A Durban mutton curry bunny chow

A bunny from Durbs comes under the heading of extreme handheld food for two reasons. One is the size and the other is the veld-fire flavour of living chilli.

Mutton Curry bunny chow
Photo: Dylan Swart

 o make two half-bunnies with mutton curry, you will need:

• 1 loaf white bread • 500g mutton • 4 cloves of garlic
• 50mm fresh root ginger • 2 onions • 3 tomatoes
• Fresh coriander greens (dhania sprigs)
• 1 teaspoon Osman’s garam masala
• 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds (jeera)
• 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds (dhania)
• 1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds
• 2 whole chillies
• ½ teaspoon tumeric powder
• 2 sprigs of curry leaves
• 2 potatoes
• Sunflower or canola oil

Firstly, peel and thinly slice the onions. After that, crush, peel and mince the garlic, and then peel and grate the fresh ginger.
Treat the raw chillies with respect: if you like the blast-furnace effect, leave the pips in. If, on the other hand, your taste is for a mild conflagration in the mouth, discard them. And if you do, take care not to touch sensitive parts of your body with chilli-infused fingers afterwards. Once you have removed the pips, chop the chillies.

Drop the whole tomatoes into water just off the boil and remove them after 90 seconds to slide off the skins. Coarsely chop the remainder, and then peel and roughly dice the potatoes. Place a dry frying pan on the hob and add the whole, dry spices. Bring up the heat and toast the spices. This takes only a little time yet adds considerably to the flavour. Remove, cool and grind to a powder.

Now for the mutton. Ideally, you have bought bone-free meat. If not, avoid stewing mutton since this can be top-heavy with fat. Braai chops filleted do a fine job. Cut the mutton into generous, bite-sized chunks. Pour a tablespoon or two of sunflower or canola oil into the pan and bring this up to medium heat. Brown the meat for a few minutes, then move and reserve the chunks under cover. Add the sliced onions, grated ginger, chopped chillies and minced garlic.

Let these sweat until the onions are soft and translucent. Pour in the spices, including the tumeric and garam masala, and mix well. Return the browned meat, sprigs of curry leaf, chopped tomatoes and cubed potatoes. Add just enough water to cover the solids in the pan and let this mass simmer away for 40 minutes or so. Inspect from time to time and add a little water if necessary.

When ready, season to taste with salt and pepper. Chop raw onion, tomato and, if you feel the need for additional heat, a green chilli or two to make a simple sambal. Serving time. Cut the fresh loaf of white bread into two halves, with the end crusts intact. This is vital for structural reasons to retain the integrity of the half-loaves. Hollow out the half-loaves and fill them with mutton curry. Add a few teaspoons of sambals to the top, with a couple of sprigs of living dhania. Eat with your hands, using the interior of the loaf to assist with the mopping up.

Enjoy, bru. It’s cool, except for the chilli pips.