The last time I protested something. Was in high school. Junior year.

We held a sit-in because we felt our rights as students were being infringed upon (Rights? Huh? Yes, we were brimming with entitlement.) Although, I have to say, it was more fun than anything else. We sat around in an unruly mass. On the 2nd floor. Chanting.

Those were the days.

Then, of course, there was the walk-out the year before. Most people walked out to protest the war in Iraq (we were down the block from City Hall and there was a HUGE rally going on that day…so maybe what we were really protesting was our principal not giving us the day off to protest. Hmmm.)

Or, you know. Maybe some of us didn’t attend the rally at all. And walked out so we could exercise our right to go sit in the park all day. And. Think about why we disagreed with the war in Iraq. More of a vow of silence mental protest kind of thing. What. If it’s good enough for Gandhi…

Anyway. The point being that I’m not just some crazy activist who jumps onto whatever bandwagon comes along next.

However. Something has happened that has made me…how do you say it in French? Pissed.

And that something. Is KFC’s Buckets for the Cure.

In case you live in a bubble, don’t watch television, or have moved to the Virgin Islands where there are no KFC’s. The deal is that KFC has teamed up with the Susan G. Komen Foundation (a group that raises money for breast cancer research) such that for every bucket of chicken that is bought, 50 cents will be donated to the foundation.

Now. I know you’re saying. Uh. Joanne. That’s a good thing.

Maybe. Or maybe they are just further fueling the problem.
You see. There’s a well-known link between obesity and cancer. There’s also a well known link between eating 1725 calorie buckets of fried chicken and obesity. Especially when that fried chicken contains copious amounts of known carcinogens. Like MSG. (Mmhmmm. Bet you thought MSG was found only in Chinese food? Think again.)

So by eating this fried chicken. Under the guise of curing cancer. You are actually putting yourself at greater risk for becoming obese. Which is then putting you at greater risk for getting cancer.

Interesting. And infuriating.

And thus. I think a better solution to this whole cancer. Thing. Would be to not eat KFC in the first place (thus taking pre-emptive steps to protect yourself). And then, donate the full amount that you would have spent on the bucket of chicken (not just the measly 50 cents that they would have donated) to the Susan G. Komen foundation.

This is what I like to call the double whammy approach. You’re hitting cancer from both sides. Gotta love that.

(NOTE – I understand that there are a lot of factors that go into how cancer develops. People can be obese and never get cancer. Or be really thin and health conscious and get it at the age of 20. But why put yourself at a higher risk, you know? Also. I’m not saying never eat fast food ever again. Everything in moderation. And if you want to eat a big mac once in a while. Eat a big mac. No judgment. But to justify eating a bucket of fried chicken every day because it’s helping to cure cancer. Just seems ridiculous to me.)
So what does this have to do with this dish? Well Bunny Chow, as it is called in South Africa, is a street food. It is served out of carts and is, for all intents and purposes, their version of a Whopper Value Meal. However. Unlike the Whopper Value Meal. It has nutritional value.

Beans (fiber! lean protein!). Herbs and spices (antioxidants!). Tomatoes (lycopene!). Onions (antioxidants! antimicrobials! hypotensives!). Real ingredients.

Not only that. But it tastes good. And is served in a bread bowl (homemade in this case! The HBinFive hearty whole wheat sandwich bread to be precise!).

Fast food that even I can get behind.

Needless to say, there will be even more South African food recipes in my culinary future.

This is my submission to Meeta’s Monthly Mingle, the theme of which is South Africa. It is also my submission to the next HBinFive bread braid, hosted at Big Black Dog on May 15th. And it has been yeastspotted. And I am linking this to Meatless Mondays!

Bunny Chow or South African Curry in a Bread Bowl
Serves 4, adapted from Cook Sister!

1/2 lb dried cranberry beans or the equivalent of canned beans (2 cans maybe?)
1 medium onion
4 large tomatoes
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 curry leaves
1 tsp cinnamon
4 green cardamom pods, crushed
1 1/2 tsp minced ginger
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
4 tsp Durban masala or red curry powder (I used some Madras medium hot curry powder)
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp garam masala
1-ish lb potatoes, cubed (I used fingerlings from the Union Square greenmarket!)
crusty loaf of bread (or 2)

1. Soak the beans overnight. Cook as directed, either via the stovetop, crockpot, or pressure cooker methods.

2. Slice the onion and dice the tomato.

3. Heat the oil. Add the cinnamon, onion, cardamom pods, and curry leaves. Fry the until the onion is light golden brown, about 5 minutes.

