Eurasian Devil’s Curry – Whip it UP

Eurasian Devil’s Curry – Whip it UP!

Debal Curry

Debal Curry, more affectionately known as Devil’s Curry, often graces the Eurasian festive dining table at Christmas. Debal in Creole-Portuguese actually refers to leftovers from Christmas Day that gets tossed into the curry pot the day after. Thse days, Devil’s Curry is eaten before or on Christmas Day. As the Creole language isn’t used as much nowadays, the term Devil’s Curry was later coined to indicate the devilish amount of chilli in the dish. For your Christmas dinner, add Shepherd’s Pie and Spicy Kimchi Stew With Pork to the festive dining table.

Total Time:2½ hours

Difficulty: 2/5

Cost: S$25.00

Serves: 4 persons

A: Chicken Stock

1 litre water
300g chicken carcasses

B: Marinade

4 chicken legs, skin on
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon white pepper
65ml cooking oil

C: Additional Meat

340g chicken franks, each cut into half
300g bacon bones
300g roast pork, cut into small pieces

D: Assorted Vegetables

3 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 medium carrot, cut into 3cm rounds
1 cucumber, seeded, cut into pieces, optional
1 small cabbage, cut into large squares, optional
20 French beans, each cut into 2-3, optional

E: Rempah (spice paste)

20-30 dried red chillies, seeded and soaked in hot water 20 mins
Thumb-sized galangal (lengkuas), peeled and roughly chopped
Thumb-sized fresh turmeric, peeled and cut
5 candlenuts
5 cloves garlic, peeled
8-10 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
3-4 lemongrass white portion only, sliced
100ml water

F: Garnish

1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 stalk coriander leaves
3-4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Salt, to taste
Brown sugar to taste

G: French Baguette

1 medium baguette, toasted and sliced thickly


1. Rempah: Prepare 1-2 days head. Place E ingredients into a blender. Pulse until fairly fine. Set aside.


2. Chicken stock: Bring 2 litres of water to rolling boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium. Add in bones. Cook for 1 hour.

3. In a large saucepan or wok, roast mustard seeds over low heat, allowing them to pop. Remove when popping slows down. Place into a mortar and pestle. Grind seeds into a powder. Set aside.

mustard seeds

4. Heat a Dutch oven or heavy saucepan over medium heat. Pour half the oil in. Sauté chicken until brown. Using the same saucepan, brown chicken franks. Set them aside.

5. Pour remaining oil into saucepan. Add rempah. Cook until paste begins to caramelise and becomes aromatic.

6. Add in chicken and stir until coated with rempah. Allow meat to cook for 8 -10 minutes.

Debal Curry chicken and rempah

7. Add potatoes, carrot, sausages, bacon bones and other meats. Stir to combine.

8. Pour in chicken stock just enough to cover meat. Bring it to a boil, then reduce heat. Allow chicken to simmer for 20-30 minutes until potatoes and carrot are tender.

9. Add in optional vegetables. Cook another 5 minutes.

debal curry cooking

10. Adjust seasoning to taste. Pour in apple cider vinegar. Cook another 3 minutes, then turn heat off.

11. Add ground mustard seeds. Stir to combine well. Allow curry to rest overnight for flavours to develop. It is best eaten the next day.

12. Divide chicken legs between 4 dinner plates. Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with baguette or steamed rice, if preferred.

debal curry final

SERVING TIP: Fried sliced shallots/thinly sliced ginger and fresh chilli are commonly used as garnishes.

TECHNIQUE: This curry takes on different flavour nuances depending on what type of addtional meat or leftovers are added. Allow curry to stand a few days in the fridge for flavours to develop and harmonise. Bring curry to a gentle simmer over medium-low to heat it up before serving.

Photos: Stacey Nonis

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You may like to try these recipes:

Spicy Kimchi Stew With Pork

Shepherd’s Pie

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