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South African Bunny Chow Recipe

South African Bunny Chow Recipe

Bunny chow, also simply known as a bunny, is a popular South African street food dish prepared using a hollowed-out loaf of white bread which is filled with curry. Commonly used ingredients to prepare the curry include meat, chickpeas, potatoes and various different spices.

Generally accompanied by a salad (including grated carrot, chilli and onion) or a pickle, one can find many different versions of bunny chow throughout the country depending on the communities making it.

Origin & Cultural Significance

The invention of bunny chow dates back to the 1940s and is believed to have originated among the Indian South Africans of Durban.

It is said that the Indian laborers who worked on the sugar cane plantations of KwaZulu-Natal (Port Natal) needed a way to carry their lunches to work. And a hollowed-out loaf of bread happened to be the most convenient way to carry their vegetarian curries. It was later that the meat-based fillings were included in the dish.

Bread was not just cheap but also widely available at local stores, making it a perfect substitute container for the curry.

Bunny Chow

South African Bunny Chow Recipe

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Bunny chow, also simply known as a bunny, is a popular South African street food dish prepared using a hollowed-out loaf of white bread which is filled with curry.


For The Curry:

  • Loaves of unsliced bread - 2
  • Stewing beef chuck or topside (cubed) - 1½ pounds
  • Sunflower oil (for searing the beef) - 3 tbsp
  • Flour (for coating the beef) - 2 tbsp
  • Beef stock - 2 cups
  • Garlic (finely minced) - 4 cloves
  • Tomato puree or tomato paste (optional) - 2 tbsp
  • Worcestershire sauce - 2 tbsp
  • Mango chutney - 2 tbsp
  • Salt - 1 tsp
  • Sugar (optional) - 1 tsp

For The Vegetables:

  • Medium-sized potatoes (cut into 1-inch cubes) - 3 to 4
  • Medium-sized onions (cut into ½-inch dice) - 2
  • Medium-sized tomatoes (cut into small dice) - 3
  • Medium-sized carrots (cut into ½-inch dice) - 2

For The Spices:

  • Garam masala - 1 tbsp
  • Ground coriander - 1 tbsp
  • Ground cumin - 1 tbsp
  • Yellow mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  • Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
  • Turmeric - 1 tsp
  • Ground ginger - ½ tsp
  • Dried chilli flakes - 1 tsp


  1. Begin by taking the meat and cutting it into 1-inch cubes. Now, using a sheet of paper towel, pat it dry and coat it in a flour and salt mixture.
  2. Next, take all the vegetables. Peel and dice them. Also, crush the garlic.
  3. Cut the loaves of bread in half and carefully get rid of the insides. Make sure the casing is about ½ thick all the way around.
  4. Take a sauté pan and heat oil in it. Sear the cubed beef in batches. Once the meat turns brown, shift it to a plate and keep it aside.
  5. Throw in the chopped onion and garlic and carefully stir-fry. Wait till the onion turns translucent. Add another tablespoon of oil if required.
  6. Now, add the spices and thoroughly combine everything. Make sure the onions are well coated with spices. Keep in mind to turn the heat down so the spices do not burn.
  7. Throw the tomatoes in and keep frying until the tomatoes begin to soften. This should take you approximately 3 minutes.
  8. Finally, add the prepared meat, stock, Worcestershire sauce, chutney, sugar, and tomato paste. Place a lid on the pan and allow it to cook for 30 minutes on low heat.
  9. After 30 minutes, add the potatoes and carrots to the same pan and let everything cook for 1 and a half hours. Remember to cover it with a lid and cook it on a simmer.
  10. If it begins to dry out, you can add some more stock.
  11. If you prefer thick gravy, combine 1 tablespoon of flour with 3 tablespoons of cold water and prepare a paste. Add it to the gravy and stir well. Let it cook for another 2 minutes on a low flame.
  12. When finished, transfer the contents into the hollowed bread, putting the centre of the bread on one side to mop up extra juices, and serve!
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 452Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 1074mgCarbohydrates: 68gFiber: 10gSugar: 18gProtein: 18g

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