4. Add the curry powder, turmeric, ginger, garlic, and tomato. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture resembles a paste.

5. Add the beans and potatoes, along with 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, covered, 20 minutes. Add the garam masala. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for another 10 minutes.

6. Take a fresh loaf of bread. Halve or quarter the loaf, depending on how big it is (probably better to use small loaves since you need an end for this and can’t really use a middle piece). Scoop out the insides, leaving the crust to form a bowl.

7. Spoon the curry into the emptied out loaf and serve.

NOTE – for the WW bread, I made a half recipe and substituted 1 cup buttermilk for 1 cup of the water. I really liked the sweet-ish tang it gave to the loaf.
The Regional Recipes round-up has been posted! And our next country will be…VIETNAM! So please check out the announcement post for ideas on where to find recipes.

You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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83 Responses to Bunny Chow a.k.a South African Curry in a Bread Bowl

  1. Lovely recipe!…i love the way you serve it!

  2. Katie says:

    I had the same reaction when I heard about the KFC buckets. I hope that it’s not making people choose KFC over a home-cooked meal, but I don’t doubt that people who already eat fast food every day are using it to justify that choice.

    This curry sounds delicious. The other day I made a list of everything in my pantry that I need to eat before I move this summer, and I just happen to have about 1/2 cup of cranberry beans. I think that means I have to make this!

  3. Lovely way to serve the curry, it seems really good,

  4. Bunny Chow is my faaav one i like chicken curry in bunny, taste good…well presented n cooked the pulses in healthy way..

  5. Katerina says:

    I totally understand what you mean. My father 9 years ago was diagnosed with cancer in his large intestine. he had a surgury in which they cut part of his large intestine. The surgeon said to me and my brother that after the age of 40 we should start doing a colonoscopy since we have a history. From then on I have become very sensitive when it comes to junk food. This dish looks very colorful and lovely.

  6. Debbi Smith says:

    I totally thought the same thing when I saw that KFC ad! I just couldn’t put it as well as you did above. I seriously thought it was a joke at first.

    Your meal above looks fantastic! I SO love beans! I love drooling over your recipes, thanks!

  7. Rachel says:

    Right on, Joanne! Fatty fast food funding is not a great way to support breast cancer research and I would think the Susan G. Komen Foundation would be hip to that, but your criticism is spot on. Love the Bunny Chow. The perfect rebuttal for that ridiculous fundraising move.

  8. Angie says:

    I totally get you Joanne, and more than agree. I am very, very upset about the state of our culture and its addiction to tasty MSG. There’s really no real way to compete in prepared foods without loads of it. Its just sad, things will never change until people choose to change. You, doctors, just have to learn how to create treatment plans for people so that they can live in a odd balance between health being incapable of daily activity.

  9. Kelsey says:

    i totally almost sh#T a brick when i read about the KFC thing. i hate hate hate kfc.. and always will. why would they do this.. why would they ruin such a beautiful cause by stamping their greasy un-humane buckets on the world. how would that help cancer.. that would cause cancer if anything.

    joanne u have no idea how much i support u on this. u are right on girl!

  10. KFC was banned from my home decades ago even though my husband still dreams of it. I can’t imagine that the Susan Komen Foundation would have even accepted their offer! What were they thinking???

    That looks like a wonderful dish – I do love beans!

  11. Kim says:

    Thank you for sharing how you feel about the whole KFC thing. I saw it on a commercial over the weekend and found it to be totally ridiculous too. I’m all for making fried chicken on occasion, but not under the guise of helping breast cancer. That is definitely a weird
    Love that you added buttermilk to your bread dough. I think sometimes the buttermilk makes the dough more tender, which is a great idea for the whole wheat breads because they tend to be a bit more dense. You know that I am loving that bunny chow with all those beans. My bean cravings are becoming such that I need to eat them every day.

  12. Ashlee says:

    wonderful post. i completely agree. also, KFC’s chicken skeeves me out because of their unethical practices. love the new layout!

  13. Bob says:

    I love bread bowls and I’ve never had a SAfrican curry. This is something I have to try!

  14. PJ says:

    yumm yummy.. african curry with bread bowl looks so delicious and mouth-watering! I agree with you that the deal is infuriating.. more than KFC though I question the wisdom of decision from Komen foundation… honestly for a whole bucket of fried chicken and the calories and fats, 50cents to the foundation is overall gonna do more bad than good.

