A classic South African fast food dish, said to be created in the 1940's, Bunny chow originated in the Port city on Durban. Created by Indians during the apartheid regime, bunny chow was served to Zulu workers who were not allowed into Indian restaurants, due to racist legislation. They were served a takeaway curry inside a hollowed out loaf of bread. Although the original curry was vegetable, 'bunnies' are now made with mutton, chicken, vegetable or beans.
I know that this may be unusual for a South African, but I have never eaten a bunny chow before. Somehow the idea of a curry stuffed into a stodgy loaf of bread has never held any appeal for me. Whilst I enjoy a good curry once in a while, I could not see myself eating it out of a loaf of bread!
that is until last week, when I decided to make these mini bunnies... My version uses home made buns, filled with a creamy chicken and potato curry, and topped of with a sweet and tangy salad and some minty yogurt.
The inspiration for this recipe comes from a book called To the Banqueting House by Anna Trapido and Fathi Reinarhz
500 grams flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 sachet (10 grams) instant yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup warm milk
1/2 cup warm water
Combine flour, salt, sugar and yeast, in a large bowl. Whisk the olive oil, egg, milk and water together in a measuring jug. Add this to the flour mixture, whisking until a smooth batter is formed. I use a stand mixer for this job. You may need to add a little more water if necessary. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for half an hour.
Meanwhile, grease ten pastry moulds (7cm in diameter, and about 6-7cm tall) with some oil. Line a baking sheet with some foil, and grease the foil. The pastry rings give a nice toadstool shape to the breads, but you could use some muffin tins if desired. Empty food cans would also work... Place the
rings on the greased foil. If you are using a muffin tin, or any tin with a base, you do not need to grease the foil. Just be sure to grease the tin very well.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Ladle the batter into the moulds, about 2/3 ful. Set aside, uncovered, for about half an hour or until they are puffy and almost reaching the top of the tins. Place the buns in the oven, and bake for about 20- 25 minutes, or until done.
Remove the now golden buns from the oven, and place them, still in their moulds, on a wire rack to cool. Remove from moulds once they are cool.
Creamy Chicken and Potato Curry:
3 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup crisp fried onions, crushed
1 kg skinless and boneless chicken breast pieces, cut into 1cm cubes
Juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 tablespoon garlic paste
1 teaspoon ginger paste
1 teaspoon red chilli paste
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
A generous pinch of saffron, optional
250 ml pouring cream
3 medium potatoes, cut into 1cm cubes, and fried until cooked through and golden.
Combine the onions, chicken, lemon juice, garam masala,
Garlic, ginger, chilli, salt, cumin and saffron, if using, in a large bowl. Refrigerate, and allow to
marinate for a few hours. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the chicken, and allow to simmer over low heat, for about 45 minutes, or until cooked through. Stir in the cream and potatoes. Simmer for a further 10 minutes.
A handful of baby tomatoes
1 small red onion, sliced into half moons
A handful each of coriander and mint, finely chopped
1 red chilli, sliced at an angle into rings
2 teaspoons caster sugar
Salt to taste
Juice of 1 lime
Combine all the ingredients together. Place in a bowl. Chill until ready to serve.
250 ml low fat yogurt
A small handful mint leaves
Salt to taste
1 green chilli, optional
Purée all the above together. Chill until needed.
Slice the cooled buns across the top. Scoop out the insides. Fill with the chicken and potato curry. Top with the salad. Serve with the yogurt on the side.