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Devil’s Curry

Devil's Curry


Devil’s Curry Recipe

Serves 4 | Prep Time: 30 minutes | Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes


1/4 cup cooking oil
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
3 pounds chicken, cut into pieces
1 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces
1 cup water
Salt and sugar to taste
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon cilantro, for garnishing (optional)

Spice Paste:

20-30 dried chilies, deseeded and soaked in water for 20-30 minutes
8 shallots, coarsely chopped
5 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
3 stalks lemongrass (white part only), thinly sliced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced galangal
1/4 teaspoon ground tumeric
1/4 cup cooking oil
1-2 tablespoons water


In a blender, transfer all the ingredients for the spice paste and puree until smooth. Set aside.

In a Dutch oven or a heavy pot, heat up the oil. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and cook until you can slightly hear the popping sound from the mustard seeds.

Add the spice paste into the oil and fry until aromatic, about 10-15 minutes. Then add the chicken and coat with the spice paste. Let it cook for about 8-10 minutes and then add in the potatoes. Stir to combine.

Pour in the water; the water should barely cover the meat and potatoes. Add the salt and sugar to taste. Stir well and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat to simmer, cover with a lid and stew for about 20-30 minutes until the potatoes are soft.

Adjust the seasoning with salt and sugar. Add white vinegar. Stir to mix. Dish out to a bowl and garnish with the cilantro. Serve with warm rice.

Cook’s Notes:

The amount of dried chilies to use depends on the level of spiciness you prefer.

To make the tamarind juice, mix 3 tablespoons tamarind pulp with a little over 1/3 cup of water. Use your fingers, squeeze the pulp a few times to get the juice out. Discard the tamarind pulp and seeds.

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30 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. TDC

    In our family Devil Chicken (debal) is served on New Year’s day and uses the Christmas ham bone to give the curry flavour. The important ingredient is the vinegar, which in our family comes from the vegetable pickle (cucumber, cabbage, cauliflower) which is added at the end.

    It should be really spicy; the clue is in the name!

  2. My husband absolutely loves devil’s curry. When we first got married, I asked him what he would like me to cook. With much persuasion, he asked me for this because he thought it would be really hard to make. It’s been about 3 years now and we can still remember how good it tasted, homemade. Even with limited kitchen utensils and space then! I think it’s time to make it again. :-)

  3. I cannot express my gratitude for showing me this recipe. I’ve been living in KL for almost 4 years, before moving back to The Netherlands last month. We really became a fan of traditional, special, typical local dishes. We had Devil’s Curry many, many times. We used to live very nearby Simply Mell’s, a Portuguese-Malacca restaurant in The Sphere, Bangsar South. She has her own version of the Devil’s Curry, which was really delicious.

    As we lived so close, we went there often and almost always ordered this dish. Now that we are back in Holland, it came up as one of the dishes we really miss. Happy to have found the recipe, I am going to try to replicate it (though I am kinda shocked by the amount of ingredients :))….

    I will definitely keep you posted :).

    Ilya from Wonderful Malaysia

  4. Ulam

    What I really like on this blog is not just about the food. It’s how the photos are taken :) It makes the food super yummy!

  5. ramkiran

    I cooked this curry today, it is very very yummy, Photos are and presentation are awesome ,they made me to cook this, when i saw the site for the first time. Thanks for the recipe.

  6. Love devil’s pork. The element of vinegar and spice paste mix remind slightly of the Goan/portuguese vindaloo. Gonna give this one a try. With a total lack of local malay cuisine (and hardly any malays) there is no choice by taking personal action in the kitchen.

  7. From personal experience. I made this dish and it turned out great. As I make lots of thai classics, I found it sufficient to use packaged dry chilies similar to the ones used in Kung Pao chicken or Thai cashew chicken. Always make sure to deseed the chilies.

    A rool to remember is that smaller chilies are more fiery than larger ones. Rawit or bird’s eye chilies and habanero peppers is recommended to stay away from.The package i usually buy just say “dried thai chilies”.

    Hope this helps.

  8. Vivenne

    My mom always insisted on allowing the curry to sit at least a day to allow the flavors to soak in. I know each family has slightly different variations for the curry, the one I grew up eating was slightly drier than what was pictured here. Nonetheless I am looking forward to making this. Ty for posting it.

  9. BC Karambaya

    HI…i am an Indian from India working in Melaka for over 7 yrs now. I have tasted this DevilCurry twice. Once cooked by the mother of our Eurasian neighbour and second time in a restoran. The Mum’s preparation was far better.
    I would like to point out that since the Portuguese had colonized, both, Melaka and Goa( in India), there is a Goan dish called Vindaloo, which is very simliar in preparation and taste as Devil Curry.

  10. Noob

    Hi bee
    Thank you for all the effort u put into putting out Ur recipes out there… I’m just starting out with cooking and chanced upon yr website. I’m so glad I did. tried some of Ur recipes and have achieved a decent amount of success. I’m pretty bad in the kitchen..
    This devil curry recipe looks amazing and can’t wait to try it out.
    Thank you once again.

  11. Berry

    You mentioned tamarind at the cook’s note,I don’t see the I need to use tamarind juice?

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