  15. This curry looks yummy and sounds fantastic served in a bread bowl!

  16. Tia says:

    there’s just something about bread bowls that’s so comforting and inviting.

  17. The Bunny Chow- curry in a bread bowl looks delicious!

    I feel the same way about school fundraising….. I’d rather give the school PTA $20 than have my kid try to sell 10 magazines just so they (PTA) can make $5.

  18. this looks great! i should try making this! =D

  19. Bridgett says:

    What a great curry. I love how it is presented.

  20. I am always looking for new vegetarian dishes to try that do not include tofu. Thanks for sharing this looks delicious.

  21. You make good food and an excellent point. I would love one of those bunny “Things”.

    Being kosher has great benefits. We can’t eat in KFC or any of the other fast food places.

  22. Gulmohar says:

    Saw the bread bowls for the first time only after coming to US πŸ™‚ this looks so very tempting !

  23. Catherine says:

    Wow, wonderful post Joanne! And that sweet potato flan from your last post looks scrumptious!

  24. Beautiful dish. Look forward to following you here. Cheers!

  25. Julie says:

    i must be living in one of those far off places because i honestly had NO idea that kfsizzle and susan g were buds. that’s pretty ridic. and i’m kind of really mad i know now.

    ummm hello bread basket of gloriousness

  26. Mary says:

    You made some excellent points today. BUT…I think the foundation is more to blame than KFC. They knew about the links and chose to look the other way. Before I climb my high horse let me say I love the recipe you shared with us today. Can’t wait to give it a try. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings…Mary

  27. Mo Diva says:

    i totally agree about the KFC BS. And i stand behind you in boycotting.

    by the way bunny chow sounds yum…and even more yum that no bunnies were harmed in the making of this dish. πŸ™‚
    and yes, if you invite me over i will come running with a spoon.

  28. This looks good! I love bean dishes. Beans are so underappreciated, don’t you think? πŸ˜‰

  29. I love the way you write.
    And I love your new-ish blog layout.
    Also, this looks really good.

  30. msmeanie says:

    Wow. OK, I didn’t know about the bucket-a-thon. That’s crazy! Anyway, these beans sound fantastic. I love me some healthy spicy street food anytime!

  31. Amy says:

    Wait. The Virgin Islands don’t have KFC’s? Like I needed another reason to go there. That’s a smart place.

    And what are these cranberry beans you speak of?? I’ve never heard of them. Must try.

  32. Faith says:

    This was such an informative read, Joanne. It always amazes me to see just how healthy “fast food” is in other countries! Bunny Chow is one fast food I would absolutely wait in line to try! πŸ˜‰

  33. Right on my sister…

    Oddly enough, my first protest was also a walk out to protest the war… 1968, after the summer of love (course, I was 11, and unless you count kissing Rhonda Lisenby, that part of the 60’s pasted me by).

    And I seem to recall my Grandfather talking about protesting in 1916… hoping to help end the first war to end all wars…

    But I digress… there is indeed a single KFC here in the Virgin Isles. It is shocking when I walk by and see the tourists sampling the local version of the same thing they eat all day. All I can say good about KFC is that their clientΓ¨le makes my ass look small.

    Seriously, I have been on this rant for awhile. For the last 10 months, I have tried my best to avoid processed foods in general and all fast foods in specific. Weight of our children has now become a national security issue.

    Keep fighting the good fight… someday people will listen…

    All I am saying…
    is give Peace (and organic ingredients) a chance.

  34. Juliana says:

    Oh Joanne, like the way you serve curry…bread bowl, very creative…looks absolutely yummie!

  35. elra says:

    Hmm, I should ask my husband if he remember this Bunny Chow (he’s South African). Looks pretty tempting Jo!

  36. Preach it, girl!! Utter lunacy to link the two of them together. πŸ™‚ Your Bunny Chow looks magnificent, though! Mmm! I’ve never had such a thing before and can’t wait to try it. πŸ™‚

  37. I heard that commercial and the SAME EXACT logic ran through my head. A bucket of chicken for breast cancer?! It sounds ridiculous. You know people aren’t buying chicken to save boobs and gain thighs.

    This looks so good, like comfort food!

    PS I made a recipe of yours for dinner. Delicious. Going to go comment on it right now.

  38. I love this hearty and delicious Bunny Chow! especially in the homemade bread bowl.

    I wouldn’t touch KFC food with a ten foot pole! I gave up fast food a few years ago. I don’t miss it one bit.

