A Famous Durban Chow: Beans Bunny


1  Durban Bunny Chow  history
2 Recipe for Beans Bunny Chow

2.1 Ingredients
2.2 Method

Durban Bunny Chow history

The arrival of Indians in Durban in 1860s saw a whole new system of adaptations and innovative ways of living. Indians found new ways to survive without losing the old. The bunny chow was one of those inventions in the early 1900s that was made by placing curry in the hollow centre of bread. The word chow is an Indian slang term for food. The history of bunny chows goes back in time when blacks were not allowed to sit in any restaurants during the apartheid regime. In those years most of the restaurants in Durban were owned by Indian traders.

To cater for black customers, curry was served in a section of bread scooped out in the centre making it a quick and easy take-away. The other explanation regarding the origins of bunny chow is that it was invented by the Bhanyias. The Bhanyias were an ethnic group from India who set up their shops in Grey Street in the centre of Durban. The term bunny chow came from the association of the dish with Bhanyias, with local people using their own version of the word Bunny for Bhanyia, so literally the term ‘bunny chow’ means Bhanyia food.

The first shop that served bunny chow was G.C. Kapitan Vegetarian Restaurant in Grey Street and the beans was the first curry served in that bunny. Regardless of which explanation is correct, the bunny chow is an important part of Indian culture and is still largely enjoyed as part of a Durban in thing. Bunny chows can be found in almost any Indian oriental restaurant and take-away in Durban. To make a bunny chow is simple; you can make a bunny chow using any cooked curry.

Recipe for Beans Bunny Chow

Durban Bean Bunny

250g sugar beans
4 potatoes
1 tablespoon oil
2 tablespoons chilli powder
1 teaspoon dhanyia powder
1 teaspoon jeera powder (coriander powder)
1teaspoon ginger garlic powder
2 cinnamon sticks
1 onion
1 tomato
1 teaspoon salt


Soak the beans overnight.Boil the beans till soft and leave aside to drain.Heat the oil in another pot. Fry the cinnamon sticks, the onions and tomato and stir in the heated pot.Then add the chilli powder and ginger garlic to the mixture.Add the spices and potatoes and allow braising till the potatoes is half cooked.Add the beans and stir till the gravy thickens, adding a pinch of salt.Take a half loaf of unsliced bread and scoop out the centre, fill the hollow with cooked curry and cover with the scooped part.

Written by Yoveshnie Pillay

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