Just like we used to have them! I’ve eaten so many, but never made any 😜. So tonight is a real test since I have a big mouth about restaurants’ and roadside places’ bunny chows.
A bunny chow to Durbanites is like a gatsby is to Capetonians. They are both culture specific. Note: culture, not race or language. Culture specific in my opinion because all the amazing bunny chows I’ve had, had been cooked by Indian people, and the ‘greatest gatsby’s’ by South African coloured people.
Both cities are known for these as part of the city’s cuisines, and if you live in these cities and you haven’t tasted their pride, well no words for you. You cannot visit Durban, holiday or not, and not have a bunny chow though! That’d be a disgrace to humanity and the city. It’s one of those things that are a must do. It’d be like going to Paris and not visiting the Eiffel Tower!
But unfortunately my husband is one of those people when it comes to food, he sticks to what he knows and loves. I’m always asking him, how do you know you don’t like something unless you’ve tried it?
Anyway, we moved to KwaZulu Natal from Cape Town 3 years ago for work, and in 3 years he never had any curry not made by me and never had a bunny chow, ever! It’s very hard to believe but he has a clean, simple taste for food, which I admire at times but it needs to be prepared a certain way.
For example: he won’t eat anything with bones, anything! Everything I make I have to debone! 😓 That’s why he doesn’t like fish, because of the increased chances of encountering a bone. And if he really has to, he’ll eat calamari. He really has no idea what he’s missing out on, that’s all I’m saying.
Moving on from that bit of banter, I’m continuing my curry streak with lamb curry tonight, I know I make lamb often but it is just so good and tender, goes very well with curries too. Definitely my favourite red meat. But because I’m trying to spend less these holidays, I’ve gone for a cheaper cut of lamb; lamb necks. It actually cost me half of what I’d normally spend on lamb for this curry. Saving :)!
Oh and I bought the bread with a coupon, so more saving! But i couldn’t help feeling embarrassed for using a coupon, it almost felt like I was stealing money from someone. The thought of tipping the cashier crossed my mind but that’d probably come across as insulting, no such practice exists in Africa!
What do you need?
- Lamb necks – debone them, for reasons stated above 😓.
Veggies( chopped)- 1 onion, 2 spring onions, 1 celery stick, 1 big carrot, 4 cloves of garlic, 8 small tomatoes(cherry/Italian/Spanish) and 2 potatoes peeled and cut into 8ths.
Spices- All dried today- 4 cardamom, 2 cinnamon sticks, 4 bay leaves, 2 star anise, 1/2 tsp of mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp of black mustard seeds, 1 tsp of cumin seeds, 1 tsp of curry leaves, chilli flakes to your palate.
2 stock cubes
1 cup of red wine
1 tbs of duck fat
1 tbs of corn flour
What to do?
- Start by roasting the dried spices to extract the natural oils and therefore flavours from them.
In a pot, put in all the spices and dry roast for 5 minutes, then add duck fat. I’m adding 60 ml( 3 tbs) of duck fat so I can keep half with the flavours from the dried spices, for another day, another meal.
Continue roasting with the oil for a few more minutes. This is where I get fussy, I don’t like biting onto any spices when I’m eating my food, so I sieve the oil and discard the dried spices with the exception of cinnamon sticks and bay leaves, these I can easily pick out when I’m done, they are big enough.
NB: I don’t add my chili flakes until the end when the curry has taken some shape and the flavours are much more established, and I can objectively add the chili to taste. And I also have to put a portion aside for my son when it’s cooked but before the chili flakes. He sometimes like the heat but sometimes doesn’t, # difficult customer, I know!
Pour oil back into the pot, then add chopped onion and when soft add garlic and celery. Cook for a few minutes, then add spring onions, halved tomatoes, cubed lamb and the bones you removed off the meat, for more flavour. Necks need a bit more cooking time.
In 5 minutes, add 1 cup of red wine, 2 stock cubes and continue cooking.
In 10 more minutes, add potatoes and continue cooking. We’re adding them now so they don’t get overcooked and become mushy while the lamb is cooking. For other cuts of lamb that cook quicker, I usually start with the potatoes then the lamb in about 10 min.
Continuously check on the pot, and if it needs more liquid: add water. In 35 minutes, add the chopped carrots and continue cooking until the meat is tender but potatoes not mushy, this is at about 40-50 minutes.
Thicken your curry sauce with 1 tbs of corn flour and add chili as desired.
Cut bread into quarters or halves depending on how hungry you are, then hollow out the middle of the bread. This is where the curry will sit.
Dish the curry into the bread, garnish with coriander leaves, and serve.
You have an option of putting the hollowed out part of the bread back and treat it like a sandwich, or you can just eat it with a fork and knife to be less messy.