The Cape of Good Hope is a rocky headland on the southwestern extremity of South Africa’s Atlantic coast near Cape Town. Centuries of seafarers have regarded it as one of the most dangerous stretches of coastline in the world.
The Cape of Good Hope’s name dates from the days of exploration in the 15th century, when European powers such as Spain and Portugal sent explorers into uncharted places in search of wealth. The first European to see the Cape was Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias, who was searching for the southern limits of the African continent. According to some historical accounts, Dias named the place the “Cape of Storms,” but later changed it to “Cape of Good Hope” because of the trading opportunities it brought – or from the sense of optimism terrified sailors felt after navigating this treacherous stretch without drowning.
Now that we have the history out of the way, let’s talk about South African food, specifically bunny chow, a popular curried lamb sandwich. Curry in a sandwich? Yes! It was created during apartheid for Indian laborers to worked the sugarcane plantations. Traditional Indian bread, roti, couldn’t hold the filling without falling apart, so creative laborers began scooping the curry into hollowed-out loaves of bread, using them as take-out containers.
Bunny Chow – Curried Lamb in Hollowed-out Bread Loaf
- Large Dutch oven with cover or large heavy pot
- 2 medium Onion, diced
- 4 cloves Garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1 tbsp Ginger, peeled and minced
- 2 lb ½-inch cubes of beef or lamb shoulder
- ¼ cup Vegetable oil
- 28 oz Canned diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 medium Russet potato, peeled and diced
- 1 medium Sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 14 oz Can chickpeas, drained (or 1½ cup diced butternut squash)
- ⅓ cup Fresh coriander,chopped
- 1 medium Hot chili, chopped
- 1 Cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp Fennel seeds, lightly crushed
- 1 Bay leaf
- 1 tsp Turmeric
- 5 Cardamom pods, lightly crushed (or 1 tbsp ground)
- 2 tbsp Garam masala (or curry powder)
- ¼ cup Malt vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 3 medium Unsliced white bread loafs, halved and hollowed out
- Prepare Curry – Heat oil in pot over medium heat. Add cinnamon, cardamon, bay leaf, and fennel seeds. Heat until it starts to give off an aroma. Stir in onion, turmeric, ginger, chili, and garlic. Cook for 3-4 minutes, then add garam masala or curry powder, dry spices, vinegar, and sugar. Mix well.
- Cook Stew – Add pork and salt and mix everything together. Stir in a ¼ cup water, cover and cook 1 hour at medium-low heat. Add in diced potatoes, tomatoes, and chickpeas. Cook another 45 minutes. Check from time to time to be sure it's not to dry. If so, add a little more water. Remove from heat and stir in chopped coriander.
- Serve the Bunny – Slice mini-bread loaves in half across the middle. Hollow each out keeping the bottom and sides fairly thick. Scoop curry into each and put on a large platter, and serve.