First braai of the year. Maybe it's spring.

Maybe It’s Spring – First Braai of the Year

A bit of English sun and it’s time for a braai. Who knows whether it’s winter or spring?
Who cares?

A good selection of meat on the fire with some homemade boerewors in the middle.

And, of course, we’re wearing shorts and T-shirts, with a beer in hand.

 

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Bunny Chow - Home made in the UK.

Bunny Chow – A Durban Speciality

 

One thing that has to be a part of any trip to Durban is a Bunny Chow. But Durban is far away, so I had to make one at home. There is something really delicious and comforting about a serving of good curry in a hollowed out loaf of bread with the gravy soaked into the bread! That’s my latest attempt above. A lamb curry garnished simply with coriander leaves. A bunny chow is, of course, eaten with fingers, using the bread.

 

History of the Bunny Chow

 

The bunny chow appears to have originated in Durban in the 1940’s, though there are different stories about how it came to be. One way or another Durban, and for that matter a good part of kwaZulu-Natal, has a large population of Indian descent. Durban is known for its curries.

 

The bunny chow is basically a curry in bread, with the bread used as a bowl. Originally the curry would have been vegetable, but over the years mutton and chicken have become common. I have also eaten beef curry in a bunny. And, of course, it is unusual to find a mutton curry in the UK, so lamb it is!

 

Typically it comes, in Durban, as a “full” (i.e. 800g loaf), “half” (half an 800g loaf) or a “quarter” (typically half a small, or 400g loaf). The middle of the bread is carefully removed as a single piece, leaving the crust as the bowl. The crust is filled with curry, and the bread removed from the middle used to top the filling. Sambals can be added as necessary.

 

Bunny Chow in the UK and Making Your Own

 

There are a number of places in the UK advertising bunny chow in various forms, though I have only once sampled a local version, from a South African kiosk in Camden Market in London. I have heard that it is popular in some places, with pubs offering it on one day a week, then two, then all week.

 

If you are making your own bunny chow, there are two parts to remember:

 

  1. Bread which can form a bowl;
  2. Curry which has plenty of rich gravy. It can be meat or veg.

 

Personally I prefer to make the curry to fill the bread, but you can buy the curry from your local Indian takeaway. The do look at you sideways if you don’t order rice or naan, though.

 

Simply remove the centre of the bread, fill the crust with your chosen curry, and enjoy!

 

A Google search brought up a few UK based bunny chow restaurants. Not surprising as there are a few South Africans around:

 

 

My Bunny Chow Recipe

 

I have a big family, so this is intended to feed 8 people. Curry freezes well, though we rarely have any leftovers to freeze.

 

Play with quantities and spice mix as you wish, using this as a base.

 

This recipe has been used for mutton and beef, and, with a couple of variations, chicken. In the UK i use it with lamb.

 

Ingredients

 

  • Cooking oil
  • 3 large white onions
  • 12 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • Ginger – I use about half of a ginger root from the supermarket
  • 4 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 6 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 3 or 4 chillies – depending on how hot you like it. I use 4 supermarket chillies
  • salt to taste
  • 2kg meat
  • 3 tins tomato
  • Coriander leaves
  • Bread – 4 x 400g loaves, farmhouse, split tin or small sandwich loaves

 

Method

 

Brown the onions. add the garlic and ginger and fry it all together for a minute.

 

Add the coriander, cumin, cinnamon, salt and stir it all up together.

 

Add the meat, mix it all up and mix it all up well. Let it cook for ten minutes.

 

Add the tomatoes and chillies, turn the heat down and let it simmer slowly for about an hour. It’s cooked when the meat is tender and the oil is rising to the surface.

 

Cut the loaves in half and carefully remove the bread from the centre in one piece. Fill the crusts with curry, garnish with coriander leaves, put the removed bread and top and enjoy.

 

 

 

 

Boerewors on the Braai on a UK winter's day

Boerewors on the Braai (Even in the English Winter)

 

The Saffa influence is clearly here in England. The boerewors in the picture was sourced from our local butcher in England. And good ‘wors it was too. I’m told that his first 20kg production of boerewors sold out in 2 hours, based solely on word of mouth and facebook!

