The views from Café Canna.
The views from Café Canna.

Recipe: A Taste of Café Canna

As featured in our May edition of Scottish Field, Café Canna is one of the remotest restaurants in Britain. Owner Gareth Cole shares one of his favourite recipes from his new book, Café Canna: Recipes from a Hebridean Island (published by Birlinn)

Gareth says: ‘This dish is our take on one of the finest curries out there – butter chicken. Rabbit is fantastic in curries; you could substitute it in place of chicken in most. There is something about the combination of heat and rich butteriness in this one that is particularly good.’


For the marinade

  • 120ml plain yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp garlic (about 6 cloves), finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp ginger, grated
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 800g-1kg rabbit portions (about 1-2 wild rabbits’ worth)

For the sauce

  • 30g butter
  • 1 large onion, sliced or chopped
  • 2 tbsp garlic (about 6 cloves), minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1.5 tsp garam masala
  • 1.5 tsp ground cumin
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 0.5 tsp red chilli powder
  • 180ml double cream
  • 0.5 tbsp sugar
  • 0.5 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
  • Salt
  • Coriander leaves, to garnish


  1. Mix all of the marinade ingredients, then add the rabbit, rubbing the sauce into each portion. Cling film the bowl and place in the fridge overnight ideally.
  2. In a large pot (everything will end up in here), fry the onion in the butter until softened. Add the garlic and ginger and continue to fry for 1 minute, stirring to avoid burning.
  3. Stir in the ground coriander, garam masala and cumin, then add the tomatoes, chilli powder and some salt.
  4. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, then use a hand blender to blend to a smooth sauce.
  5. In a separate frying pan, on a high heat, add some oil and fry the rabbit pieces – you just want to colour the outside, not cook through. Do this in batches of 2-3, adding to the sauce once done. When all the rabbit is in the sauce, pour in any remaining juices from the frying pan.
  6. Cook for 20-40 minutes, until the rabbit is cooked through and tender, then mix in the cream, sugar and fenugreek leaves, and season with some salt. Continue cooking for 5-10 minutes.
  7. Serve with some home-made flatbreads, some rice and pickle, and garnish with chopped coriander.