Bunny Chow in South Africa
Curry can be traced back from to times in this area. The history starts in the mid-1600s with the Dutch East India Company, which at that time were facilitating trade between Europe and Southeast Asia. During this period they brought labors from India, Madagascar and Indonesia, which contributed to a new style of cooking.
Then the story continues with the British Empire which took over the Cape and brought thousands of Indians to work in plantations. One of the most loved dishes is the Durban curry, that is often made with lamb, chicken crab and fish.
The famous “bunny chow” is also another famous dish in this country, it is a bread bowl filled with curry stew. This dish was created by the Indian population of Durban, at the time they were working in sugarcane fields and since there were no shops around, they had to carry their lunch to work. Therefore this dish was evolved due to necessity. In addition to lamb, the curry is also made with goat, beef or chicken.
Last year in 2020 the winner of the “14th annual Coca Cola Bunny Chow Barometer Challenge” was the authentic Indian restaurant “Jeera`s” with head chef Prenolan Naidoo. Their dishes are prepared with fresh ingredients and the chef’s signature blend of spices.
· 6 large cloves peeled garlic
· One 3-inch piece peeled fresh ginger
· 1⁄4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. canola or olive oil
· 2 large white onions, chopped (about 3 cups)
· 4 bay leaves
· 2 small cinnamon sticks
· 1 tbsp. ground turmeric
· 1⁄4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. garam masala
· 3 medium tomatoes, chopped (2 cups)
· 2 1⁄4 lb. boneless mutton or lamb shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
· 2 tbsp. kosher salt
· 3 medium russet potatoes (1 3/4 lb.), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
· Leaves from 12 sprigs fresh cilantro
· One 1-pound loaf unsliced white bread, cut crosswise into quarters
1. In a small food processor or mortar and pestle, add the garlic and ginger and pulse or pound until a paste forms. Set aside.
2. In a large (8-quart) Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the onions, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, and turmeric and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garam masala and 1⁄4 cup of the garlic-ginger paste (reserve any remaining paste for another use); cook for a few seconds, stirring to prevent the spices from burning. Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer; let cook for 5 minutes. Add the mutton and salt, stirring to coat the meat in the sauce and distribute the seasoning. Simmer, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes. Stir in the potatoes and 2 cups water; bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, until the meat is tender and potatoes are soft, about 40 minutes.
3. To serve, cut out most of the center of each bread quarter and reserve it whole, making sure to leave some bread at the base of each. Divide among 4 plates and fill the bread bowls with the curry mixture. Garnish with the cilantro, and top or serve with the reserved bread pieces.