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 shares a South African curry recipe for a dish called Bunny Chow!
- 1,000 Foods To Eat Project
- Some Interesting Background on Bunny Chow!
- What Is In That Bread?
- The Bread For This Make It Yourself South African Curry Recipe
- The Lamb Curry Ingredients
- The Method to Make The Lamb Curry and Bunny Chow
- Enjoy Some Delicious South African Curry!
- Ready to Make and Enjoy This South African Curry Recipe?
- Some Other Recipes And Foods You May Enjoy!
- 1,000 Foods To Eat Project
- Delicious 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.
I can definitely and emphatically state that this Bunny Chow, now one of my favorite dishes, has a great flavor and is a food that you MUST try!
Some Interesting Background on Bunny Chow!
There are some different stories as to the origin of this Durban curry and how it was named. For instance, 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!
In addition, 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? "Chow" in South African slang can mean a both a reference to food, or can be used as a verb meaning "to eat." I read from the 1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die book, 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 meat curry using lamb as the main ingredient...spicy and completely delicious!
The Bread For This Make It Yourself South African Curry Recipe
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 find 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 Ingredients
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. Be assured that you will be rewarded with an incredibly fall apart delicious and spicy curry if you follow this recipe!
The ingredients you will need for the curry are:
- Lamb meat for stew
- Fresh tomatoes
- Yellow Onions
- Garlic and fresh ginger
- Olive oil (can sub vegetable oil)
- Bay leaves
- Thai chilis (can omit if you prefer a less spicy version)
- Green onions (optional garnish)
- Spices include: cinnamon sticks, star anise, turmeric powder, garam masala, cayenne pepper, salt
We will use only the freshest ingredients for this dish, one of the best African curries there is!
The Method to Make The Lamb Curry and Bunny Chow
It really couldn't be easier to make this delectable South African curry recipe! In a nutshell all you need to do is:
Stir fry minced onion, garlic, ginger and chilis in some olive oil in a large pan on medium heat. You will need a pan that has a cover.
Now add spices to include star anise, cinnamon, turmeric, garam masala, and cayenne pepper. Also add 2 tbsps of water and stir for a minute to incorporate all ingredients.
At this point your kitchen and house will begin to smell AMAZING!
Add diced tomatoes, bay leaf, and a pinch of salt. Stir for a couple of minutes.
Now add the lamb and stir to ensure the lamb is completely covered by the spices and cook for 5 minutes.
Finally add 1 cup of water and your cut up potato. Stir, bring to the boil on a high heat, and then reduce heat to a simmer. For the best results, cover and cook 1.5 hrs - 2 hrs or until the lamb is FALL APART TENDER. During this time you may need to add a litte water if the mixture is too dry. You can add ¼ cup water at a time. When the lamb curry is finished, then add salt to taste.
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 Delicious South African Curry!
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!). 😃
If you fancy trying to make your own chutney, then head over to my "How To Make Easy and Spicy Mango Chutney" recipe.
Ready to Make and Enjoy This South African Curry Recipe?
In conclusion, I hope I've convinced you to give this mouthwatering 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!
This has become one of my favourite curry recipes and I can't recommend it highly enough!
Pro tip: EAT WITH YOUR HANDS as the South Africans do! Tear off pieces of the bread and dip it into the sauce and enjoy!
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 or pan
- 1 loaf of unsliced white bread cut in ½, and the insides scooped out leaving only the outside crusty part; this will provide 2 servings
- 3 tablespoon olive oil can sub vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon 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
- ½ tablespoon turmeric
- 1 ½ -2 tablespoon garam masala
- ½ - 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper can omit if you prefer a less spicy version; add closer to 1 tablespoon if you like it spicy!
- salt to taste
- green onions sliced for garnish (optional)
- Heat a large pan (one that has a cover) on medium heat and then add the olive oil (or vegetable oil). Now add minced onion, garlic, ginger and chilis. Stir for around 3-4 minutes until softened.
- Add spices to include star anise, cinnamon, turmeric, garam masala, and cayenne pepper. Also add 2 tbsps 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 on a high heat, and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook 1.5 hrs - 2 hrs or until the lamb is fall apart tender. During this time you may need to add more water if the mixture is too dry. You can add ¼ cup water at a time. When the lamb curry is finished, then 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!