Is there no end to Durban’s global influence?
We at Hatman Mansions are humungously proud Durbanites and, over the years, have been completely chuffed to see Durbs-on-Sea give the world… er, um, *cough*… come on, Durbspeople, help me here! Right. Thanks. OK. Apparently we have given the world such global luminaries as legendary surfer Shaun Tomson… legendary surfer Shaun Tomson and, erm, legendary surfer Shaun… hang on, that e-mail clearly came from a surfer friend with a fixation on our Golden Boy of the Gunston 500 and the Bay of Plenty.
Got to love Google. Shaun Pollock (cricket), Papwa Sewgolum (golf), Sibusiso Zuma (football) and… how’s that for political correctness? Please notice how I inadvertently included people of Zulu, Indian and European descent in my list? So proud of myself. Hang on, they’re all sportsmen. And, wait, they’re all men!
That won’t do. Right, let me find somebody who’s not a sportsman… um… a politician, perhaps? I give up. Doctor Michael Sutcliffe? Oh, he’s a man. Cripes. Entertainment? Got it! Leeanda Reddy. Leeanda who? Shame on you! She’s the ridiculously talented star of soapie Isidingo and a one-woman hub of deliciousness. And female and of Indian origin. I’m very pleased with the way things are going. Aren’t you?
Well, you would be if I got to the point. Focus, Fred (it’s ADHD Awareness Day). Bunny chow. A uniquely Durban fast food favourite. Arrived in New York. Yes, New York. Big time. Durban does New York. I like the sound of that. First, please take a butchers at this very exciting photograph…
Saffers is a new joint obviously run by South Africans and you can read a bit more about it right here. Before you do that, I need to, er, fill in New Yorkers on what exactly constitutes a bunny chow. Before they all rush to book (apparently the Saffers waiting-list already boasts the names of Robert de Niro, Beyonce, Woody Allen, Britney Spears, Megan Fox, Kanye West, Genevieve Morton and a bloke named Barack Obama).
Right. Well. It’s half a loaf of white bread (not necessarily organic or preservative-free) which is hollowed out before the most tasty and ass-on-fire hot curry is poured inside. Don’t worry. We eat it all the time in Durban. Especially after the consumption of 23 beers. In fact, bunny chow is a proven pre-bedtime antidote to 25 beers but I wouldn’t want to be irresponsible and endorse the drinking of that much alcohol.
All of my culinary expert friends in EnWhySee (that’s just the way I roll, please deal with it) say that the bunny chow is the new burger. And, cue a Durbs bhangra tune blaring out of a black VW Golf, here it is…
That bunny has clearly been adapted for foreign munchers. Quadruple the amount of bread, take away the poncy rabbit food next to it and you almost have an idea of the truly legendary Durban bunny chow. What’s that? You would like a recipe to give to your husband (god, I’m so metrosexual)? Fine. Here you go…
Adapted from Cook Sister!, South African Jeanne Horak-Druiff’s food blog.
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cinnamon stick
4 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1 medium onion, sliced thinly into rings
2–3 curry leaves
4 tsp Durban masala (if unavailable, use red curry powder)
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 1/2 tsp grated ginger
1 1/2 tsp crushed garlic
2 large tomatoes, chopped, or a 14-oz can chopped tomatoes
2 1/4 pounds lamb, cubed
3–4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 tsp garam masala
Salt, to taste
1 or 2 crusty, square loaves of bread (small farmhouse loaves are best)
Fresh coriander leaves for garnish
1. Heat the oil and add the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, onion, and curry leaves. Fry until the onion is golden brown in color.
2. Add the Durban masala (or curry powder), turmeric, ginger, garlic, and tomato. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mix resembles a puree.
3. Add the meat and cook for about 10 minutes. Then add the potatoes and about 1/4 cup of water. Lower the heat and simmer on low. Keep an eye on it to make sure the bottom of the pot does not burn.
4. When the meat is cooked through and the potatoes are tender (about 30 minutes), add the garam masala. Test for seasoning and add salt if necessary. Simmer for 10 minutes on low heat.
5. Halve the loaves and scoop out the centers (known in South Africa as the “virgins”), leaving the crusts to form bowls.
6. Spoon the curry into the half loaves and serve, garnished with coriander leaves. The virgin can be dipped into the curry and eaten as well.
Wowness. Thanks, Jeanne. Best bit for me was “the virgin can be dipped into the curry and EATEN AS WELL”. Because that is deemed in Durban to be a compulsory part of the Bunny Chow Experience. Enjoy.