Modern Masala: South African “Street Food” Durban Bunny Chow Recipe

My school just got off of what we call spring break. Almost all of my friend went to some place far away and worry free, I was stuck at home doing nothing. This week I was inspired to make this dish by my boyfriend’s trip to South Africa (I was a little jealous). I wanted to feel like I had gone on the trip with him so I began researching and stumbled upon this amazing dish.

Before I begin talking about how great this dish was, I want to talk a bit about its history. In South Africa, this dish is often referred to as simply Bunny. Bunny originated around the time of WWII in a town called Durban. There are many stories behind how this dish came to be and one of my favorite is about an Indian immigrant that came to South Africa to work in sugarcane plantations. This story states that the immigrants needed to find a way to bring their lunch to work and they found that bread bowls were the easiest way to transport it.

Now as someone who is in love with bread, no shame. I don’t see any problems with using bread as a bowl, in fact, it is freaking genius. In my opinion, it’s more of a question as to why don’t we have silverware made out of bread. Anyway, when I found out that this recipe was more of an Indian dish that originated in Africa, I was all for it. After my Monsoon Black-Eyed Pea Curry dish, I was up for the challenge of making a better curry. This recipe does use chicken in it; however, the original dish from what I found used beans instead. To imitate what it may have been like in the 40s, I substituted the chicken with a can of chickpeas.

This dish had more spices listed as ingredients than I know colors, but that is beside the point. Once I gathered all the spices and mixed them together in a bowl, I felt like I could have easily been in a plain of Africa. I did this first because I wanted to be able to make my house smell like spices, and this actually worked to my surprise. Next, I cut up the onions and potatoes and through them in a pot with the whole spices (cardamom, curry leaves, and cinnamon). While I let those cook and make my house smell even more delicious, I diced up some tomatoes and minced some garlic. Once everything was cut and thrown into the pot, it was a waiting game. I have experienced some long 30 minutes before in my life, but this was one of the most excruciating 30 minutes I had experienced in a while. It was like sitting in a field of puppies and not being allowed to touch them.

After being tortured, I was finally able to touch my bunny. Into the bowl, it went, though it didn’t stay there very long. The minute that this curry touched my lips I felt like all of my worries had just melted away. Trust me I have got a lot of them. The only thing that I didn’t like was the fact that I feel like there was too much potato. This could easily be fixed by using less potato. All in all, I would give this recipe a 9.5/ 10 because there were just too many potatoes.IMG_2332IMG_2329IMG_2323

Ingredients

Whole Spices Step 1

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6 whole cardamom pods
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon crumbled curry leaves
  • 1 large onion, peeled and roughly diced
  • 4 potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes

Durban Masala

  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 treaspoon ground mace

Bunny Chow Curry

  • 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 450g chicken, skinned and boned, breasts of thighs (cut into cubes)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 large curry leaves
  • 150mls chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 whole loaf of white bread (cut in half and the into quarters, with the middle hollowed out to make a)

Garnish

  • fresh coriander to garnish

Note

My take on the traditional South African street food dish, “Bunny Chow”; although this was originally made with beans and vegetables, and it more often than not made with lamb or mutton nowadays, I have made this recipe with chicken. This recipe is fun to serve and is extremely filling and tasty. I created this recipe as part of my contribution as a “Spice Ambassador” for Schwartz UK and The Flavour Forecast with McCormicks’ Flavour of Together campaign, as part of their 125th anniversary celebrations. My Flavour Story can be seen here: Karen Burns-Booth Flavour Story

Directions

Step 1 Put the oil, whole spices, onion and potatoes into a large pan with a lid and fry over a gentle heat until the onion is soft and translucent.
Step 2 Mix the dry Durban Masala ingredients together.
Step 3 Add the chopped tomatoes, chicken pieces, garlic, curry leaves and the Durban masala mix to the whole spices, onion and potato mixture and mix well. Heat over a low heat for 1 minute before adding the stock (water can be used too). Cover and simmer for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft and the chicken is cooked.
Step 4 When you are ready to serve the Bunny Chow, place the prepared bread on a plate or a large napkin and ladle the curry into the cavity of the bread “bowls”. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with sambals on the side.
Step 5 The bread: the best loaf for the bread bowls is a unsliced, rectangular white loaf (called Government Sandwich Loaf in South Africa). Cut the top off the loaf, and keep to one side and then cut the main loaf into quarters or halves, depending on the size. Serve with the top of the bread (cut into handy pieces) which is used as a “dipping” utensil. Bread rolls can also be used. Cut into the bread with a knife to make a border and then scoop the inside bread crumbs out – keep them for other recipes. I made my own small white loaf for this recipe.
Advertisements

