• Prep Time 30 minutes
  • Cook Time 40 minutes
  • Serving For 4 people
  • Difficulty Normal

Recipe Description

Famously called Devil Curry, the real name of this dish is Debal Curry. This most sought after dish at the Malaccan Portuguese settlement contains vinegar, making it tangy and appetising. This curry needs to sit overnight to allow the flavours to blend in.

This recipe was first published in Flavours magazine.

Recipe Ingredient

  • Spice paste
  • 20 dried chillies, soaked and cut into 3cm lengths
  • 15 shallots, peeled
  • 2cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 candlenuts
  • 3 stalks lemongrass
  • 20g galangal
  • 2cm turmeric, skinned
  • 100-125ml palm oil
  • 1tsp mustard seeds, ground coarsely
  • 800g chicken, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 500-650ml water
  • 1 1/2tbsp vinegar
  • 2tbsp sugar, or to taste
  • salt, to taste


  1. Blend spice paste ingredients till fine, adding a little water to work the blades if necessary.
  2. Place oil in a wok and sauté spice paste till fragrant, stirring continuously. Add mustard seeds and sauté for another 15 seconds, then add the chicken. Cook for 2 minutes, then add water and vinegar.
  3. Simmer over low to medium heat or until chicken is tender, adjusting seasonings to taste. This curry is better if served the day after you cook it; just store it in the fridge and heat before serving.

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3 thoughts on “Portuguese Debal Curry”

  1. TRACY - January 14, 2019 at 9:14 pm

    So glad to have found this thank you

  2. James Stuart White - January 22, 2019 at 7:48 pm

    This is a “Must Try”

  3. Diana - April 25, 2020 at 10:06 pm

    Tried the fish devil’# curry in Sri Lanka last year and fall in love with the taste


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