MERDEKA SPECIAL: Devil’s Chicken Curry recipe courtesy of Celine J. Marbeck

by Lisa K. on Tue, August 28, 2018

We are in the final week of our #Merdeka #MakanMuhibah food celebration. This time we are ‘seeing red’ in this wonderful Portugese Devil’s Curry popular in Kristang (Malacaan Portugese Community) cuisine. The name itself should send smoke signals out of your ears. Devil’s Curry a.k.a Curry Debal is well known for its #spicy fiery sauce usually served after Christmas day and special occasions. If you are a spice head, this is THE recipe for you, not for the faint hearted. But still, it is a #musttry

This one is for the spice heads

Serves 4 - 6 people

Ideally, let the chicken curry rest overnight to allow flavours to fuse and develop. It will taste so much better the next day.

Devil’s curry is supposed to be a bit dry. Open the lid halfway through simmering if you want the sauce to dry up more.

Foodster's Verdict

MERDEKA SPECIAL: Devil’s Chicken Curry recipe courtesy of Celine J. Marbeck


  • Preparation
  • Total
    1hour 10minutes
    Chicken Marinade
    6 pieces chicken parts (I used 4 drumsticks and 2 thighs)
    1 tsp. dark soy sauce
    1 tbsp. vinegar

    Spice Paste
    1 tsp. oil
    1 tsp. mustard seeds
    10 - 13 big shallots
    3 cloves garlic
    6 candlenuts
    3 lemongrass
    2 inches galangal (30g)
    ¼ tsp. turmeric powder
    5 tbsp. chilli paste
    2 tbsp. chilli powder

    3/4 cup oil
    2 inch ginger, finely shredded (30g)
    2 red onion, quartered
    1 tsp. mustard seeds
    3 potatoes, cut into chunks
    1 tbsp. asam jawa + ½ cup water
    2 tbsp. vinegar
    2 tsp. salt (roughly.. adjust yours to taste)
    1 ½ tsp. sugar (roughly.. adjust to taste)

    Optional Veggies
    French beans, cut into batons

1. Marinate chicken with dark soy sauce and vinegar for at least 20 minutes.

Vinegar tenderises the chicken, and I don't think I put enough dark soy sauce to make a difference. Put 2 tsp. of dark soy sauce instead

2. Blend all ingredients for spice paste until fine and set aside.

If you don't blend long enough, you're gonna get the pesky lemongrass and galanggal fibers in the sauce

3. Heat ½ cup oil and fry ginger until golden brown, remove and set aside. Fry onions until golden brown, remove and set aside.

Frying these makes the oil smells so good

4. Using the same oil, fry mustard seeds until it stops popping. Add in blended spice paste until it shrinks and oil splits.

Add more oil if the paste looks too dry

5. Drain off chicken marinade and add chicken into the pot, together with potatoes and asam jawa juice. Boil with lid on, on medium high flames for about 15 - 20 minutes. Once that’s done, add in French beans, pre-fried ginger, onions and vinegar.

Simmer until french beans are tender

7. Season with salt and sugar. Let the chicken rest for 30 minutes before serving.

These taste better overnight