To celebrate the start of the 2010 World Cup today I want to share one of my all time favorite meals, and a true taste of South Africa. Growing up in Durban the Bunny Chow (which does not contain any real bunnies) is still one of my most treasured childhood food memories.
The origin of the Bunny Chow (or just called a Bunny by locals) is still highly disputed; but what can be agreed on is that it started around Durban in the 1940s and that it is still enjoyed by all ethnic groups in SA making it a real national treasure.
To make a Bunny Chow simply take a quarter loaf of fresh white bread (or adjust the size to fit your hunger to a half loaf or even more), hollow out the inside and fill with a delicious curry of your choice. Then place the bread you took out back on top to form a hat. If you want you can sprinkle it with fresh coriander leaves, plain yogurt or tomato and onion relish (known as sambals) or just enjoy it on its own.
The way you eat a Bunny is very important, no cutlery allowed. Break pieces off the bread that was hollowed out and dip into the curry sauce to scoop up the curry bits. As the curry starts to go down, tear pieces of the bread bowl and eat with the curry.
The Bunny Chow is more than just a meal; it’s a fun way to spend time with family and friends. To me a Bunny Chow means home, it brings back the smells of Durban and happy carefree childhood memories of fun times spend with my mom and friends.
Originally only vegetable curry was used in Bunnies but today it is acceptable to use any curry of your choice. Here is my mom's basic curry recipe to get everyone started.
This is a basic curry recipe but there are no measurements as it can be changed depending on taste, or what you have available in the cupboard. We have curry about twice a week and it never tastes the same!
Meat (can be Lamb, Chicken, Beef, Ostrich - you decide)
Onion (finely sliced)
Curry paste (or curry spices)
Tomato puree (or diced tomatoes or tomato and onion mix)
Salt to taste
*Coriander / Dhania fresh of dried
*Cardamon pods / ground
*Whole kernel corn (frozen or in can)
*Coconut milk / maas / plain yoghurt
* Optional extras but will add the real tast of Durban to any curry.
- Brown meat in a pot or pan – put aside
- Gently fry onion in a large pot.
- When soft add curry paste, ginger, garlic, masala, other spices (if using) and simmer for approx 20 min.
- Add meat and stir until it is all covered in the spices.
- Add tomato puree (or tomato and onion mix) and tomato paste and stir into the meat and spice mix. (Don’t add any water)
- Cover the pot and let simmer for at least 30min.
- About 5min before serving add the chopped coriander leaves and the coconut milk / maas / yoghurt and the corn (if using).
Note: If using lamb meat then add the salt before the tomato puree and stir it through, for any other meat add it while the curry is simmering