Bunny Chow – South African street food
Bunny Chow! What more can I teach you about this hot and spicy tummy filler? Jeanne the Cooksister has made it, Juno from Scrumptious South Africa has made cute little bite-size bunny chows so this might be all old news to you, but in case you have missed out on this popular street food, stay a while and learn all there is to know about this filling grab-and-go meal.
We are in the final month before the Fifa Soccer Extravaganza kicks off here in South Africa and restaurants, guesthouses and fast food outlets are stocking their pantries to the brim to be able to showcase what South Africa has to offer.
Although a bunny chow is hardly a meal you will order at one of our top restaurants, make sure you grab one on-the-go.
A Bunny Chow can only be eaten with your hands, from there the name originated. “Bunny” because you are eating with your hands like a rabbit and the word Chow, was a slang word used for food. Bunny Chow originated in the KwaZulu Natal region amongst the first Indians who came to this region to work in the sugar fields. Indian workers did not have the time to make the traditional Indian breads and were exposed to the western breads to have with their curries. Because it took too much time and effort to cart all the different containers with curries to work, they cut the bread loaf in half, hollowed the soft part of the bread and filled it with their choice of curry. A nutritious and filling meal, all in one parcel.
We are not Indian and we were not on the street grabbing a on-the-go-meal, but when I presented my family with a bunny chow each for supper the other night, I wish I had my camera handy to capture the look on their faces. The first question that popped out was: “Mom, with what do I eat this?” Second question: “What the heck is this?”…… Last question: “Why are we having this?” It was at that moment that I dissapeared into the scullery to to re-appear with another South African invention…the Vuvuzela!!!!!!!! My family knew immediately, what their meal was all about! Street foods of South Africa.
In case you are interested. A vuvuzela, or a stadium horn is a plastic horn, about 1 meter in length and it is blown by South African soccer supporters at games.The origin of the name is disputed. It may originate from the Zulu for “making noise,” from the “vuvu” sound it makes, or from township slang related to the word for “shower.
Bunny Chow with Lamb Curry
2 white loaves of bread – halved(big appetites) or quartered(smaller appetites).
1 kg mutton – neck or knuckles (or beef cubes)
1 Tbs curry powder
1 thumb size piece root ginger
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp turmeric
1 stick cinnamon
1 star anise
1 medium onion, chopped.
1 red pepper, diced
2 Tbs vegetable oil.
2 cups vegetable or mutton stock
2 Tbs tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste
In a big cast iron pot, saute onion, garlic and all spices in oil.
Add meat and brown.
Add stock and put lid on.
Simmer until meat is tender. Add potatoes and cook until done.
Now make the following sauce
1 level Tbs flour
1 tsp curry powder
3 Tbs chutney
3 Tbs good Tomato ketchup
3 Tbs vinegar
3 Tbs apricot jam
Stir sauce into stew and cook through. Add seasoning to taste. Now hollow out the quarter or half loaf, leaving some bread at the base. Spread the inside lavishly with butter and fill to the brim with hot spicy curry.