Posts Tagged ‘curry’

I have for some time followed and admired the blog CookSister. It has wonderful photographs and great recipes. Cooksister (named after a South African plaited, deep-fried syrup-dipped pastry) is written by Jeanne Horak-Druiff and when she published the recipe for Bunny Chow (a dish I had first seen at the Christchurch Food Festival) I asked her if she would allow me to use it.
I have included part of the description of the dish and the only changes I made was to use bread rolls as the bread bow and add a little more liquid. The main reason for the bread rolls was that I made a large pot of it for a party of 50 people so rolls were more convenient.

BUNNY CHOW- by Jeanne Horak-Druiff
copyright CookSister

**DISCLAIMER** – no fluffy bunnies were harmed in the making of this dish!!

There is some discussion as to the origin of this street food which broadly consists of curry ladled into a scooped-out loaf of bread. One theory is that it originated at a restaurant in Durban’s Grey Street when, in the early 1900s, caddies from the Royal Durban Golf Club were unable to get enough time off over lunch to dash to predominantly Indian Grey Street to pick up a curry for lunch. The caddies would ask their friends to bring back curries for them and because there were no polystyrene containers back then, the shopkeepers sent the curry in hollowed out loaves of bread. There was also no disposable cutlery, so the bread was useful as a tool to dip into the curry and use instead of a fork. This theory might also explain the rather unusual name: the shopkeepers on Grey Street were called banias (an Indian caste of merchants), and “bunny” could be a corruption of this. Another similar theory is that bunny chows originated as a means for the (mostly Indian) labourers to take lunch onto the sugar cane plantations of Kwa-Zulu Natal in the days before disposable containers.

The curry used in a bunny chow varies according to taste – chicken, lamb, beef or vegetable are all popular, and the level of heat varies (beware – Durbanites like theirs HOT!). The bread component of a bunny chow may be a whole, half or quarter white loaf, and the scooped out centre is replaced on top of the curry before serving. The scooped out bread is then dipped into the gravy before and eaten as an appetiser, and it is considered very bad form indeed to take somebody’s this bread without asking. As the level of the curry drops, you can rip off bits of the bread bowl to use instead of cutlery – so all in all it’s a fun but potentially messy meal and not suitable for first dates or important business lunches!

The recipe below is a great basic lamb curry and could also be served on rice. If you are making bunny chows though, be sure there is enough liquid for plenty of gravy: you want the gravy to soak properly into the bread “bowl”. I was lucky enough that my lovely friend Simla brought back a packet of Osmans Taj Mahal roasted Durban madras curry powder for me last time she went home, which I use in my curry – but you could use any ready-mixed curry powder that you like (Rajah madras curry powder would work well if you like it hot). You can also add chopped chillies at the end to spice up individual portions if some diners like it hotter than others. And as always, if you have time try to make the curry a day in advance because the flavours always improve on the second day.

So what are you waiting for? Try these for yourself and experience the authentic taste of South African street food!

BUNNY CHOW (serves 4)


  • 1 kg lamb, cubed
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thinly into rings
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2-3 curry leaves
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 4 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 1.5 tsp crushed ginger
  • 1.5 tsp crushed garlic
  • 4 tsp Durban masala (or substitute shop-bought curry powder,as hot or mild as you like)
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 3-4 potatoes, cubed
  • Salt
  • 4 – 8 crusty rolls hollowed out. Keep the hollowed out bread and serve to mop up any the curry that gets on the plate
  • Fresh coriander leaves to garnish


  1. Cube the meat and slice the onion.
  2. Heat the oil in the inner pot and add the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, onion and curry leaves. Fry until the onion is light golden brown in colour.
  3. Add the masala mix (or curry powder), turmeric, ginger, garlic and tomato. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mix resembles a puree.
  4. Add the meat and cook for about 10 minutes. Then add the potatoes and 400ml of water.
  5. Bring back to the boil, put on the lid and turn down to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Turn off the heat and place the inner pot into the insulated outer container.
  7. Shut the lid and thermal slow cook without power for a minimum of 2 hours.
  8. 10 minutes before serving remove the inner pot from the outer container. Add the garam masala mixture. Test for seasoning and add salt if necessary.
  9. Simmer for a further 10 minutes on a low heat.
  10. Serve in hollowed out crusty rolls and garnish with the coriander leaves.


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Vintage photograph of Gurkha soldiers from the british army on parade. 1920's 30's India.

Last week I had a great lunch in a restaurant near Wareham, Dorset. The restaurant is called Gurkha and does a lunchtime buffet of Indian, Nepalese, Thai and Chinese food. It is run by Captain QGO Asbahadur Gurung formerly of the Brigade of Gurkhas.

