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What on earth is Bunny Chow? This has to be the question you have asked yourself if you landed up on this page. And now we are going to try and answer this for you as simply as possible.
It is a half or quarter loaf of bread with the inside scooped out, filled with any type of delicious curry, topped with the scooped out bread and eaten by hand with great relish...... Got it?
There are many stories circulating as to the origin of this spicy meal and the one that we tend to believe is that it started on the East Coast of South Africa in the Durban Indian Community, and is believed to have started sometime in the early nineteen forties.
Round about that time in the history of South Africa, migrant Indian workers were brought into, what was then known as Natal (now known as Kwazulu-Natal), to work the sugar cane plantations. These workers had to find a way to carry their lunches to work and very cleverly found that by hollowing out a loaf of bread they could easily transport their vegetarian curries into the sugar canes for eating at lunch time.
Another story has it "that a restaurant run by people known as Banais (an Indian Caste) first created the scooped-out bread and curry dish at a restaurant-cum-café called Kapitan's on the corner of Victoria and Albert Streets in Durban" (the street names have subsequently changed).
Just as a matter of interest, the traditional Indian meal was roti and beans, but roti's tend to fall apart as a take-away item, which is probably why some clever soul invented the scooping out of a loaf of bread and filled it with curry, which by the way is made with herbs and spices and onions and garlic which have so many medicinal advantages.
Which ever story is true, what a wonderful way to eat curry and it has now spread to the central part of South Africa and is served in bars, Indian restaurants and also in some of the really upmarket restaurants in Sandton Johannesburg.
And you know what............. it can even be found as a street food in London. We would love to hear from YOU and where you have eaten one of them.
The original bunny chow was vegetarian, but as this meal has developed it has been adopted by all ethnic groups you can find them all over made with different fillings, such as mutton curry, lamb curry, beef curry, chicken curry and even beans and chips with a curry gravy.
Some are made with bread rolls especially in the "hoity toity" places.
The vegetarian variety is referred to as a bean's bunny.
Please check Home Cooking Haven site for various curry recipes for your fillings.
As the love of this type of eating curry grew, all sorts of extra's started been added, like a side portion of grated carrots, chilli and onion salad but of course the best..... is recognized for its key characteristic which is when the gravy from the curry fillings soaks into the walls of the bread.
Now this is fun, you can order either a half loaf, a quarter loaf and if you are starving or sharing, you can even order a full loaf.
Local slang dictates "half mutton" which means you will get a half loaf of bread with mutton curry, and so you can order the flavour or size of your choice.
When eaten as a street food, you eat it with your fingers and the meal is served to you in yesterdays newspaper.
We really hope that you will get great enjoyment out of cooking this recipe as well as eating it, and sharing the experience wherever you go in the world.
Don't forget to come back to Home Cooking Haven to see what's cooking and until we meet again.......... Happy Cooking