Durban Inspired Butter Chicken Bunny Chow

So last week, I visited Durban (for all my foreign readers, that’s in the province of KwaZulu-Natal here in South Africa) and I was just too damn excited to try my first ever, authentic Durban curry, more specifically in the form of a ‘bunny chow’.

Now, for all of you sitting in the US thinking, “gee I didn’t know that South African’s ate bunny’s…” we don’t so, let me give you some history:images (2)

Durban is known to be home to one of the largest Indian populations, outside of India, in the world. They were brought over during the awful years of slave trade which was an eerie and dark time in South African history. Possibly the ONLY upside to these years, was the diversity it created in the South African culture, and where there is diverse culture, there is ALWAYS great food! The Bunny Chow came about as a cheap, fast food that would feed the mass of manual labourers. A ‘Bunny’, as it is affectionately referred to, consists of a hollowed out loaf of bread filled with a hot lamb, chicken, beef or vegetable curry. It is said to have gotten its name from the Indian word for curry merchants “bania”.

After visiting Durban, I was inspired by the bunny chows and the various curries it had to offer, so I came up with this recipe:

  • 500g boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • salt
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • half thumb-sized knob of ginger, grated
  • 2 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp Mother-in-law Curry Powder (Hot Curry Powder)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 cardamom pod
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 chicken stock cube, dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1/2 small pot of plain yoghurt
  • coriander, roughly chopped
  • hamburger bread rolls
  1. Start by marinading the chicken. In a ziploc bag, mix the chicken with 1 tbsp garam masala, 2 cloves of garlic and 1 tbsp canola oil. Close the bag and shake it and massage the chicken pieces until they are well coated in the spices. Place in the fridge while you cook the sauce.
  2. Place 2 tbsp of oil in a frying pan on a medium heat. Saute the onions before adding the final clove of garlic and the ginger.
  3. Add the spices and stir for about 3 mins.
  4. Pour in the tomatoes and stir until it begins to simmer. Add the stock.
  5. Stir in the yoghurt and then blend with a hand held immersion blender. (I leave mine with a few lumps for texture) DSC_0078
  6. Allow the sauce to come to a simmer and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Add the marinaded chicken (including chunks of garlic) and stir in and allow to cook for about 12 mins. Keep checking the chicken to make sure it is cooked.
  8. Once the chicken is cooked, take the pan off the heat.
  9. Prepare your bread rolls by cutting a hole in the top. DO NOT THROW THE INSIDE AWAY! These bits can be used as edible scoops when eating.
  10. Ladle the butter chicken into each roll and garnish with a dollop of yoghurt and some coriander.



Start by using the scooped out pieces of bread and the ‘lid’ to pick up pieces of chicken and sauce and eat them. Then, pick out the rest of the filling using a knife and fork, then when you are done with that, break away pieces of the roll (which have soaked in all the sauce) and eat them!

ENJOY and I hope you learned a thing or two, I know I did =]


One Comment Add yours

  1. mudthang says:

    Goddam this makes me hungry as hell…


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