Apart from the Tom Kha Seafood soup, which incidentally was the best I have ever tasted my interest was in the cuisine of Nepal. One of the dishes on offer was Gurka Lamb curry and it was so good I though that I should try and make something similar. Having some lamb shanks in the fridge they were the obvious choice for the lamb part of the dish. The rest of the ingredients I found in my store cupboard.

Before we get on with the recipe here is a little history about the Gurkhas. The Gurkhas who come from Nepal in the Himalayas have served in the British Army for many years. They have fought alongside British troops and proved themselves to be the most disciplined, fearless, brave fighters in the world. As a fighting force they are feared all over the world.











  • 4 lamb shanks, slashed with a knife to allow the marinade to penetrate the meat
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 250 ml natural yoghurt
  • 125 ml vegetable oil
  • 10 cardamom pods, seeds removed
  • 25 g fresh ginger, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 7 cm of a cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves
  • 350 ml cold water


  1. Add garlic, ginger, yoghurt, cardamom, chopped ginger, chopped garlic, fennel, cayenne and ½ the onions into a blender. Blend the mixture into a smooth paste.
  2. Sprinkle the lamb shanks with a little salt, then pour over the masala mixture, and allow to marinade for at least an hour.
  3. Heat the oil, in the inner pot and add the cinnamon, cloves and rest of the onion. Cook until the onion is golden brown.
  4. Add the marinaded lamb shanks to the inner pot along with all the marinade.
  5. Bring to the boil, you should see oil slowly rising to the surface. At this stage add the cold water, stir and bring the mixture back to the boil.
  6. Turn down the heat. Put on the lid and simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. Put the inner pot into the insulated outer container and shut the lid.
  8. Thermal slow cook without power for a minimum of 4 hours.
  9. Before serving check the seasoning and adjust if needed.
  10. Serve on a bed of plain, pilau or saffron rice which you could cook in the top pot if you have one.

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Kerala cuisine is a combination of Vegetables, meats and seafood flavoured with a variety of spices. Seafood’s are main diet of Coastal Kerala. Whereas Vegetable is the main diet in plains of Kerala and Meat is the main course among tribal and northern Kerala.


  • 2 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp black mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2.5 cm piece of ginger finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped (remove seeds if you don’t want it too hot)
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 400 ml can coconut milk
  • 400 ml water
  • 1 fish stock cube
  • 1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 500 g firm fish (yopu could use salmon if you wish)


  1. Put the ghee or oil in the inner pot over a medium heat. Add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and turmeric.
  2. When the seeds start to po add the onion, garlic and ginger. Cook gently for about 5 minutes until the onion is translucent.
  3. Add the curry leaves and chilli. Cook for 5 more minutes.
  4. Pour in the coconut milk and water. Crumble in the stock cube before adding the tin of tomatoes.
  5. Stir well to dissolve the stock cube. Check the seasoning and add some salt if necessary.
  6. Bring to the boil and then turn down to a simmer.
  7. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  8. Add the fish and bring back to the boil. Put on the lid and put the inner pot into the insulated outer container.
  9. Shut the lid and leave to thermal slow cook without power for 3 hours. If you need to leave it longer than this, do everything except adding the fish which you can add about 30 minutes before serving by bringing the curry sauce back to the boil, adding the fish and then putting the inner pot back into the outer container to finish cooking.
  10. Serve with rice.

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Thai food uses the freshest ingredients to give it that unique taste. Thai recipes use all five flavors: spicy, sweet, salty, bitter and sour, bringing them together in perfect harmony.

This pork curry is uses tamarind paste to give it the sour taste and fish sauce to add a salty flavour. It does not use coconut milk just chicken stock and water.

If you would prefer to use chicken or fish instead of pork the curry should work fine.


  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 500g pork, cubed
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste
  • ¼ cup coriander coarsley chopped
  • 1 tbsp galangal paste
  • 1 tsp crushed chilles
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 500ml water
  • Coriander leaves to garnish


  1. Heat the oil in the inner pot. When hot add the pork cook until browned.
  2. Stir in the shrimp paste, coriander, galangal paste and chilles. Cook for a couple of minutes until fragrant.
  3. Add the fish sauce, tamarind paste, sugar, the chicken stock and water. Stir well and bring to the boil.
  4. Turn down to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes with the lid on.
  5. Turn off the heat and place the inner pot into the insulated outer container.
  6. Shut the lid and leave to thermal slow cook for 2 to 3 hours.
  7. Serve in a bowl garnished with the coriander leaves and rice in a separate bowl.

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