Mini bunny chows

Mini bunny chows

V is for Vegan

Bunny chow is similar to the trenchers that medieval Britons used. Prior to the generalised use of cutlery, trenchers were carriers for food and made from stale hollowed-out loaves. The advantage being that once a sauce had softened the bread, you could supplement the dish by tearing off and eating some of the trencher.

Bunny chow is a South African street food, specifically from Durban, and part of its ‘rainbow cuisine’, with influences from indigenous tribal cooking, Malaysian, British, Afrikaans/Dutch and Indian food. It is filled with a curry. I served mini bunny chows at my South African supper club as a starter. It’s a bit like a curry sandwich, very moreish and a great lunch option.

The piece of bread that remains from the hollowing-out process is referred to as a ‘virgin’. Most bunnies are made from the ends of a quarter loaf of bread, but ones made from the middle of the loaf, without a crust at the bottom, are called ‘funny bunnies’.


Quantity Ingredient
5 peaches, not too ripe
coconut or vegetable oil, for frying
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
5 green cardamom pods
2 cloves, ground
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
thumb of ginger, peeled and very finely chopped
1 red chilli, finely sliced
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
100g creamed coconut
350ml water, hot
10 small red potatoes, skin on, quartered
3 tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
50g sultanas
4-6 crusty rolls
handful coriander leaves
1 lime, cut into quarters
sea salt


  1. Cut a cross in the top of each peach and blanch in boiling water for 1 minute. Peel, remove the stone and cut into small dice.
  2. Heat some oil in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. First sling in the mustard seeds and wait until you hear them pop. Add the cinnamon, bay, cardamom, cloves, cumin and coriander. The secret to a good curry is a mix of whole and ground spices. Here you are tempering them, i.e. frying them a bit before you add the rest of the ingredients, but only slightly, as you don’t want everything to taste bitter.
  3. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, chilli and turmeric. Then dissolve the creamed coconut in the hot water and stir into the curry. Add the potatoes and cook for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and red pepper, then the peaches and sultanas, with salt to taste.
  4. Cut the tops off the rolls and gut them, pulling out the centres. Scoop the curry inside, scatter over coriander leaves and squeeze lime juice over. Put the cap back on. Eat while looking outside the window at the rain and think of Africa. Also very good the next day!
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