Challenge Accepted: Bunny Chow- a Traditional South African Meal

I have not officially done a “challenge” in a while and decided that now is as good of a time as any.  Noel challenged me to write about South African food and Zelda challenged me to prepare a dish. I figure this counts as both! 🙂

I chose to prepare Bunny chow (a.k.a: bunny), a popular South African meal which, contrary to the name, does not include any rabbit whatsoever. It is actually a dish of curry served in hollowed out bread. Brant adores Bunny chow and has it often at a place close to his work on Fridays.


I researched several recipes online and opted to take components of several different recipes to create my own version of a lamb and potato bunny chow. IMG_3319


  • 1 package of fresh ciabatta rolls
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (I buy pre-minced)
  • 4 small red chillies, diced
  • 1.5 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 kg of boneless stewing lamb
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp tumeric
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1.5 tbsp cape malay curry (can substitute 2 tbsp garam masala)
  • 1, 14oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 750ml chicken stock
  • 5 large potatoes peeled and diced into large chunks
  • salt to taste


Dice the onion, garlic (if not using pre-minced), and chilli. Then, heat the oil over medium heat in a large sauce pot (the images will show me doing this step in a frying pan because frying things is my default, however, I did not consider how much liquid I would be using later on in the recipe and had to transfer to a pot eventually. So, to avoid the transfer step, start in a large pot- and remember that things like this are a reason that I am not a cooking blogger).

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Add onion, chilli, and garlic to the pot. Season with ground ginger and mix well. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until garlic is fragrant.

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Add the lamb to the pan and brown for 5 minutes (it does not have to cook all the way through, just brown the outsides).

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While the meat is browning, empty out your spice cabinet by combining the required the spices (coriander, ground cumin, turmeric, paprika, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cape malay curry) in a small bowl.


Add the combined spices to the meat in the pan and stir to coat the lamb. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes.  Smells like curry!

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Now, as mentioned, if you did not prepare correctly, you will have to transfer the contents of the pan to a large pot.

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Crisis successfully averted. So now, confidently, add the sugar and tomatoes; then, stir to coat the lamb.

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Next, add enough chicken stock to just-cover the lamb (about 750mls).IMG_3344 IMG_3345

Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.

While you are waiting, peel and dice the potatoes.

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When 30 minutes is up, add the potatoes. Return to a boil, then cover and simmer for 15-20 more minutes, or until the potatoes are soft and the lamb is tender.IMG_3348 IMG_3349 IMG_3352 IMG_3353

During this wait time, cut the top of your ciabatta roll and hollow out the inside. Be sure to leave some bread in the bottom to absorb the juices so the curry doesn’t leak out.  I saved the insides in a tupperware and served it on the side with the bunny chow. Brant said this was critical to sop up extra sauce.

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Then fill the empty bread bowl with the lamb curry.

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Top with some extra sauce and serve with the bread insides (on the outside) and a side of cole slaw.  I tried to be photographically sneaky and omit the fact that there is also a piece of chocolate cake on my plate- which admittedly is probably not part of this traditional meal. But, I have to be honest and admit its existence.  I will also admit it was delicious, and since it was purchased in South Africa, totally legitimate. 🙂

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Brant thought it was fantastic and wants it in the regular rotation. I am not a huge curry fan but thought it was good. I hope some of you try it out and report back to let me know what you think!

Love from South Africa! xoxoxoxo

This entry was posted in cooking, Expat- General, Food in South Africa, housewife, meal planning, Tourism and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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