BUSIATI WITH HERBS, PISTACHIO PESTO AND CRUNCHY ZUCCHINI

I am incredibly fond of pasta and after my spaetzle recipe, I wanted to try another pasta dish. Where else would you go other than good old Italy? This dish brought out my inner Italian and made me want to only eat pasta for the rest of my life. A small disclaimer, this dish does contain pistachios so if you have a sensitivity to nuts, you can easily leave the pistachios out completely. My family loves pistachios so I made sure to put a hardy serving of them on the plate. The recipe that I used was incredibly helpful. It had the recipe split into four different sections. It made me feel not as rushed as in other recipes.

Now for my tips and mistakes that I made this week. Beginning with the pistachio pesto, the recipe tells you to use a mortar and pestle, many people do not just have this on hand in their homes. Don’t worry, there is a solution, what I did was I stuck the garlic and pistachios together in a heavy duty Ziploc bag and took a heavy rolling pin and got my anger out on the bag. The pistachios broke very easily this way and turned into a fine particle and when combined with the olive oil made a very good pesto.

Another thing that I did because I didn’t have the time to make homemade pasta like this recipe calls for, as much as I would love to. I used pre-made strozzapreti that said it tasted like a homemade pasta. In my opinion, I think it really did taste like homemade pasta, this is a good replacement if there just isn’t enough time in the day for making pasta.

One thing that I would have changed is how I made the herb pesto. I threw the basil, parsley, and olive oil in a food processor, but there didn’t seem as though there was enough of anything for it to cut. The herbs ended up being very large chunks. I don’t really know how I would change this, but I definitely will.

Overall, this recipe was phenomenal. It satisfied my need to have pasta and was fresh and healthy. I was surprised at how quick and easy this was in general. I would have to give this recipe a 9.5 out of 10. Only taking points off because I feel like it could have had a little more flavor. If you would like to make this recipe follow this link read the recipe below.

IMG_2297IMG_2296

Original recipe by Manuela Zangara

Ingredients for 4 persons:

For the sauce:
6-7 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp of tomato purée
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste

For the blended herbs:
1.5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp of basil
1.5 tbsp parsley

For the pistachio pesto:
1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 small clove of garlic
3 tbsp of unsalted pistachios

For the crunchy zucchini:
1 big zucchini, cut into thin sticks
A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

360 gms of home-made busiati (or strozzapreti or fusilli)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano thinly grated to serve

Start by making busiati.  You can follow this step by step tutorial.

To make the crunchy zucchini:
Cut the zucchini into thin sticks and put it on a baking dish layered with baking paper.  Drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil and broil in a very hot oven for a few minutes, until golden and crisp.  Keep aside.

To make the sauce:
Crush the garlic and put it in a frying pan with 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil.  Let it fry on a low fire for a minute.  Then add the halved cherry tomatoes, the tomato purée, a pinch of salt and 3 tbsp of water.  Let the sauce cook for 5 minutes on a slow fire.  Then put the fire off and keep it aside.

To make the blended herbs:
Blend the basil and parsley leaves together with the 1.5 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and keep it aside.

To make the pistachio pesto:
Crush the pistachios with the garlic clove in a mortar and pestle.  Add the extra virgin olive oil and keep it aside.

Cook the busiati following the steps on How to cook pasta “al dente” in the Techniques page of this site, but drain it 1 minute before it is fully cooked as it will finish cooking together with the sauce.  Before draining the pasta, put 2 tbsp of the pasta water in the tomato sauce.  Put the drained pasta in the frying pan with the tomato sauce and add 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil.  Mix well.

Vegetarian Pozole de Frijol (Bean, Hominy, and Chili Soup)

My family is very into participating in our religion, last week began what we call the Lenten season in the Catholic faith. As part of the Lenten season, we are supposed to abstain from eating meat on Fridays. Being the family vegetarian and now the chef of the house, I was given the assignment of making dinner every Friday for the next six weeks. I could not be happier about this. This week I made a Latina soup that originated in Mexico. I did this because my family tradition was eating out at a local Mexican restaurant every Friday but we decided against doing that. I brought the authentic Mexican taste to them with this recipe.

