This recipe comes from Durban Curry – so much of Flavour by Erica Platter and Clint Friedman.
This is what they have made for decades to fill one of Durban’s classiest bunnies. In the old days, before the Umgeni riverside in this area became arguably the busiest and noisiest street in town, the Britannia was a genteel watering hole, serving pink gins to white colonials on its front veranda, and beer and spirits to black customers through hatches at the back. Since 1983 the Brits has been owned by the Moodley family. Young Linkey Moodley, then just graduated with a Masters (Commerce) degree from the University of Natal, borrowed money to invest in the hotel; he paid off the loan in five years. Now you will find The Thirsty Horse sports pub with big screens; a revamped restaurant lit by vast chandeliers (“snazzy with ambience”); a tote and Tattersalls for betting-mad locals; and most lately, a new multi-storey conference centre and function rooms: Linkey has been busy. But it is the Brits’ food which made its reputation; it is still an essential ingredient in the business.
Linkey’s grandmother was an “exquisite” cook; his mother, queen of the kitchen for 20 years, no less accomplished; Britannia’s reputation for stellar Durban Indian dishes was established by them, and the hotel’s masalas, while no longer made on site, are still ground to their special recipe (“secret,” says Linkey, “protected, just like Kentucky”). Everything comes to the table covered with clear plastic domes. And there are still women in pole positions: the impeccable kitchens are managed by Rebecca Naidoo. Shamla Naidoo runs the entire hotel.
Britannia Hotel’s Mutton Bunny Chow
1 large onion, chopped
¼ tsp turmeric
1 bay leaf
3 small cinnamon sticks
1 tsp fennel seeds
4 Tbsp mixed masala
2 tsp ginger and garlic paste
1 medium tomato
500g mutton, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 sprig curry leaves
2 tsp salt
6 even-sized, soft-cooking potatoes
3 sprigs fresh dhania/coriander, chopped
Heat oil. Add onion, turmeric, bay leaf, cinnamon, fennel seeds. Fry for a few seconds, until onion softens. Add masala, ginger and garlic, allow to cook for a few seconds but take care not to burn. Add tomato. When almost cooked stir in meat, allow to sauté. Add curry leaves, salt and water to cover. Bring to a boil then lower heat to moderate, and cover. Cook 20-25 minutes, then add potatoes. Continue cooking until meat is tender, and potatoes are soft. Spoon into bunnies, quarter loaves of hollowed-out white bread. Or bowls if you prefer. Garnish with dhania.
Michael’s wine recommendation – CLICK HERE
This recipe comes from Durban Curry – so much of Flavour by Erica Platter and Clint Friedman. CLICK HERE to read my review. Erica and her husband John Platter, one of South Africa’s iconic wine writers, recommend a bubbly to take you right through a curry meal. Durban Curry has won a Gourmand World Cookbook Award as the Best Cookbook in South Africa 2015. To buy the book online – CLICK HERE