  39. You’re too smart Jo! They can’t fool ya!
    Great dish with the bread bowl by the way!

  40. Sippity Sup says:

    Bread bowl huh? very clever. GREG

  41. polwig says:

    It seems like a bad decision on the side of Susan B Komen foundation. I understand that any amount helps but they could have just put up donation boxes in line at McDonalds and that would not stir up as much anger.

    On the other hand this recipe seems delishious. I love beans and spicy stuff. Are cranberry beans widely available? I have never heard of them?

  42. i haven’t been here in ages. the blog looks fabulous. and i totally agree about corporate sponsorship–50 cents of help for countless dollars of harm.

  43. and thanks for your support.

  44. You’re a culinary genius. I wanted to make this recipe just looking at the pictures. Mmm mmm mmm. Nom nom nom. You get the point. And I also like that it is called Bunny Chow!

    I am in total and complete agreement with you about the KFC thing. I saw the commercial and had the exact same reaction. Chemicals+obesity ARE linked to cancer, so selling those things in support of cancer research strikes me as assinine.

    Have a great week! And hopefully we will hang out and have some awesome foodie explorations this summer πŸ™‚

  45. Deborah says:

    I love anything that is served in bread like that!

  46. Azita says:

    Great post, Joanne! I love this wonderful curry served in a bread bowl. Yummy!

  47. sweetlife says:

    I love this recipe, the bread looks so good.

    I just recently saw that commerical and I was “like what” it didn’t make any sense to me, why would they pair fried chicken with warm feeling of helping the fight against cancer??? The two are worlds apart.. Sorry I just interrupted my daughter..haha

  48. MaryMoh says:

    What a creative way to serve curry! I would love to try this. I can buy all those crusty rounds. Would be great for parties. Thanks for sharing.

  49. Debinhawaii says:

    This looks so healthy and delicious–love the bread bowl.
    I agree–just say no to KFC. πŸ˜‰

  50. THis looks so good and creative! I would love more gravy in the dish though.

  51. Kris says:

    This looks awesome! I love love love curry stews!

  52. Pam says:

    Your posts are so entertaining! The curry in a bread bowl is an amazing idea – it looks great.

  53. Dana says:

    I think my husband would eat gasoline if it was in a bread bowl so I know he would LOVE this. I don’t live under a rock or in the Virgin Islands but I had not heard that about KFC. It kind of makes me lose respect for the Komen people.

  54. Toni says:

    I am. SO MUCH. on board with you about the whole KFC thing. I want to go throw things at he KFC down the street right now. Instead I’ll just call them nasty names in my head. I’m really riled up about this. Which is worse for the Man because it means he’ll have to hear about it tonight over dinner.

  55. knk says:

    it looks great i dont know how it tastes

  56. delicious recipe and great advice! don’t eat at KFC-poor factory farmed chickens-and donate the money to a worthy cause πŸ™‚

  57. Andreas says:

    Edible curry bowl to save the washing up. Pure genius. πŸ˜‰

  58. teresa says:

    i completely agree with you! how ironic! this looks wonderful and i especially love the bread bowl, great recipe!

  59. I have to tell you, I had the same exact thought about those pink buckets. And, the nasty chickens they use, and the pollution caused by those sick chickens…Your fast food looks so, so much better!

  60. Cynthia says:

    My gosh you find the most interesting recipes! This looks so delicious! I totally agree with you about the irony of eating a bucket of fried chicken to “support” breast cancer research. What has the world come to these days eh?

  61. Lori says:

    First, this recipe sounds amazing. I’m not familiar with many dishes from the region, but I think I have everything in to make it so I definitely want to give it a try.

    Second, glad you brought up the KFC thing. My jaw dropped when I saw it. I realize that funding is difficult to find, but to earn money by promoting the very food that is linked to causing the disease? That is pretty unbelievable. It really makes me question the priorities of the foundation. I’d rather my dollars go to an organization that reduces, not increases habits related to increasing the disease.

  62. Raina says:

    I haven’t eaten KFC since the 1980’s when there was a rumor going around that someone found a fried mousey in their bucket…LOL!! Sorry to mention a mousey on a food blog but I could not resist and I did put a “Y” at the end so it would sound cuter. I don’t think the story was true, but it was enough to keep me away. But I totally agree with you; it is a total contradiction to buy a fat-laden food to help fight cancer. By the way, your dish is amazing. You are quite the talent! I vote Joanne the first woman president! Who is with me? They all are!

