Food Friday: “Traditional Cape Malay Cooking”

Every Friday, we at Casemate IPM bring you a delicious recipe hand-selected from one of the many cookery books we distribute. You should definitely try this at home!

In today’s Food Friday, we take a trip to an ethnic community in South Africa. The Cape Malay community is largely made up of Javanese people, a group originally from what is now Indonesia. They were the first group to introduce Islam to Africa, and their cooking reflects their rich cultural background. In Penguin Random House South Africa‘s Traditional Cape Malay Cooking, author Zainab Lagardien brings this tradition to life in this cookery book.

9781770076716Book Synopsis: Originally published as Everyday Cape Malay Cooking, Traditional Cape Malay Cooking is the definitive Cape Malay cookbook featuring more than 200 traditional recipes for everyday enjoyment.

This comprehensive collection of mouthwatering recipes ranges from soups, curries, and bredies to atjars, puddings, and breads, and also includes a section on bulk cooking, which is especially useful when catering for large family gatherings. The recipes are easy to follow and will appeal to beginners and to those interested in culinary tradition. It is illustrated throughout with full-color photographs.

The recipe we have chosen for today is just as delicious as its name is adorable. Bunny Chow is an easy-to-make traditional Cape Malay comfort food for those chilly fall nights. Keep reading to find out how to make this dish.

Country-Style Bunny Chow
The “bunny” represents the loaf, supposedly the size of a rabbit, and “chow” is a Durban-Indian word for filling.

15 ml (1 tbsp) oil
1 onion, chopped
250 g tenderised steak, cubed
250 ml (1 cup) water
2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) turmeric
2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) masala
2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) salt
1 piece stick cinnamon
10 ml (2 tsp) tomato sauce
2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) garlic and ginger paste
2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) ground jeera (cumin)
3 slices red pepper
1 x 410 g tin butter beans, drained

2 small, oval loaves or short French loaves

Heat the oil over medium heat, add the onion and scorch. Add the steak and water, steam until the water has cooked away, then stir-fry until the meat is just tender. Add the remaining ingredients, taking care to add the beans last. Slice off a quarter of the loaf lengthwise, scoop out some of the bread and fill with chow. No cutlery needed here!
Serves 2

The finished product! (Photo and all recipe text from Traditional Cape Malay Cooking, page 14)
The finished product! (Photo and all recipe text from Traditional Cape Malay Cooking, page 14)

If you try this recipe, let us know how it turns out in the comments!

For more delicious Cape Malay recipes like this one, purchase your copy of Traditional Cape Malay Cooking here.

Are you interested in a particular cookery book from Let us know in the comments, and you might see it featured in the next Food Friday!


One thought on “Food Friday: “Traditional Cape Malay Cooking”

  1. Heresy! The bread is meant to be half a standard white loaf!

    And, not that it matters, but the term “bunny” is usually held to be a corruption of Bhania, the name of the Durban shopkeeper who legend has it, began serving these to workers in the area.

    Food of the gods, either way!

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