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The Hirshon South African Durban 'Bunny Chow' Lamb Curry

The Hirshon South African Durban ‘Bunny Chow’ Lamb Curry

  • Author: The Generalissimo


Units Scale
  • The Hirshon Durban Masala:
  • 6 Tbsp. Kashmiri chili powder (get the reddest you can find)
  • 1 Tbsp. Piri Piri chili powder (cayenne cayenne is a poor but acceptable substitute)
  • 1 Tbsp. coriander seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cardamom seeds (if you can’t buy the seeds, buy green cardamom pods and shell them)
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Ceylon cinnamon sticks, broken into small pieces
  • 1/2 Tbsp. fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 Tbsp. fennel seeds
  • 1/2 Tbsp. ground ginger
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Several large curry leaves (to taste)
  • ***
  • For the curry:
  • 2 1/4 lb. leg of lamb or shoulder, trimmed and cubed (TFD prefers leg)
  • 5 Tbsp. neutral oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 Ceylon cinnamon sticks (each 4″ long)
  • 3 heaping Tbsp. Durban masala blend
  • 3 heaping tsp. medium-strength curry powder (TFD strongly prefers Sun brand Madras curry powder)
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • Scant 1/8 tsp. liquid hickory smoke (very optional TFD addition – omit for classic curry, but I truly love it in here)
  • 1 tsp. crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp. ginger paste
  • at least 4 whole curry leaves (use up to a whole sprig if you really enjoy its flavor – I do!)
  • 1 tsp. whole fennel seeds
  • 2 cups homemade or low-salt store-bought beef stock (divided in 1/2) (TFD change, original called for water)
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 medium tomato, skinned and diced or grated
  • Cilantro leaves, for garnishing


  1. Make the Durban masala by gently heating the whole spices in a dry skillet until fragrant, then grind to a powder in a clean spice grinder. Combine with powdered spices – stored in an air-tight container, it will last for a few months.
  2. Wash the cubed meat and drain the water.
  3. Heat oil and add diced onion, cloves and cinnamon sticks.
  4. Add the Durban masala and Madras curry powder, stir and add meat to the pot.
  5. Add salt, garlic and ginger, curry leaves and fennel seeds. Stir all ingredients together.
  6. Allow to cook on a high heat for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, add one cup of the beef stock and continue cooking for 30 minutes.
  7. As excess water and juices evaporate, add the additional cup of stock, followed by the potato and tomato.
  8. After 30 minutes, add the liquid smoke and simmer on high heat for 5 minutes. Taste – feel free to adjust the spice level to your preference with more Durban masala and/or Madras curry powder.
  9. Garnish with cilantro and serve with rice, roti and carrot salad.
  10. Cutting out the inside of the quarter loaf is pretty much self explanatory, but it is putting in the curry which is the art. The trick is to take a ladle and first pour gravy down the sides of the inside of the loaf, taking care to use the ideal ratio of gravy and oil to your taste so as to soak the bread to your preferred consistency. Then you can add a smallish piece of potato and start spooning your curry into the bunny. Once you have filled your bunny, then spoon some gravy over the top and down the sides of the bunny. Use your hands to eat, as the Durbanites do!

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