In my family, the one with the best line always wins.
Years ago, my youngest brother, Mark, who was making a living as a stand-up comic (and also teaching comedy classes) said to me, “Yeah yeah, so you’re a professor–so what?! To be honest, Dad’s probably prouder of me: I’m a comic.”
And he was likely right–the highest calling in my family is comedy. Indeed, I’ll often watch stand-up comedy and think, “Jeez, half of my family members are funnier than this guy!” And it’s not just my siblings….my nieces and nephews (and daughter) are hilarious as well. In fact, my nephew is currently a comedy writer (Stefan Heck)!
I always assumed that everyone–not just my family–enjoyed stand-up comedy but was disabused of this notion early on in my relationship with James. I’ll often say, “Oh god–you MUST watch this comedian: she’s SO funny,” only to have James beg me to turn off Netflix within minutes because he’s SO uncomfortable with the jokes that he’s curled into the fetal position with his ears covered.
“But he’s so mean [or angry or vulgar or some other negative adjective]!” James will say!
James comes from a nice family…a family whose members don’t make fun of each other at every opportunity. As you may have gathered, I’m a bit jealous of James.
Not too long ago, I was talking to my parents about young people going out into the working world, and my mother said, “You were such a sensitive child, but you never seemed to have difficulty when you went out into the cold, cruel working world!” and I said, “Well, no…everyone seemed so nice! It was much harder to be a member of our family!”
Ya gotta love that woman.
Anyway, my obsession with the South African dish known as “Bunny Chow” (and known locally as, apparently, simply “Bunny”) started with my viewing of the South African comic, Trevor Noah, and his stand-up bit on this South African street food. Now, anything served in a small loaf of bread is intriguing in and of itself, but his description of Bunny Chow sounded so delicious that I was obsessed.
Bunny Chow is basically a hollowed-out loaf of white bread filled with curry. Apparently, migrant workers were brought to South Africa from India to work the sugar cane fields; bunny chow became a popular “hand food” for these migrant workers who were not allowed to carry metal utensils.
Bunny chow has now become a popular dish with food trucks in North America and has evolved into any kind of food served in a little loaf of white bread. So today my goal was to make Bunny Chow!
So….first you make the innards…and then you make the outtards!
Now…I’m not a huge fan of curry, so I made more of a succulent stew for the innards…but the recipe is original!! In fact, it took me ALL freakin’ day to work out the recipe, but it was totally worth the effort!
Vegan Bunny Chow
- 1 TBS vegetable oil
- 1 TBS vegan margarine
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
- 2 tsp chopped garlic
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 5 1/2 cups broth
- 2 TBS Better Than Bouillon mushroom (or no-chicken) paste
- 2 TBS miso
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 1 tsp basil
- 1 tsp parsley
- 1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 3 cups diced little red potatoes
- 4 cups cubed grilled tofu, fake vegan meat, or combo thereof
- 2/3 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 2 cups cauliflower florets
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
- salt to taste
- Grill the tofu/fake meat so it doesn’t disintegrate in the stew (I used a combo of firm tofu and fake chik’n bits). Set aside.
- Saute onions and garlic in oil/vegan margarine for a few minutes;
- Add flour and white wine and whisk…then gradually add the broth. Keep whisking until it’s all smooth and bubbly.
- Add the BTB paste, miso, and spices.
- Add carrots, potatoes, and celery and let simmer until the carrots and potatoes are al dente.
- Add broccoli, cauliflower, grilled tofu/fake meat, and mushrooms, and simmer until everything is tender, but not mushy.
- Add pepper and salt to taste.
At this point, you could just serve this as a stew with some dumplings or mashed potatoes (and it is DEE-LICIOUS as is), BUT if you want to make it into Bunny Chow, you need to make the little loaves in which to serve it!
So next, take a softball sized hunk of Easy-Peasy Cheap-o Bread and deposit it into a small mold and bake it for 30 minutes at 450.
Once it’s done…
IT. IS. SO. FREAKIN. GOOD!!!
Perfect for a cold, rainy evening in front of the wood stove!
And James loved it! Hopefully my Vegan Bunny makes up for all of the inappropriate comedy I’ve made him watch over the years…or maybe it makes up for my cringe-inducing family (though I have the sense that nothing can make up for that!!).
And here we all are in 1961 and, forty-five years later, in 2006..though Mark and my Dad (the two high priests of comedy) are, significantly, M.I.A.!
And here’s the guy who started it all…