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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bunny Chow

The first time I heard of this was from a South African who came to visit. He described his way of eating this 'Bunny', you'd think he was spending a night with a Playboy Bunny....."First you dip into the juicy centre, then when the juice overflow, you just lick around the sides..." OK Stop that dirty mind!

There appears to be some confusion. Neither rabbits are involved.

It's a white bread. A half loaf of sandwich or if you're very hungry, l whole sandwich loaf - hollowed out and filled with hot-like-hell curry. It was originally strictly vegetarian but these days, you can get it with lamb and chicken. It's a popular takeaway can be purchased at nearly any Indian eatery in Durban. I was told it is also available elsewhere in South Africa but I've not seen in places I went to, like Jo'burg and Cape Town.

It appears that the Indian golf caddies weren't given a decent lunch break, so they had friends bring them curry in the most convenient edible container available. Another story goes that Indians working in the cane fields in KwaZulu-Natal (the job for which their immigration was originally encouraged) would have lunch brought to them in this form. Hence, Bunny Chow is a humble working-class dish. Whatever the truth is, Durban has the largest Indian community outside of India.

Bunny Chow is one of those Indian dishes that has never seen the shores of India.

Here is the vegetarian filling...

Lentil Curry


  • 150 gm red lentils
  • 1 tbsp garam masala (too lazy to make my own so I had a friend to bring me a pack from India)
  • 1 large or 2 small onions (chopped)
  • 3 tbsp sunflower/corn oil
  • 1 tsp chilli powder (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp kukurma
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes (or 3-4 fresh ones, chopped)
  • 2 slices of fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • salt


  • Heat up oil in a deep pan at medium.
  • Add onions and fry till it's soft (glassig). It takes about 5 minutes.
  • Add garam masala to onions and stir for about 30 seconds.
  • Add kukurma and chilli powder, mix them into the masala (about 30seconds)
  • Add tomatoes, stir another 30 seconds.
  • Add lentils, ginger and garlic.
  • Cover and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, till soft.
  • Add salt to taste

To serve, cut a sandwich load into half. Remove the centre/scoop out the centre and just load in the lentils till it's flowing over.

I couldn't find a whole sandwich loaf from my bakery so I simply got a bun. Another alternative is to serve with chapati.

Tastes best when eaten with fingers.

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