaning “to eat.” From the 1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die book, I read that “bunny” may come from the word “Banias.” Banias are the South African Indians who may have created this dish!
What Is In That Bread?
Vegetarian curries originally filled up the hollowed out bread cavity. Later meat curries were introduced. The 1,000 Foods book indicates that lamb is most traditionally used, but that Bunny Chow is also served with fish or beef, or served vegetarian style.
The recipe I share here will be a lamb curry…spicy and completely delicious!
The Bread For Make It Yourself Bunny Chow
So, the easy way to make Bunny Chow at home is to purchase an unsliced loaf of white bread, cut it in half, and then scoop out the insides. I couldn’t this at my local grocery store, so I ended up asking my husband (the baker in the family) to make me a loaf. It turned out AMAZINGLY GOOD!
I simply scooped out the insides of a half loaf with my hands, and left the outer part intact. It was PERFECT for the bunny chow!
The Lamb Curry
The lamb curry that I made for the Bunny Chow was MOUTHWATERING! Truly! However, it takes some time on the stove to cook it until it is incredibly tender. But, you will be rewarded with an incredibly fall apart delicious and spicy lamb curry if you follow this recipe!
The ingredients you will need for the curry are:
- Lamb meat for stew
- Garlic and ginger
- Olive oil
- Bay leaf
- Thai chilis (can omit if you prefer a less spicy version)
- Green onions (optional garnish)
- Spices include: cinnamon, star anise, turmeric, garam masala, cayenne pepper, salt
The Method to Make The Lamb Curry and Bunny Chow
It really couldn’t be easier to make this delectable lamb curry! In a nutshell all you need to do is:
- Stir fry minced onion, garlic, ginger and chilis
- Add and incorporate the spices, followed by diced tomatoes
- Add the lamb and stir to ensure the lamb is completely covered by the spices and cook for 5 minutes
- Finally add some water and cut up potatoes, cover, and cook for around 1.5 hrs until the lamb is FALL APART TENDER
That’s it! Can’t you just imagine those aromatic spices and lamb curry cooking on your stove, and filling your home with the most amazing aromas now? 🙂
Enjoy Some Bunny Chow!
The final step is to spoon loads of lamb curry into your hollowed out loaf of bread. If it’s messy, so much the better! I garnished mine with some green onions. The 1,000 Foods book recommends serving it with some chutney, so I slathered on some Patak’s Major Grey Chutney on it (so good!). 🙂
Ready to Make and Enjoy This Mouthwatering Dish?
In conclusion, I hope I’ve convinced you to give this dish a try! It’s most commonly found in South Africa so if you can’t get over there then make and enjoy this at home!
Pro tip: EAT WITH YOUR HANDS. 🙂
Geniet jou ete! (Enjoy your meal in Afrikaans!).
Some Other Recipes And Foods You May Enjoy!
1,000 Foods To Eat Project
Please follow along with me on this quest to try the 1,000 Foods To Eat Before You Die, from the book by Mimi Sheraton! Join me in this journey and discover new foods, experiences, and cuisines which I hope will add inspiration, fun, and joy to your life! Visit the 1,000 Foods to Eat Project page to view a list of the foods tried so far.
If you’d like to follow along and be a part of the 1,000 Foods Project, please sign up to get the latest recipes and inspiration for you to expand your food comfort zone! It’s an incredible journey, please join me by signing up here.
Delicious Bunny Chow!
- Large covered skillet
- 1 loaf of unsliced white bread cut in 1/2, and the insides scooped out leaving only the outside crusty part; this will provide 2 servings
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp garlic minced
- 1 tbsp ginger minced
- 5 Thai chilis minced; leave out if you prefer a less spicy curry
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 onion minced
- 2 tomatoes diced
- 2 medium potatoes peeled and cut into small bite sized pieces; can use 1 large potato
- 1 lb lamb (cut up lamb for stew)
- 1 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/2 tbsp turmeric
- 1 1/2 -2 tbsp garam masala
- 1/2 – 1 tbsp cayenne pepper can omit if you prefer a less spicy version; add closer to 1 tbsp if you like it spicy!
- salt to taste
- green onions sliced for garnish (optional)
- Add olive oil to a large skillet (one that has a cover) and heat on med high heat. Once the oil is hot, add minced onion, garlic, ginger and chilis. Stir for around 3-4 minutes.
- Add spices to include star anise, cinnamon, turmeric, garam masala, and cayenne pepper. Also add 1 tbsp of water and stir for a minute to incorporate all ingredients.
- Add diced tomatoes, bay leaf, and a pinch of salt. Stir for a couple of minutes.
- Add the lamb stew meat, stir well, and cook for around 5 minutes. You will want to check and stir this often during the 5 minutes.
- Add 1 cup of water and your cut up potato. Stir, bring to the boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook 1.5 hrs or until the lamb is fall apart tender. Now add salt to taste.
- Once the lamb is tender, fill each hollowed out loaf half with the lamb curry! If it is messy, so much the better! Garnish with green onions if desired!