In my never-ending bid to start eating healthier and knowing what goes into the food I eat, I decided to try to re-create one of my favourite curries, Cape Malay Chicken Curry, that I’ve been known to have for brunch on a Sunday afternoon at Papparich in Melbourne one vacation one day and never forgot.

Traditionally called Bunny Chow, the dish was created by Indian immigrant workers in South Africa during the 1940s as a way to transport their food to the plantation fields as they were often banned from cafes during the apartheid.

Don’t worry, no bunny rabbits have been harmed in the making of this tangy, sweet and wonderfully fragrant curry. It is perfect for those who love a curry but dislike some of the overly spiced curries that are sadly served to us around the city. 

 Typically a mutton, chicken or bean curry, a roll or loaf is hollowed out, the curry scooped in and then you break off the crusts and dip them in the curry as you eat. No plates or cutlery needed. Perfect. 

My recreation is served with turmeric rice instead of the bread as I’m trying to cut down on my bread intake. I also used skinless and boneless chicken thighs as I hate dealing with chicken bones (unless in wing form!) and everyone knows the skin is where all the fat is (and is sadly the best part!).

If you want to eat this dish with a big roll, go ahead. Trust me when I say it’s one of the best ways to eat it! You may need a bib though. 

Cape Malay Chicken Curry
Serves 4
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
For the Curry
  1. 4 whole cloves
  2. 1 crumbled chicken stock cube
  3. 2 tsp ground turmeric
  4. 1 tsp ground black peppercorns
  5. 1 tsp coriander
  6. 1 tsp cumin
  7. 1 tsp crushed cardamon pod seeds
  8. 1 finely chopped large red onion
  9. 4 finely grated garlic cloves
  10. 3 tbsp finely grated ginger
  11. 1 thinly sliced large red chilli (optional to deseed)
  12. 1 can chopped tomatoes
  13. 2 tbsp mango chutney
  14. 6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  15. 3 tbsp rapeseed oil
  16. 2 chopped sweet potatoes
For the Tumeric Rice
  1. 2 cups of basmati rice
  2. 1 tsp ground turmeric
  3. 4 crushed cardamon pods
  4. Pinch of ground cinammon
  1. Heat the rapeseed oil in a large pan (I used a wok) under medium heat. Add the chopped red onion and fry until golden brown. Stir in cloves, garlic and ginger, continually stirring for a few minutes.
  2. Add the remainder of the spices along with the chilli and chopped tomatoes. Crumble the stock cube into two cans of water and mix thoroughly into the wok along with the mango chutney.
  3. Add the skinless and boneless chicken thighs ensuring they are under the liquid and cover for approximately 30 minutes. Add the chopped sweet potatoes (the smaller the better) and cook for around 15 minutes under they are soft.
  4. Just after the sweet potatoes have been added, prepare the rice by putting the rice into a medium sauce pan and add some boiling water until it is approximately an inch above the rice. This is generally calculated as 2 cups of water per cup of rice, so within this recipe, 4 cups of water is needed. Add in the ground tumeric, crushed cardamon and ground cinnamon and stir once.
  5. Bring to the boil without a lid until the water starts to bubble, reduce heat and cover for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, take it off the heat and let it steam for a further 5 minutes so that the rice is soft and fluffy.
  6. Serve the curry with the rice or a hollowed out crusty bread roll & enjoy!

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