Bunny Chow ~ Beef Curry Bread Bowl 🎖

Contrary to what you might imply from the name, there are no rabbits in bunny chow. The name actually originated from the Durban Indian population, known as ‘Banya’.

Bunny Chow, often referred to simply as a Bunny, is a South African dish consisting of a hollowed-out loaf of bread filled with beef curry. It originated among Indian South Africans of Durban.

Ways to Make Bunny Chow

Throughout various South African communities, one can find different versions of the bunny chow, which uses only a quarter loaf of bread and depending on which part of the country you are in, is sometimes called a scambane, kota (“quarter”), or shibobo; it is a name that it shares with sphatlho, a South African dish that evolved from the bunny chow.

Bunny chows are commonly filled with curries made using traditional recipes from Durban: mutton or lamb curry, chicken curry, trotters, beans curry, and beans curry. Other varieties found across the country using less traditional Durban-Indian food include chips with curry gravy, fried sausage, cheese, eggs, and polony. These are all popular fillings; the original bunny chow was vegetarian.

Bunny Chow - Beef Curry Bread Bowl
Bunny Chow – Beef Curry Bread Bowl

How to Store Bunny Chow

To store Bunny Chow in the refrigerator, place the stew in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Do not store it in the bread bowl, only place the beef curry in the bread bowl when you are ready to eat it.

You can freeze the cooked curry for up to three months in an airtight container in the freezer, but don’t freeze it in the bread bowls, make those fresh when you need them.

To reheat the bunny chow allow it to defrost for a few hours in the fridge and then reheat it in a saucepan on the stove until piping hot.

The History of Bunny Chow

The bunny chow was created in Durban, South Africa. It is home to a large community of people of Indian origin. The precise origins of the food are disputed, although its creation has been dated to the 1940s.

Stories of the origin suggest that Indian laborers who came to work the sugar cane plantations of KwaZulu-Natal (Port Natal) required a way of carrying their lunches to the field; a hollowed-out loaf of bread was a convenient way to transport their vegetarian curries.

Meat-based fillings came later. The use of a loaf of white bread can also be ascribed to the lack of the traditional roti bread as well as its weak structure; thus the cheap loaf, widely available at local stores, would be an optimal substitute vessel for the curry.

The Metropolitan City of Durban, South Africa

Durban, a coastal city in eastern South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province, is known for its African, Indian and colonial influences. Refurbished for soccer’s 2010 World Cup, the seafront promenade runs from uShaka Marine World, a huge theme park with an aquarium, to the futuristic Moses Mabhida Stadium. The Durban Botanical Gardens showcases African plant species.

A Brief History of Durban, South Africa

Archaeological evidence from the Drakensberg mountains suggests that the Durban area has been inhabited by communities of hunter-gatherers since 100,000 BC. These people lived throughout the area of KwaZulu-Natal until the expansion of Bantu farmers and pastoralists from the north saw their gradual displacement, incorporation, or extermination.

Tourism in Durban, South Africa

With its sunny beaches and fascinating Afro-Indian culture, Durban is becoming a don’t-miss stop in South Africa. More Indians reside in Durban than any other country outside India itself. Early immigrants worked on sugar cane farms in current-day KwaZulu-Natal, and many women still wear sarees, the national dress of India, and Indian cuisine is popular.

Durban’s Golden Mile, a 3.7-mile stretch of sandy beach, invites surfers and swimmers to enjoy the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. Vendors sell assorted crafts along the shore, and you can find many beautiful swimming pools along the esplanade. At the end of the Golden Mile, look for uShaka Marine World, a 40-acre theme park. There are five main sections to explore: a snorkeling lagoon, an interactive animal show area, a shark cage diving area, a water park with slides, and a reptile exhibit.

The Cuisine of Durban, South Africa

South African cuisine reflects the diverse range of culinary traditions embodied by the various communities that inhabit the country. Among the indigenous peoples of South Africa, the Khoisan foraged over 300 species of edible food plants, such as the rooibos shrub legume, whose culinary value continues to exert a salient influence on South African cuisine. Subsequent encounters with Bantu pastoralists facilitated the emergence of cultivated crops and domestic cattle, which supplemented traditional Khoisan techniques of meat preservation. In addition, Bantu-speaking communities forged an extensive repertoire of culinary ingredients and dishes, many of which are still consumed today in traditional settlements and urban entrepôts alike.

Bunny Chows by Two and a Half Men
295 Florida Rd, Windermere, Berea, 4001, South Africa
Telephone: +27 65 820 5555

Bunny Chows by 2 and a half men
Bunny Chows by 2 and a half men

A family-run Durban-style restaurant specializing in Bunny Chows and Curry. With deep roots in the restaurant industry, we aim to bring back authenticity.

How to Make This Bunny Chow Recipe

This is a big recipe and will take a few hours to make but it is well worth the time. This recipe is basically a beef stew served in a bread bowl.

What You Need to Make Bunny Chow

Ingredients for Bunny Chow - Beef Curry
Ingredients for Bunny Chow – Beef Curry

For The Curry:

For The Vegetables:

For The Spices:

For the Bread Bowl:

  • 2 loaves of unsliced bread

How to Cook Bunny Chow

Time needed: 2 hours and 30 minutes

Bunny Chow Cooking Directions

  1. Mix the Flour

    In a mixing bowl mix the flour and salt and set aside for the next step

  2. Cut the Beef

    Cut the beef into 1-inch cubes, pat dry with a towel, and coat it in a flour and salt mixture.

