“Bunny chows are popular amongst Indians, as well as other ethnic groups in the Durban area. Bunny chows are commonly filled with curries made using traditional recipes from Durban: mutton, lamb or chicken and chips with curry gravy are popular fillings now, although the original bunny chow was vegetarian. Bunny chows are often served with a side portion of grated carrot, chilli and onion salad known as sambals. A key characteristic of a bunny chow is created when gravy from the curry fillings soak into the walls of the bread, thereby rounding the dish off with the fusion of flavours & textures. Sharing a single bunny chow is not uncommon.” Wikipedia
I have been craving these comfort food eats for a while now, with contemplating cooking African inspired recipes as I feel I don’t know much about the cuisine from this vast country and would like to learn more about it. Having familiar flavours that cross over to my neighbouring country Mauritius, it’s also great to know any influential flavours from here.
I found the curries to be slightly similar to Mauritian and Indian curries in some way, using similar spices, textures, meat and herb/flavour combinations.
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp fennel seeds
- 2.5cm/1in piece of cinnamon stick
- 2 green cardamom pods
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp South African curry powder (I found this mix online to make a similar version)
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 1kg boneless leg of lamb, cut into 1.5cm/½in dices (or I used some lamb pieces)
- 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
- 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
- 10-12 curry leaves
- 2 large potatoes, cut in cubes the same size as the meat
- 2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 2 loaves of crusty white bread unsliced, each cut across in half in the middle and most of the crumbs removed
- Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the whole spices and bay leaf until the spices sizzle.
- Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until softened.
- Stir in the curry powder for one minute, then add the tomatoes and stir to mix.
- Cook on medium heat, till a sauce like consistency is achieved.
- Add the meat, ginger, garlic and curry leaves and 300ml water, bring to the boil then simmer, stirring occasionally, for 40-50 minutes or until the meat is tender.
- Add the potatoes, salt to taste and 200ml water. Continue simmering until the meat and potatoes are perfectly cooked.
- Stir in the chopped coriander and lime juice.
- To serve, spoon into the hollows in the bread, fill up with the curry and serve with a carrot sambal.
Making Sadza & Peanut Cabbage
“Sadza in Shone (or pap in South Africa) is a cooked cornmeal that is the staple food in Zimbabwe and other parts of southern and eastern Africa. This food is cooked widely in other countries of the region.” Wikipedia
Maybe I just like the name.. well who knows I wanted to try this simply wholesome meal for many in Africa, that can be eaten in replace to rice. Its porridge like consistency quickly becomes something that holds it shape, like a hardened mash potato.
It is delicious to eat with curry or a stew and here this is what I did also accompanying it with some peanut cabbage, another recipe that hails from these parts. Using peanuts in curries and side dishes is very common.
- For the sadza
- 375g/13oz white cornmeal (mealie meal)
- mix 225g/8oz of the cornmeal with 250ml/9fl oz of water.
- Bring 750ml of water to the boil in a pan, then turn down the heat and add the cornmeal mixture. Keep stirring! Cook for five minutes, then gradually add the remaining cornmeal. Transfer to a bowl or plate and flatten into a round shape, it will go slightly hard so best to eat immediately.
- For the peanut butter cabbage
- ½ smal cabbage shredded
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 tomato chopped
- 4 tbsp peanut butter (you can choose to make your own if you wish)
- For the peanut butter cabbage, pour about 125ml of water into a pan and bring to the boil. Add the cabbage, cook until slightly softened but crunchy.
- Add the onion, tomato and peanut butter adding more water if too thick. Season well and serve!