Recipe - Bunny Chow

NRI, Chef Atul Kocchar's signature restaurant serves traditional Indian dishes with a twist that has got us hooked! So much so that, we wanted to share a signature recipe with our readers of an eclectic item on the menu. Bunny Chow, a popular street food meal from Durban, a city with highest Indian population outside of India is a great recipe to try at home. The dish is also called a “Bunny” and can be touted as the all original take away. During the years of the British Rule in India, several Indians were taken to various other colonies across the world to work on plantations and complete other laborious tasks. In many such places, especially South Africa racial discrimination was extremely high and coloured races were not allowed to use cutlery or even plates. The origin of the Bunny Chow has many stories but the most popular one stems from this. The Bunny Chow is a hollowed out bread loaf that is filled with a spicy curry.  It can be used as a takeaway and the bread soaks the gravy and is edible and the entire dish can be conveniently eaten by hand without much ceremony. This was extremely convenient for people working on the plantations.

The nomenclature of the dish is said to have been derived from the enterprising Indian “Bania” community who had gone to South Africa in search of work and fortune. The chow could be reminiscent of the Chinese settlers also prevalent during the time.

So here is a recipe for Bunny Chow from Sous Chef Siddharth Kalyanaraman (NRI - Not Really Indian, BKC, Mumbai).

Note: The recipe makes two Bunnys

  • 1 small Loaf of Bread
  • 300 g Lamb/ Chicken
  • 45ml Oil
  • 3 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 4-5 Cloves
  • 5 Bay leaves
  • 3-4 Green Cardamom Pods
  • 1 Large Potato
  • 2 Large Red Onions, Chopped
  • 5-6 Medium Sized Tomatoes, Chopped
  • 2 Tablespoon Piri Piri Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Sweet Paprika Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Red Chilli Powder
  • 2 Green Chillies
  • 8-10 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 Tablespoon Ginger Chopped
  • 1 Teaspoon Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Cumin seeds
  • 2 Sprigs Curry Leaves
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Coriander Powder
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Roasted Cumin Powder
  • 1 Sprig Coriander Leaves
  • 1 Teaspoon Sugar
  • Salt to taste

  1. Cut the meat into boneless cubes and marinate in salt, red chili powder, turmeric, ginger and garlic.
  2. Put the oil in a pan. Boil the potatoes, cut them in cubes and fry them.
  3. Once the oil is hot add and temper the whole spices till the cardamom puffs.
  4. Add in the cumin seeds and cook for about 5 seconds.
  5. Add in the garlic and ginger and cook till slightly brown. Add in slit green chillies.
  6. Add in the onions and cook to brown. Add a little salt to the onions to cook them better and more uniformly.
  7. Once the onions are browned add in all the powdered spices except for the paprika and the piri piri.
  8. Add in the meat and cook. At this stage need to keep stirring till the meat starts giving out some water.
  9. Then add in the tomatoes and cook till the tomatoes are completely cook.
  10. Add the piri piri, paprika and the curry leaves and add enough water for the meat to cook.
  11. Cook till the meat is completely cooked, then add in the potatoes and coriander.

To Assemble:
  1. Cut the loaf in half and hollow out the bread. Keep the part of the bread removed.
  2. Fill the bread with hot curry and serve along with the part hollowed out from the loaf.
  3. Traditionally the Bunny Chow is served with Carrot Slaw, but some sliced and pickled onions or some cabbage slaw will work the same.
  4. At NRI we do our Bunny Chow with some cabbage slaw and a plantain chip.


  1. Thanks for such an amazing and detailed review of the restaurant. I think I now know where I will dine next when I visit Mumbai.


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