Brisket Bunny Chow
No bunnies were harmed in the production of this blog! (Although I do plan to do a rabbit recipe in the near(ish) future!) I haven't been able to find a definitive answer on where the name comes from, but one plausible explanation is that the "bunny" part is an adaptation of "bun".... now, given that this curried meat is served inside a hollowed-out loaf of bread, that's not such a far-fetched idea, is it?
I fancied a break from the recent fat club posts (although bread aside, this is fat club friendly) and when I saw this online (courtesy of Christie) I had to give it a try. It's quirkiness spoke to me, as she knew it would!
This originates from the Indian regions of Durban, South Africa, and its history is as disputed as its etymology. Some say that it originated as a way for Indian slaves to carry their meals out into the fields, others link it to the Apartheid era when Indian golf caddies weren't allowed to carry cutlery, or in the same era when Indian people weren't allowed in certain restaurants, so the bread bowls were used to serve them takeaway on the sly, from a back window.
We may never know the definitive history, but we do know it tastes delicious!
500g beef brisket, diced to about 1 inch
2 large onions, diced
1 carrot, chopped
1 inch ginger, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered, or halved
1 cinnamon stick
5 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1tbsp garam masala
1tbsp hot curry powder
1tbsp hot chilli powder
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1tbsp tomato puree
350ml boiling vegetable stock
2 large baking potatoes, peeled and diced
1 small farmhouse loaf, cut in half and hollowed out
This should serve two (or three) very comfortably, and I swear you'll be driven mad by the smell as it cooks... amazing!
- Fry the spices, ginger, and garlic, in a tbsp of oil (or dry fry) until fragrant - a few minutes should do it
- Add in the beef and onion. If you dry fried the spices, you may need to add a little oil or frylight now
- After a few minutes, add the carrots, tomatoes, tomato puree, and vegetable stock
- Give it a right good stir, bring to the boil, then cover
- Turn the heat down to low, and leave to simmer for two hours
- Spend the first 90 minutes of that two hours trying not to eat your own knuckles while the delicious aroma incites your appetite!
- Chuck the potatoes in for the last half hour
- Serve in the hollowed out loaf (remember to discard the cinnamon stick!), and garnish with some red onion and coriander
ASDA take 1st quite convincingly this week, at £11.88 vs. Tesco's £12.20.
Morrisons were quite far out with their £14.93 but Sainsbury's seem to have really lost the plot at a shocking £17.07.
In both cases, it was the brisket prices/pack sizes that put them so far out.
That said, there are a lot of spices in here that you may already have. For example, based only on the ingredients I actually had to buy, the order would've changed to Tesco (£6.88); ASDA (£7.06); Morrisons (£9.49); Sainsbury's (£11.73).
I resisted disqualifying Morrisons & ASDA for only having sliced loaves on their website... surely that has to be a mistake?
Well the first tweak was forced upon me - my supermarket of choice stopped selling the 1kg pack of brisket, so I had to make do with the 500g listed here. The original recipe only had one onion, I doubled up to bulk up a bit in compensation for the missing meat. It also suggested 4 baking potatoes, but I halved it as the ones I had were massive.
The second tweak is to do what I did and make it fat club friendly(friendlier) by using frylight instead of oil, and trimming all visible fat from the brisket. You could also ditch the bread and serve it as a standard curry on some rice, but I wasn't about to go that far! Where's the fun in that? I love bread, and fancied a change!
The recipe didn't tell me what to do with the garlic cloves, so you could leave them whole, crush them, chop them more finely... your call.
I've also seen recipes for Chicken Bunny Chow, and vegetarian options. You could also use Mutton, Lamb, Pork... whatever tickles your pickle!
If it's too spicy for you, you could use milder curry & chilli powders - but I do like a bit of heat. Perhaps some fresh chillies could be nice in here, too.
I'm not generally a huge fan of cardamom (I find it too perfumey... beyond fragrant!) so you could always ditch that!
Credit to Tesco for this one, I've only adapted it slightly.... but look forward to tweaking it more next time!