In fact, the sun dared to come out on a Sunday afternoon in late January. Winter or not, we lit the fire and cooked up a sample of the sausage. Great way to spend a Sunday.

About Boerewors

Boerewors on the braaiIf you have visited South Africa, or been to a South African braai (barbecue, but no hamburger allowed ­čÖé ) you may have eaten boerewors. If not, it was almost certainly offered. It is commonly eaten in the Southern African region, largely in South Africa and Zimbabwe, and also common in Botswana and Namibia. As people have migrated from those regions they have taken their favourite recipes with them, so it is available in many parts of the world where you will find South Africans. In fact the name comes from the afrikaans “boer”(farmer) and “wors”(sausage).

Boerewors is made primarily of beef, often with pork or lamb, sometimes with a mixture of both, with a mixture of spices. Each boerewors maker has his/her own preferred mix, so it can be a challenge to find the ideal taste.

Cook boerewors on the braai for best results, but cook like any other sausage in the oven or on the stove.

#braai #braaitime #barbecue #boerewors #uk #winterbraai #braaiinwinter #englishbraai #food #foodonthefire #boereworsbraai Posted on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/Bef_1b4F75k/@hairy1travels.
Prawn starter at Bientang's Cave.

´╗┐Bientang’s Cave Hermanus

Bientang’s Cave – Whales and Seafood on the Rocks

Our visit to Bientang’s Cave was planned right at the start of our trip. A getting together of friends in Hermanus over an extended lunch in a great spot. It was everything we had wished for and more.

What and Where is Bientang’s Cave

Bientang’s Cave is a restaurant situated on the rocks on the Hermanus seafront in an old strandloper cave. Tables are positioned on the rocks, giving the visitor a great view of Walkers Bay With luck, at the right time of year, you’ll see whales.

Our Meal

We had planned to sit out on the rocks, as close to the sea as possible. As the wheather wasn’t perfect we moved back to the main body of the restaurant. That proved to be a good plan, as we did see a few people getting their feet wet at tables on the rocks.

The menu offers a range of dishes including steak and burgers, but is very clearly a seafood menu. With prawns at the top of our choices, a good spread of seafood potjie, seafood curry and seafood platters was eaten. Of course these are “proper” prawns, much bigger than anything you’ll see outside of top restaurants in the UK.

For me an excellent snoek pate was followed by one of my favourites, a seafood potjie, though it was difficult choice between potjie and Malay seafood curry.

There was no rushing this meal – it took all afternoon, with a fair amount of South African wine consumed as well.

And the Whales

A couple of whales were seen nearby, with some activity out in the bay.

The Cost

With most of our group having three courses it worked out to under ZAR450 a head. Now I am not sure how that works out for South Africans, but for the UK tourist that’s around ┬ú26 each. Excellent value.

If you are visiting this part of the world, a meal at Bientang’s cave is a must. Great food at good value.

And Again

As a footnote, on our last full day in Hermanus, after spending the day just sitting around and seeing the sights, we opted for a late lunch at Bientang’s Cave. Just as good as the first time around!

Braai time. Steak, chicken and salad perfectly grilled over the coals (we ate the sausages first).

Braai Time – First Braai of 2016

Braai time. First of 2016.

Braai Time

Braai time. A Sunny spring Sunday in England, with the temperature up around 25C and the family around. It’s time for a braai.

If you weren’t born in southern Africa you would call it a barbecue or bbq. But – they are not the same.

Having a braai, or braaivleis, in southern Africa would be cooking steak, boerewors, sausage and, maybe, chops, be they lamb or pork. Some form of maize meal accompaniment will be cooked in a pot – pap in South Africa or sadza in Zimbabwe. A braai is normally accompanied by copious quantities of beer, and is often held by the pool, or the beach resulting in more than a few high jinks in the water!

Come braai time, the men will get on with the serious and thirsty work of the fire (a gas braai is a shortcut only for emergencies!), while ladies get on with the salad, not without a drop of wine.

But, hey, this is England and boerewors and sadza need a little planning, so sausages, steak and chicken will just have to do the job.

Who cares, there is little to beat a gathering around the fire in the sun with some well cooked meat.

Just don’t put hamburger on my braai!

A few braai resources:

Read more about the braai.

CADAC gas braai equipment is popular – available on Amazon along with some useful charcoal braai kit.