Bunny Chow originates from Durban, South Africa, where the immigrant Indian population invented a cheap street-food meal during hard economic times. Originally vegetables were mainly used instead of meat, but the modern Bunny Chow is typically a spicy Lamb Curry, served in a hunk of crusty bread, with a pickled carrot salad on top. For the more authentic experience, eat with hands only, using the scooped out bread as a dip.
I was tempted to call this 'Lamb Durban', to fit in with my other recipes/videos, and in keeping with the tradition of often naming Indian Restaurant dishes after the type of meat, and a suffix indicating geographical area/city, cooking method, or a colloquial word of etymological purpose (e.g. lamb madras, chicken ceylon, rogan josh, chicken jalfrezi, prawn bhuna). After some consideration, I decided to keep the name 'Bunny Chow', not least because of its curiosity value.
See here for more information about Bunny Chow, and how it got it's name...
2 Medium Large Asian Bay Leaves (Tej Patta). European bay leaves can be used instead.
2 pieces of Cassia Bark, approx 10cm long, or equivalent total length pieces
1 Star Anise
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 tsp Mustard Seeds (black)
1 tsp Fennel Seeds
Curry Leaves, crushed (small handful)
300g Onion, chopped (approx 3 medium ones)
20g Garlic Cloves, minced or very finely chopped (about 6 cloves)
10g Ginger, also minced or finely chopped
1 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Coriander Powder (freshly toasted & ground from seeds)
3 tsp Curry Powder (e.g. mild madras)
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper or Extra Hot Chilli Powder
2 tsp Kashmiri Chilli Powder
5 tsp Salt
25 tsp Black Pepper (freshly ground)
400g Lamb, diced into 1 inch cubes. Mutton, Goat, or Beef can be used instead. (Come to think of it, so can Rabbit.)
Half a 400g Tin of Plum Tomatoes, or 200g of fresh
3 TBSP Tomato Ketchup
4-6 TBSP of Finely chopped Fresh Coriander Stalks
Green chillies, finely chopped (Optional, to taste)
100g Potato, peeled and diced into small cubes (approx half a medium one)
200-300g Additional Vegetables. For example a handful of chopped aubergine, courgette, green beans, red pepper, cauliflower, chick peas etc. (Optional)
1 Loaf of White Bread, unsliced and cuboid shaped, or a fancy big round cob roll
For the Carrot Salad...
1 Medium Large Carrot, grated
5 Onion, very finely chopped (Small-Medium)
5 Tomato, chopped
Coriander Leaf, handful, very finely chopped
1-2 TBSP White Vinegar (of decent quality)
1 Green Chilli, very finely chopped (Optional)
Add the 100ml Oil/Ghee to a large pan (I suggest 4-5L minimum capacity), on medium heat.
Add the Bay Leaves, Cassia Bark, Star Anise, and stir into the oil for 30 seconds. Then add the spice seeds (Cumin, Mustard, Fennel), and stir until the Mustard seeds start popping.
Add the chopped Onion. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions soften, turn translucent, and begin to brown (about 5-6 minutes). If the the onions start to stick to the bottom of the pan, add a little water and de-glaze the surface.
Throw in the Curry Leaves, Minced Garlic and Ginger, and cook for a further few minutes, stirring frequently.
Now, add the Turmeric, Coriander Powder, Curry Powder, Cayenne Pepper, Kashmiri Chilli Powder, Salt, and Black Pepper. Mix well and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring frequently. If the spices start sticking to the pan, add a little water to compensate.
Next ram the Lamb in the pan, and cook for a couple of minutes more, coating the lamb well, and letting it brown a little.
Slosh in the Plum Tomatoes, Tomato Ketchup, and the Fresh Coriander Stalks. Mix well again.
Add the Potato Cubes, 200-250ml Water, and the optional Green Chilli and/or other Vegetables.
One further mix, then turn heat to low, cover pan, and leave to cook for 1-1.5 hours, or until the Lamb is tender. The sauce should not be thick, so add a little water to ensure a thinnish consistency. You want the sauce to soak into bread, and ooze out if you make a hole in the side (that's called a 'Funny Bunny'!).
Taste and add extra salt and/or sugar to taste. A dollop of Mango Chutney works very well in place of sugar.
Stir in a handful of chopped Fresh Coriander just before serving
Now for the the really weird bit (if you are not familiar with Bunny Chow). Slice the bread loaf 4-5 inches from one end, so you get a square(ish) chunk with the crust at the end.
Place the loaf, crust end down, and scoop out enough of the inner bread to leave a generous hole, but keeping the inside thick enough to soak up the curry without falling apart.
Spoon or Ladle the Bunny Chow into the hole, until brimming. Top with some of the bread that was scooped out, and a handful of Carrot Salad (see below).
Eat, using the bread topping to dip in. Cutlery is not allowed.
Mix together the Grated Carrot, Onion, Tomato, Coriander, optional Green Chilli, and 1-2 TBSP White Vinegar. Be careful not to use too much vinegar.
All spoon measurements are level unless otherwise specified. i.e. 1 tsp = 5ml , 1 TBSP = 15ml.
No rabbits need be harmed during the production of this recipe.