  3. Peel the Vegetables

    Peel and dice all the vegetables and mince the garlic.

  4. Brown the Beef

    In a dutch oven heat oil and sear the cubed beef in batches. Once the meat turns brown, remove it to a plate and set it aside.

  5. Saute the Onions

    In the same pan add the chopped onion and cook it for about 3 minutes until it becomes translucent. Then add the garlic and cook it for an additional minute.

  6. Spice the Onions

    Reduce the heat and add in the spices and stir thoroughly for an additional 30 seconds. Make sure the onions are well coated with spices.

  7. Add the Tomatoes

    Add the tomatoes in and stir for about 3 minutes until the tomatoes begin to soften.

  8. Add the Beef Stock

    Add the prepared meat, beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, chutney, sugar, and tomato paste. Place a lid on the pan and allow it to cook for 30 minutes on low heat.

  9. Add the Potatoes

    Add the potatoes and carrots to the dutch oven, cover it and let everything simmer for an additional 1½ hours. If it begins to dry out, add some more beef stock.

  10. Thicken the Sauce

    If you prefer thick sauce, combine 1 tablespoon of flour with 3 tablespoons of cold water and prepare a paste. Add it to the dutch oven and stir well. Let it simmer for another 2 minutes.

  11. Cut the Bread

    Cut the bread loaf in half and hollow out the half loaf saving the removed bread for dipping. Transfer the contents into the hollowed bread, putting the center of the bread on one side to mop up extra juices, and serve!

This recipe for South African Bunny Chow is delicious, a bit spicy hot but not too much. Because of the long cooking time, the meat is tender, and the vegetables are perfectly tender. It is well worth the effort and time that it takes to make it.

If you liked this dish please Rate This Recipe and leave a comment.

Bunny Chow - Beef Curry Bread Bowl

Bunny Chow ~ Beef Curry Bread Bowl 🎖

Recipe Author | Captain Cook
Bunny chow, not for or made from bunnies, is a South African fast food beef curry dish consisting of a hollowed-out bread bowl and filled with this beef curry recipe.

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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 797 kcal

Ingredients
  

For The Curry:

For The Vegetables:

For the Bread Bowl

  • 2 loaves unsliced bread

Instructions
 

  • In a mixing bowl mix the flour and salt and set aside for the next step
    2 tbsp all-purpose flour, 1 tsp salt
  • Cut the beef into 1-inch cubes, pat dry with a towel, and coat it in a flour and salt mixture.
    1½ lbs stewing beef
  • Peel and dice all the vegetables and mince the garlic.
    4 med red potatoes, 2 med yellow onions, 3 med tomatoes, 2 med carrot, 2 cloves garlic
  • In a dutch oven heat oil and sear the cubed beef in batches. Once the meat turns brown, remove it to a plate and set it aside.
    3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • In the same pan add the chopped onion and cook it for about 3 minutes until it becomes translucent. Then add the garlic and cook it for an additional minute.
  • Reduce the heat and add in the spices and stir thoroughly for an additional 30 seconds. Make sure the onions are well coated with spices.
    1 tbsp ground coriander, 1 tbsp ground cumin, 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds, 1 tsp fennel seeds, 1 tsp ground turmeric, ½ tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp crushed red peppers, 1 tbsp garam masala
  • Add the tomatoes in and stir for about 3 minutes until the tomatoes begin to soften.
  • Add the prepared meat, beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, chutney, sugar, and tomato paste. Place a lid on the pan and allow it to cook for 30 minutes on low heat.
    2 cups beef stock, 2 tbsp tomato paste, 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 2 tbsp mango chutney, 1 tsp white sugar
  • Add the potatoes and carrots to the dutch oven, cover it and let everything simmer for an additional 1½ hours. If it begins to dry out, add some more beef stock.
  • If you prefer thick sauce, combine 1 tablespoon of flour with 3 tablespoons of cold water and prepare a paste. Add it to the dutch oven and stir well. Let it simmer for another 2 minutes.
  • Cut the bread loaf in half and hollow out the half loaf saving the removed bread for dipping. Transfer the contents into the hollowed bread, putting the center of the bread on one side to mop up extra juices, and serve!
    2 loaves unsliced bread

Nutrition

Serving: 1bowlCalories: 797kcalCarbohydrates: 81.4gProtein: 63.7gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 6.6gCholesterol: 152mgSodium: 1546mgPotassium: 2320mgFiber: 9gSugar: 17gCalcium: 163mgIron: 38mg
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Photo Credits:

  • By Taste The World Cookbook – Copyright 2022 All rights reserved.
  • By Bunny Chows by Two and a Half Men – By https://www.facebook.com/BunnyChowsby2andahalfmen/
  • By below – own pictures, stitched., CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1489022
  • By Mister-E (https://www.flickr.com/photos/mister-e/) – https://www.flickr.com/photos/mister-e/196892193/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1498095
  • By User: Bgabel at wikivoyage shared, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22959114
  • By Akidjoh – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31661894
  • By Akidjoh – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31212512
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Captain Cook
Captain Cookhttps://notallwhowanderarelost.com/
If you strip away the labels and isms and meta tags, what are you left with? Are you strong and free enough as an individual to survive the loss of all those crutches and maintain reason and meaning? Can you use the power of thought and choice to walk the road of life?
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