Bunny chow


Culinary-wise, and I don’t mean this in a negative way, the bunny chow is probably the single biggest contribution Durban in KwaZulu-Natal has made to South African society. The bunny chow is essentially curry served in a hollowed-out piece of bread loaf, and I like to use a curry made with boneless meat for it. Although not quite Upington in the middle of summer, this curry is quite hot, so be ready for that. If you want it mild, use less chilli powder and if you’re a hardened Durban curry eater, use more.


  • 2 tots oil
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 tot masala (hot curry powder)
  • 1 tsp chilli powder (optional)
  • 500 g boneless lamb (or mutton, cut into cubes or strips)
  • 3 cloves garlic (crushed or chopped)
  • 1 tot fresh ginger (finely chopped or grated)
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 potatoes (cut into small cubes)
  • 2 carrots (cut into slices)
  • 1/2 tot sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 loaf fresh white bread (you need absolutely stock-standard normal white bread, and you need it unsliced so that it can be cut to specification)
  • 2 fresh tomatoes (chopped, to serve)
  • 1 punnet coriander leaves (to serve)


  1. Heat the oil in a potjie over a medium-hot fire and fry the onion for about 5 minutes until it becomes soft. Then add the masala and (optional) chilli powder and fry for 1–2 minutes until the pan becomes sticky. If at any stage during step 1 or 2 you have too much heat in the potjie and things start to burn (in a black way, not a chilli way), add a very little bit of water as a counter-attack – but only do this if it’s really necessary. We need the flavour to develop by means of getting a bit sticky at the bottom of the potjie.
  2. Add the meat, garlic and ginger, and stir-fry for about 1 minute.
  3. Throw in the tinned tomatoes, chopped potatoes and carrots, sugar, salt and pepper, then stir, scraping the bottom of the potjie with your spoon to loosen any and all sticky bits.
  4. Cover with a lid and simmer over medium-low coals for about 30 minutes, stirring now and again so that the bottom of the potjie doesn’t burn. If no amount of stirring is going to stop the dish from burning, it means your potjie is too dry. Add a bit of water to rectify this but go easy. You’re making curry, not soup.
  5. After 30 minutes, take off the lid and stick a fork into the potatoes to make sure they’re cooked through. As soon as the potatoes are soft, the meal is essentially ready. Cook uncovered for a few minutes to allow the sauce to become a thick gravy. As soon as this happens the curry is ready, so take the potjie off the fire. Taste and adjust with a bit of extra salt if it needs it.
  6. Cut the loaf of bread into quarters and then scoop or cut out the centres of each quarter loaf, essentially creating a ‘bowl’ of bread for the curry. You’re basically creating four bowls of bread. Fill the hole of each quarter loaf with the curry and sauce. Serve the scooped out bread centre and a salad of tomato and fresh coriander leaves on the side.