Tonight I am flying to South Africa for 4 and a half weeks! I haven't been back for 5 years now and haven't been home to Durban for about 10 so this is a really big trip for me! I am excited and nervous at the same time. So many old friends to catch up with, places to see, foods to try... all very exciting! I probably won't update here while I'm away but will try and update facebook as much as possible and will have plenty to share when I am back.
As I have been preparing for my trip away I thought I'd try make Bunny Chow for some friends... it is such an easy and great dish to make and everyone loves it! I made a simple lamb curry which I did in the pressure cooker, but you could use any curry recipe that you like... meat or veg!
Bunny Chow comes from Durban. There is a large Indian population there and Indian food is really popular. The 'Bunny' was created during apartheid when black South Africans were banned from entering cafe's and restaurants. Cafe owners (known by the nickname for the Hindu mercantile class as 'Bania's') opened hatch windows offering take-aways to passers by. They served curries in hollowed out quarter-loaves of bread topped with a 'lid' made from the scooped out bread... these became known as Bania Chow. Bunnies were perfect for street food as no cutlery or crockery is needed... it is a messy affair that you eat with your hands, using the bread to dip in and soak up the curry, and breaking away the crusts as you go.
If you ever go to Durban and order Bunny Chow, most people would never use the full-name. You would ask for quarter beans or mutton etc. If you are really hungry, you would earn local respect if you asked for a 'half mutton!' Also make sure your bunny has a bottom! Some dodgy places have been known to pass of the open-ended middle of the loaf to unsuspecting customers... these are known as a 'funny bunny!'.
Bunny Chow Recipe (Serves 6-8)
This is based on a Pick n' Pay (South African Supermarket) recipe but I have used lamb shoulder instead of mince)
1 Onion, diced
3 Cloves Garlic, crushed
3cm Fresh Ginger, peeled and chopped
1 Chilli, finely chopped
1 Star Anise
1 Stick Cinnamon
4 Cardamom Pods
600g Lamb Shoulder, cubed
3 Tbsp Curry Paste (I used Balti)
1 Tbsp Garam Masala
16 Curry Leaves
3 Tbsp Tomato Paste
2 tsp Sugar
2 Cups Water
2 Carrots, chopped
600g Butter Beans (Cooked and tinned)
Sunflower Oil for frying
Quarter Loaf of bread per person
1 Onion, finely sliced
2 Tomatoes, sliced
Juice of 1 Lemon
Heat a glug of oil in a large pot and fry your onions until soft.
Add the garlic, ginger, chilli, star anise, cinnamon and cardamom pods and fry for another minute.
Add the lamb and brown.
Add all of the other ingredients except the butter beans. Mix well and simmer for 2 hours until the lamb is soft. Add the butter beans and cook for another 30 mins. (If you are using a pressure cooker, cook for 30 mins and then remove the lid and cook for 30 mins with with the beans mixed in)
To serve, mix your onion, tomatoes and lemon juice and set aside.
Hollow out your quarter loaves of bread and fill with curry.
Serve topped with the tomato and onion mixture, yoghurt and coriander leaves.