I hadn’t ever made soup by myself before this recipe so I was very excited about this endeavor. This recipe, surprise, called for onions but I was not about to let the waterworks flow this week. I took a pair of lab goggles and snapped them on my face and started chopping away. I used a Spanish onion in this recipe and it had great flavor, I would recommend using this type of onion in this recipe rather than a plain yellow onion. One part of this recipe that I was very on edge about was using hominy. I, at least to my knowledge, had never used this ingredient before. I was unsure of how it was going to taste or even the texture it had, but I was going to stick with the recipe and I threw it all in the pot.

This recipe had so many layers of flavor that I haven’t found in many of my other dishes. The chili that was put in the soup didn’t hit you with a sudden wave of heat, it was more of a slow burn that could warm you up on a snowy day. The hominy that I was worried about added such a great balance of texture to the soup. It didn’t feel like I was just drinking a sauce. I would give this recipe a 10/10 because it had such an array of flavor and texture. I also liked this recipe because it cost under $15 which is really good since it made enough soup for a large family. Everyone that tried this dish, including my boyfriend, absolutely loved it on the first bite. I strongly recommend this recipe to anyone looking to add a splash of spicy in their life.IMG_2259[1]

INGREDIENTS
2(or more) dried chilis de Arbol, ancho, or guajillo to suit your preference
2 tablespoons oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 can(15 ounces) diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon dried oregano
6 cups mild vegetable broth
1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans (15 ounces each) hominy, drained and rinsed
*juice of 2 limes
DIRECTIONS
Soak the chilis in a bit of boiling water for 20 minutes or so, then puree in a mini food processor.
In a large soup pot, saute the onion and garlic in the oil for 2 minutes over medium heat.
Add the tomatoes, 2 teaspoons of salt, the oregano, and 6 cups of vegetable broth or water and bring to a simmer.
Add the pinto beans and hominy and bring back to a simmer. Allow to simmer for ten minutes.
Add the pureed chilis, lime juice, stir, then add salt and more lime juice or more of the tomatoes as needed to produce a piquant broth. (You might like to add the chilis a little at a time and taste to make sure you aren’t exceeding your heat preference. You can always serve the remainder of the chili sauce on the side).
Serve it forth, with a good selection of garnishes.

Kaes-Spaetzle

If you are unaware of where this recipe originated just by trying to say the name, rest easy knowing that it is a German dish. My family has a lot of roots tying us back to Germany. In fact, my father was born in Germany on an American army base in 1974. Due to this I have always had an interest in Germany and learning various things about it. In turn, I thought there would be no better way to learn about a country than by making an authentic meal. It was decided, I would embark on a voyage to my German roots.

The preparation for this dish was fairly easy compared to some of my other dishes. However, I seem to continue to fall into the trap of picking recipes that have a lot of onions in them. This recipe was no exception, considering it had called for 2 whole onions, not only did I feel like crying, I was literally crying. Now being the smart person that I am, I put all of the onion in a small saute pan and expected them to brown. They will not, I repeat, they will not brown in that size of pan. Moving on to the dough, it was really easy to prepare. I would say I finished it in about 2 minutes. The only hard part that I faced was actually making the spaetzle. This is because I don’t actually own a spaetzle maker, if that is the case, don’t worry. What I did to solve this problem is, I took a colander and shoved the dough through the holes and the end product turned out just as good.

In the end, I feel like this was one of the easier recipes I’ve made but also one of the more bland recipes. While I am aware that this could be because of my doing, I would like to blame it on the fact that this recipe didn’t really have anything to give it the flavor I wanted. Next time I make this recipe I will most likely add spices of my liking to the onions while they are cooking so there is a wider range of flavor. Overall I would give this recipe a 7/10 because it didn’t have a crunch factor that I like nor did it have much flavor.

img_2248

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, halved and sliced
  • 3 cups shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine eggs, flour, salt, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1/2 cup water. Mix until smooth, then let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat 1/4 cup oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onion slices until golden brown; set aside. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Place 1/3 of the dough into a spaetzle maker or coarse sieve or collander with holes about 4 millimeters in diameter. Let dough drop into boiling water. Boil until spaetzle rises to the top, then transfer to a 9 inch casserole dish with a slotted spoon. Cover with 1/3 of the cheese. Repeat layers with remaining spaetzle and cheese. Spoon fried onions over top.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until cheese is thoroughly melted. Before serving, sprinkle with 1 or 2 tablespoons vinegar, and sprinkle with chopped parsley.