The origin of this Durbanite meal brings a great smile to my heart today; the ingeniousness of a child led to this all-time favourite. The story goes that during the great depression in 1933 there was a hunger strike which led to the discovery that the cheapest curry to get was made by a Vegetarian Indian Caste, known as Bania. So one child having no plate decided to hollow out the inside of a loaf of bread and asked that the curry be poured into the hole. So the name Bania “Bunny” Chow was formed with ‘chow’ coming from the word to ‘eat’.
Today it is eaten by nearly all who visit or reside in Durban. The name has since been changed to Bunny Chow and is popular street-food. Eaten with various curries and bread.
Durban is a city in South Africa’s Kwazulu Natal province (KZN). It is also the hometown of the spectacular Moses Mabhida Stadium, and a co-host of the 2010 Fifa World Cup which was staged in the Southern African country.
So if you like to try new things as I do, whip up your cooking tools and let’s get to work!
Cooking Time: 70 minutes
Ingredients: 1 loaf bread, white, non-sliced, flat-topped.
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
3 whole cardamom pods
1⁄2 teaspoon fennel seed
1⁄2 teaspoon cumin seed
1⁄2 cup oil
1 onion, chopped
3 tablespoons garam masala
1 teaspoon ground coriander(seeds)
1 teaspoon hot ground pepper (like cayenne)
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 tomatoes, medium, chopped
2 lbs leg of lamb, in cubes (or beef)
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground ginger
6 curry leaves
2 potatoes, large, in cubes
Cooking Method: Fry all the ingredients listed until the onion is glassy.
Add “Fine Spices.” Lingela says: “Stir and fry until the spices stick to the bottom of the pot. If you (don’t) have a good Teflon-coated pot, go and buy a cheap one first.”
Now add the tomatoes, and stir until everything sticking to the pot bottom comes loose.
Add the meat, ginger, garlic and curry leaves.
Simmer for half an hour or more, until the meat is almost tender, then add a little water and the potato cubes.
Simmer until meat is tender.
It should be the non-sliced rectangular loaf with the flat top, known in South Africa as a “Government sandwich loaf”.
You could cut the bread across into two, three or four even chunks, depending on how hungry the eaters will be.
Whatever you decide, with a sharp knife cut out most of the soft white bread, leaving a thick wall and bottom. Keep the bread you removed.
Ladle the curry into the hollows, and then put back on top the bread you removed. You could use this bread to help eat the curry, as “this is ALWAYS eaten with hands”.
(Actually, any kind of curry goes into a bunny chow. It depends on the cook and your tastes!).
Recipe by Zurie.
Image Credits: Devan Reddy (TastyRecipes.co.za), Marloes Van Doorn
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