  63. Danielle says:

    KFC is really on my list…I’m just glad it’s never been on our go-to list for fast food. 50 cents??? seriously? come on guys, where’s the love? Not even worth it.
    Sooo…I kept looking for the bunny in the recipe LOL. What a yummy (bunny-less) dish πŸ™‚

  64. i prefer to work alone too! gosh, it’s so much easier.

    nope, guess again!

    and yogurt + peanut butter/!?!? BEST COMBO EVER. i ususally do the almond butter….but i miss peanut butter- finished the jar. =D

  65. oh gosh the ugly truth T_T and KFC (or actually, fried chicken) is one of my top favorite…and MSG is embedded so deep in food & ingredients here it is really hard to avoid sob sob….

  66. Maria says:

    Love that you served it in a bread bowl!

  67. Love all of the spices in this curry. I had no idea that KFC had MSG, not did I know that it was a carcinogin. It’s a good thing that I stay away from that stuff.

  68. Meena says:

    ooh beautiful curry joanne…you know this curry base/gravy that you used would be gr8 with any kind of beans/lentils…love it n totally agree w/ your points on the fundraising!

  69. grace says:

    first of all, bread bowls delight me. i’m mighty tempted to move to an area where a creation such as this is served on the street–that’s a sign of good things, right? cute name, too.
    also, kfc frightens me.

  70. tigerfish says:

    Bunny Chow – what a cute name! The spice will scare the bunny away (is it why this is called “bunny chow”?) so that WE can have it for ourselves.

  71. This is perfect! I love this idea…bookmarking!

  72. Shirley says:

    Yes I know about KFC. Was there anything so ridiculous?

  73. dessert girl says:

    Not to mention that KFC is just plain evil, especially in terms of animal abuses, not that everyone cares about that…and not to bring everyone down. πŸ™‚ Your curry looks amazing, though!! I love the bread bowl!

  74. Foodycat says:

    This looks really good! Most of the South African food I have seen is heavy on the meat, white flour and sugar, so this take on it is really refreshing! So delicious.

  75. Marisa says:

    Yum yum yum! But the average South African male would berate you very earnestly for leaving out the meat. πŸ˜‰

  76. What a great idea! Looks delicious!

  77. Petra says:

    Another great post and recipe. Thanks

  78. Ezzie says:

    This looks delish! Thanks for the ideas!

  79. Cristie says:

    You just saying Union Square makes me home sick. What an interesting recipe, love the curry.

  80. Elwood says:

    Yummy looking curry. I don’t think my bunnies would like it though. πŸ™‚

  81. Old Pop says:

    Love your posts, and you make a good point about fast food, see The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite by David Kessler. I might observe, however that you do not NEED to eat the whole bucket all by yourself;-). A box of thin mints, on the other hand IS a singe serving.

  82. Congratulations on your bold protest. I agree with you 1000% Fast food chains are a waste of calories fueling disease and life threatening epidemics. I will take street food any day of the week. You dish looks fantastic. Thank you for your thought provoking post and recipe.
    My blog celebrated Africa Day with a collection of recipes from across the continent. I would love your thoughts.

  83. Wayne says:

    With reading the above article and comments mentioned thereafter, just a few points to bolster the whole bunny chow. I’m from Durban, the home of the bunny chow. It’s a very popular takeaway meal and, although traditionally they MAY have been served from carts, bunny chows are normally made on demand for the customer ensuring the meals are directly from the pot and less likely to spoil, from the various “curry dens” throughout the city. With the heat and humidity of Durban, prepared meals cannot stand for a prolonged period of time in the open. Also, with the drainage of the curried gravy into the bread, the aim is to have a solid quarter loaf of bread (better known as a bread bowl for the international audience) hollowed out and to allow the gravy to soak in, leaving the the exterior firm and easy to break off and eat, rather than to allow the whole loaf composition to degrade into a sloppy mess. The further one moves from Durban, the more varied and less curried the filling becomes, partially because the Indian influence with curries is less, but also because of the varied traditional cuisine from various ethnic groups. But, like anything what is a nice meal, just be conscious what you put into it that counts. Variants range from french fries crammed into a quarter loaf all the way to the more traditional curry fillings described as before. My personal favourite is a “beans bunny”, as it’s locally called (and no, the name has no bearing to cute little bunnies whatsoever, but rather to a meal-in-a-bun) Thanks for a great article, it was a pleasure to read.

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