Bunny Chow Recipe | A South African Treat

Bunny Chow

Bunny Chow, Durban’s home grown dish has its roots in the subcontinent, but this fragrant, flavour some curry comes served not with rice, roti or naan, but ladled into a hollowed out loaf of bread.

At first Bunny Chow seems an odd dish and also you can’t help wondering how to attack it without cutlery. But this fusion of Indian flavours with European bread is a culinary symbol of South Africa’s melange of cultures. Consuming it like a local presents a way to quickly assimilate into Durban life. As you munch through your Bunny, subdue the warmth with all the traditional can of cream soda, or spice it up with atchar (spicy pickles) or sambal (a salsa-like condiment). As you finish, use your ‘virgin’, the fluffy chunk of bread originally scooped out from the loaf, to mop up spilt juices – as a first-time Bunny eater, expect a little spillage.

Bunny Chow

Recipe Of Bunny Chow

Things You Will Need

  • Sunflower oil
  • 2 onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 4 curry leaves
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 4 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp leaf masala
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and grated
  • 800g stewing lamb, preferably boneless, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 125mL water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Loaf of fresh white bread, unsliced
  • 1 tin garden peas
  • Fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves to garnish


  1. Add a generous glug of oil to a deep pan and fry the onions for 4–5 minutes on a medium heat.
  2. Add the cardamom pods, cinnamon stick and curry leaves and fry until the onion begins to brown.
  3. Add the turmeric, garam masala, leaf masala, ground coriander and cumin, then the ginger and garlic. Stir to coat the onion.
  4. Cook for another couple of minutes, stirring constantly, then add the meat. If the oil has been soaked up by the spices, you can add a little extra oil.
  5. Once the meat is starting to brown, add the tomatoes, potatoes and about ¼ cup (60mL) of hot water to start with, making sure that the potatoes are just covered with liquid. Stir in the salt.
  6. Simmer for 30–40 minutes, until the meat and potatoes are tender. Add more liquid as required.
  7. Prepare the bread, taking care to leave the crust intact and keeping a narrow lining of fluffy bread.
  8. Add the tinned peas to the curry and heat for 5 minutes.
  9. To serve, ladle the curry into each bread container and serve with a sprinkle of fresh coriander and the ‘virgin’ on the side.

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Featured Image Courtesy : Robert Rutherford