Asian Dishes, Poultry, Singapore

Devil’s Curry

I first learnt this dish from my maternal aunt who had learnt it from her mother in law. It’s very hot but not in your mouth hot. The heat gets to you from the inside. Very visceral and if you follow the traditional Eurasian recipe, you will then put in all the leftover viscera into the dish.

What makes this different from the usual Southeast Asian curries is the liberal use of mustard seeds in the rempah (spice paste). And what makes this special in this region is also that it’s a dish the Eurasian usually cook for Christmas. And since my aunt had learnt it form her mother in law who grew up in a Christian family then, this makes it the most authentic recipe I can get from a family member.

With any sort of Malay or SEA cooking, there must be the rempah. Here I have 2 onions, a knob of ginger, a knob of fresh turmeric, 8 fresh red chillies, 7 candlenuts, a tablespoon of mustard seeds and about a cup of blended dried chilli paste mixture (dried chillies, garlic, onion). Blend all the above in a blender till very smooth.
As I’ve been making videos, I realise I forgot to take pictures too for the blog. But here is the first process. Fry an additional one tablespoon of mustard seeds in hot oil first and then add sliced onions. Here I just used leftover cubes white onions. Waste not want not. The thing about cooking Asian is that it’s always very forgiving. When the onions have softened add the blended mixture and let that mixture cook over slow fire. You’ve got to constantly mix it and even cover it because boy does it splatter!
And when the spice paste is ready (the oil will rise from the mixture and you can smell that the paste is cooked), it’s time to add the chicken pieces (which I’ve only lightly marinated in light soy sauce and browned) and potatoes. Cover with enough water and let it cook till tender.
After which, add sausages. I added beef frankfurters here. And lastly cauliflower florets.

The seasoning which makes this dish different is vinegar! Yes! Distilled white vinegar. I used about 10 tablespoons in total after constantly tasting till I get the right balance. Salt and sugar of course too.

For garnish I added red bird’s eye chillies. The very brave will actually eat that too!
And here it is. Devil’s Curry. So hot it really is devilish.

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