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Butter Chicken Bunny Chow

Butter Chicken Bunny Chow is a South-African meal – tender, saucy, slightly spicy Butter Chicken served in hollowed out bread.

Butter Chicken Bunny Chow

First off, no bunny / rabbit meat in a Bunny Chow ! This is probably one of the most popular Indian take-outs in South-Africa.

Butter Chicken Bunny Chow is one of my versions of a homemade Bunny Chow. There are countless types of fillings which will go well with this, but curry and/or spicy is a must.

Even though Bunny Chows are an Indian dish, it originated, yes by the Indian population, in Kwazulu Natal, South-Africa.

The filling can be served in a quarters (most popular)/thirds and halves of a loaf of bread. My hubby and son can polish off a half, but I can only manage a quarter.

Butter Chicken Bunny Chow

The absolute best Bunny Chows I have ever eaten is in fact in Kwazulu Natal. Up here in Johannesburg, a good one here and there at Indian restaurants, but I prefer making my own.

As I have mentioned a Bunny Chow can have so many different fillings and I know Mutton is always available.

Chicken, Beef and Vegetable fillings are a little less favored, although I prefer a Beef or Chicken filling. Hubby likes his Mutton, but only when we are in Kwazulu Natal !

He is not too fussy when it comes to homemade Bunny Chows.

Butter Chicken Bunny Chow

I prefer to hollow out the bread leaving a thicker wall/base as my fillings are always very saucy. And one of the worst things is a Bunny Chow falling apart before you have even started eating.

Right, how does one eat this thing ? My best answer – with your hands ! Break of a piece of bread, scoop up some filling and enjoy.

In Durban, which is in Kwazulu Natal, I have seen many people buying a Bunny Chow (usually wrapped in newspaper) and just eat away. Then this must be a street food as well, one should think.

But here in Johannesburg, it is usually bought as a take-out for dinner, packed in a bag or box and I haven’t seen anyone around here munching away on the street !

Butter Chicken Bunny Chow

Above is two half sized filled Bunny Chows with a quarter size at the back still to be filled.

Butter Chicken Bunny Chow

Above is a quarter piece, hollowed out. Next to the quarter is the pieces I removed from the two halves as well. This acts as a topping or “cap” once the Bunny Chow has been filled.

Bunny Chows

  • A Hollowed out piece of bread, filled with a curry and/or spicy filling.
  • Different popular fillings include – Mutton, Chicken, Beef, Lamb and Vegetables.
  • Originated in Kwazulu Natal by the Indian population.
  • A Quarter Bunny Chow is also known as a KOTA.
  • The name is a little baffling as it has nothing to do with bunnies/rabbits – Some believes the name was derived from eating like a bunny – with your hands ! Another possible is that Bunny comes from the word Banya which was what the earlier Indian population was known as in Durban.
  • Chow ? Well, that is obvious ! Chow is eat 🙂 more a of a slang word in my opinion !


Butter Chicken Bunny Chow

And off we go ! Ready to serve – topped with a sprinkling of Parsley (I prefer Cilantro, but my family is not too crazy for Cilantro) and the bread removed earlier to form the hollow.

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Butter Chicken Bunny Chow

5 from 8 votes
Butter Chicken Bunny Chow
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
30 mins

Butter Chicken Bunny Chow is a South-African meal, originated by the Indian community in Kwazulu Natal - tender, saucy, slightly spicy Butter Chicken served in hollowed out bread

Course: Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: South-African
Servings: 6 Servings
Author: Linda Nortje
  • 1 cup Greek Yogurt plain
  • 1 TB Fresh Garlic crushed
  • 2 TB Fresh Ginger finely grated
  • 2 t Ground Cumin
  • 1 t Ground Coriander
  • 1 TB Curry Powder mild or strong
  • 675 g Chicken Fillets cubed ( 1 1/2 pounds )
  • 1 TB Oil
  • 1 Onion roughly chopped
  • 1 can (410g) Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 TB Tomato Paste
  • 1/2 cup Fresh Cream (double cream)
  • Salt to taste
  • 6 Bread Quarters hollowed out, (or 3 halves for 3 large servings)
  • Parsley or Cilantro optional
  1. Combine all the ingredients for the marinade - add the Chicken, stir through and transfer to a marinade bowl - chill for at least 2 hours.

  2. Heat the Oil in a medium saucepan - saute the Onion 2 - 3 minutes until soft - add the Chicken (with the marinade) - cook 5 minutes.

  3. Stir in the Chopped Tomatoes and Tomato Paste - bring to the boil - reduce heat and simmer 10 - 12 minutes or until Chicken is fully cooked.

  4. Pour over the Fresh Cream, stir and heat through - remove from heat.

  5. Season to taste with Salt.

  1. Scoop Butter Chicken into hollowed out Bread - serve topped with Parsley or Cilantro (if using) and the pieces of bread removed earlier.

Recipe Notes
  • Total Time excludes marinating time
  • Filling is enough for 6 quarter sized or 3 half sized Bunny Chows


  • Best parts of Bread to use are the ends (with the crust)
  • 1/2 (or even 1/3) a bread is enough for a HUNGRY adult 
  • 1/4 bread is a standard serving, but serve a crunchy side salad as well, if serving for dinner



Linking up at: WEEKEND POTLUCK – Sweet Little Bluebird

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Monday 5th of March 2018

I've never had bunny chow, and I know I'll be trying it soon!!

Rebecca Hubbell

Monday 19th of February 2018

Butter Chicken is a total weakness of mine and I can't wait to try it out this way!

Amy | The Cook Report

Monday 19th of February 2018

What a great idea! Never heard of this before but need to try it

Amanda Finks

Monday 19th of February 2018

I had never heard of this dish. But, oh wow, I'm in love! Yum!


Monday 19th of February 2018

I've never heard of bunny chow before but it sounds amazing! I have to give it a try!

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