South African Recipes

Famous Bunny Chow | Durban’s Least-Best Kept Secret

Jump to RecipePrint Recipe


Hello food lovers! Today, we’re delving into a South African culinary favourite, the scrumptious Vetkoek. This is no ordinary bread – it’s a home-grown classic that’s bound to make your taste buds dance!
south african bread bunny chow

Bunny chow

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Course Main Course
Cuisine South African
Servings 4 people


  • 1 Large saucepan
  • 1 Cutting board and sharp knife
  • 1 Wooden spoon (for stirring)
  • 1 Bread knife


  • 1 large White loaf of bread
  • 500 g Diced lamb or beef
  • 2 large Finely chopped onions
  • 2 cloves Crushed garlic
  • 1 thumb-sized Grated ginger
  • 2 Diced ripe tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp Curry powder
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 2 Finely chopped green chillis
  • bunch Fresh coriander (For the garnish)
  • 2 tbsp Vegetable oil
  • Salt & Pepper (To taste)


  • Heat the vegetable oil in your saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, ginger and chillies (if using), and fry until the onions are soft and translucent.
  • Add the curry powder, turmeric, paprika, and a bit of salt and pepper to the pan. Give it a good stir and let the spices fry for a minute or two to release their flavours.
  • Now it's time to add the meat to the pan. Cook it until it's browned on all sides. This should take about 5-7 minutes.
  • Once your meat is browned, add the diced tomatoes to the pan. Lower the heat, cover the pan, and let it simmer for about 45 minutes. You're aiming for a rich, aromatic curry with tender pieces of meat.
  • While your curry is simmering away, take your loaf of bread and cut it into 4 equal quarters. Hollow out the inside of each quarter, being careful not to break the crust. Save the bread you've removed for dipping later!
  • Once your curry is cooked and smelling like a dream, it's time to assemble your Bunny Chows. Spoon the curry into the hollowed-out quarters of the bread. Top it off with a sprinkle of fresh coriander.
  • And there you have it - proper South African Bunny Chow! Dig in and don't forget to use the leftover bread for mopping up the delicious curry. It's finger-licking lekker, I promise!
Keyword bunny chow

south african bread bunny chow

Vetkoek History

This delightful bread-like treat holds a special place in the heart of South African cuisine. The name “Vetkoek” directly translates from Afrikaans to “fat cake” in English, which might not sound as appetising, but it’s a nod to the deep-fried cooking method that gives it its trademark golden crunch and soft, warm centre.

The Vetkoek’s origins can be traced back to the Dutch settlers who landed in the Cape of Good Hope during the 17th century. These early bakers brought with them a tradition of fried dough breads, similar to the Dutch oliebollen. Over time, this evolved into the Vetkoek we know and love today.

In other parts of South Africa, Vetkoek goes by different names. In the Eastern Cape, you might hear it referred to as “Amagwinya” or “Ikhapha” in the Xhosa language. These words have the same basic meaning as Vetkoek, underlining the pan-South African appeal of this simple, but scrumptious snack.

Tips & Tricks

Having whipped up countless Vetkoeks in my time, I’ve got a few pearls of wisdom to share. First off, when you’re mixing the dough, add the warm water gradually. Too much, too soon could make the dough too sticky to handle. Another tip – knead the dough with gusto! It helps develop the gluten and gives your Vetkoek a light, fluffy texture. And finally, patience. Letting the dough rise properly is crucial, it can’t be rushed. Trust me, it’s worth the wait!

Best Occasions to Serve Vetkoek

Vetkoek is a versatile dish that fits in just about anywhere. Fancy a hearty breakfast? A Vetkoek with apricot jam is the ticket! Hosting a Sunday barbecue? Impress your guests with Vetkoeks stuffed with savoury mince. They’re also a hit at children’s birthday parties, school fetes, or simply as a delightful tea-time snack. Essentially, there’s no bad time for a good Vetkoek!

Recipes & Sides That Go Well With Vetkoek

  • Curried Mince: Vetkoek’s best mate, a savoury filling that complements its fluffy nature.
  • Apricot Jam: A dollop of this sweet spread makes for a delightful breakfast or dessert Vetkoek.
  • Cheese and Ham: Who needs a sandwich when you can stuff your
  • Vetkoek with these classic ingredients?
    Biltong Pate: A truly South African filling for your Vetkoek, delicious and satisfying.

durban bunny chow ingredients

Ingredient Alternatives for Vetkoek

  • Whole wheat flour can be used for a healthier version.
  • Active dry yeast can replace instant yeast, just remember to activate it first.
  • Try coconut or almond oil for frying for a slightly different taste.

Nutritional Facts

For a four-person serving, here’s what we’re looking at:

Calories: 250 kcal
Carbohydrates: 40g
Sugar: 2g
Fat: 7g
Protein: 6g
Fibre: 1.5g
Remember, these are just averages. The actual nutritional value may vary based on your fillings and the size of your Vetkoek. Despite the name, Vetkoek isn’t too heavy on the waistline, making it a relatively guilt-free indulgence.

Troubleshooting (Common Problems)

  • If your Vetkoek is too dense, you might not have kneaded the dough enough or let it rise properly.
  • If the Vetkoek is oily, your frying oil may not be hot enough. Aim for 180°C.
  • Unevenly cooked Vetkoek could be due to overcrowding in the frying pan. Give them space to cook evenly!

Vetkoek Alternatives and Similar Recipes

  • Amagwinya: Also known as Fat Cakes, these are typically larger than Vetkoek and often filled with savoury ingredients like mince or cheese. A truly delightful alternative!
  • Roosterkoek: Bread rolls traditionally cooked over a braai (South African BBQ). They share Vetkoek’s fluffy interior and can be filled with similar sweet or savoury fillings.
  • Pampoenkoekies: South Africa’s pumpkin fritters. They’re not quite as bread-like as Vetkoek, but offer a delicious sweet alternative if you’re in the mood for a change. They’re typically served with caramel sauce – absolutely irresistible!

Table of Contents