Sunday, 12 August 2012

Olympic Food Challenge - South Africa - Bunny Chow with South African Malay Curry

For my final Olympic Food Challenge dish I really wanted to do something a bit special and something a bit tasty. As both Gav and I really do like a good curry, I was pleased to find that I could get away with making one for the last of my allocated countries, all thanks to the Malay people who were brought to SA as slaves. And, ok, I could have gone with a more traditional SA dish, a more indigenous dish, but come on, I's already cooked dishes from two different countries in Africa and I really did fancy a curry!

I used this recipe; as I liked the idea of apricots, yogurt, aubergine, chillies and mutton together in a curry. It also looked pretty easy to do and indeed it was. I followed the recipe pretty much to the letter (although I did soak the mutton in water overnight first, to help tenderise the meat, and I cooked it for about three and a half hours as just one hour was never gonna be enough for this meat).

The curry could have been served with rice, but I wanted to go a step further and do something a bit different, so when I saw this recipe for Bunny Chow I knew it had to be done. After all, what's not to like about the idea of using a hallowed out half loaf of bread as a bowl for a curry? More importantly there's some history behind this dish as it originates from times of apartheid.

Back in the not so good old days in Africa black people (and immigrant Malaysians & Indians) weren't allowed to eat in restaurants so they had to have takeaway. Of course they didn't have Tupperware back then and so the idea of using hollowed out loaves of bread was born. Thought to have originated in restaurants in the Durban area, bunny chow is still popular now; in fact every year there's an annual competition dedicated to finding the best bunny chow (just a shame it's sponsored by a large drinks company).

How was it? Pretty bloody good actually. The gravy was rich and tasty thanks to the inclusion of a fair few spices, some tomato puree and plenty of yogurt. The meat was just about tender enough (so please don't try and cook this for any less than 3 hours, unless you use lamb/chicken), the aubergine was lovely and creamy and the apricots and jam added a real sweetness to the dish.

With 3 gold medals, 2 silver and 1 bronze South Africa haven't done bad at all (although they didn't do enough to beat Yorkshire did they?!).

Well, that's it. I've done my 7 dishes, I'm watching the closing ceremony and I'm just waiting for something akin to post holiday blues to set in. See, despite what I said in my first Olympic Food Challenge post I have been well and truly sucked in and I have loved every minute.

Britain, we've been fabulous - let's try and keep it that way!

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