Traditional Devil’s Curry Recipe

This type of curry is spicy and delicious. It is flavoured with galangal, candlenuts and vinegar, and originates from the Eurasian Kristang culinary tradition in Singapore and Malacca. Devil’s curry is a popular dish for Christmas and other special occasions. Malacca, Malaysia, was the most important trading post in Southeast Asia in the 15th century, and the Sultanate of Malacca was a powerful empire.

The Portuguese conquered the area in 1511 and colonized Malaysia. A lot of Portuguese settled down there, marrying local woman, and this is how the Cristang/Eurasian community started. Devil’s curry is a dish they created for special occasions. The recipe is made with shallots, garlic, red chilli peppers, ginger, galangal, ginger, lemongrass, and turmeric.

A Not-So-Secret Ingredient

Vinegar is added to this curry to add a sharp flavour to it, and you can expect the finished dish to be spicy, complex and unique. This recipe makes enough for four servings, and you can serve it with rice.

This recipe calls for tamarind juice. To make it, combine 3 tablespoons of tamarind pulp with a little more than 75ml of water, then squeeze the pulp with your fingers to get the juice out. You can throw the pulp and seeds away.


For the Spice Paste


  1. Put all the spice paste ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy pot.
  3. Add the mustard seeds and cook until they start to pop.
  4. Add the spice paste to the pot and fry for 12 minutes or until fragrant.
  5. Then add the chicken and stir to coat.
  6. Cook for 8 minutes.
  7. Add the potatoes and stir again.
  8. Add enough water to barely cover the chicken and potatoes.
  9. Next, add sugar and salt to taste.
  10. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  11. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
  12. Taste and add more salt and/or sugar if necessary.
  13. Stir in the vinegar.
  14. You can garnish the finished curry with coriander if liked.