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Malaysian Devil Curry

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Devil curry is a dish that isn’t made daily. It’s a real special occasion curry.

If you haven’t tried Malaysian devil curry before, it’s time you did. The good news is that it’s a curry that is cooked on special occasions with leftovers.

I did exactly that when I cooked my devil curry but I’ll give you other ideas in the text that follows. You can make this with Sunday dinner leftover, Christmas leftovers, Thanksgiving… Devil curry offers an excellent and delicious way to give those leftovers new life.



Devil Curry

Use up those leftovers with this delicious Malaysian curry recipe.

What is devil curry?

If you’ve ever tried Portuguese dishes such as pork vinho d’alhos or other Portuguese inspired recipes like this Goan pork vindaloo, you will most definitely see the Portuguese inspiration here.  As with those recipes, vinegar or sour wine plays a bit role in the flavouring of the curry. 

It’s that vinegar flavour that makes curry devil or devil curry different to other Malaysian style curries. The main ingredients that go into the curry can change depending on what you have on hand.

Although I made my devil curry using fresh marinated chicken, this is a perfect curry for using up cooked turkey at Christmas or pork. Both are popular in Malaysia. You could even through in some roast potatoes or sausages as you will see in the photos below.

The history of Devil curry…

During the Age of Discovery, the Portuguese conquered Malaysia and in doing so, one of the most important trading ports in Melaka in the south west of Malaysia. Unlike the British, the Portuguese tended to blend in to the places they conquered, marrying local women and setting up home.

The women would cook using the techniques and ingredients they were familiar with but obviously started using vinegar in this dish to please their husbands. Nowadays, curry devil or Kari Debal as it’s called there is made on special occasions such as big family gatherings.

Can devil curry be frozen?

Yes! There is nothing in curry devil that won’t freeze well. In fact, some people think it actually improves after freezing. 


I’m one of those people. When I made this devil curry, I had been cooking all day and wasn’t hungry at all. So I froze it and tried in a month later. We’re talking delicious!

How can this devil curry be made with leftover turkey or pork?

At the beginning of this recipe, you marinate the chicken in soy sauce. This step will obviously need to be skipped if you’re using leftover turkey.

When using cooked turkey or another meat, simply pour the soy sauce into the sauce. The recipe will also cook faster as you don’t need to cook the meat through.

Why is it called curry devil?

You’ll have a good idea why when you try it. This one is quite spicy. It can be made a lot spicier than I made it too. Just add more chillies.

Step by step Photographs…

Ingredients for devil curry

Gather your ingredients before you start cooking. It’s easier that way.

Blending curry paste ingredients

Blend the paste ingredients together and set aside.

Adding mustard seeds and chillies to the wok

Heat the oil in a wok over medium high heat and add the mustard seeds. When they begin to crackle, add the whole chillies.

Adding curry paste to the wok

Stir in the prepared paste and fry for a couple of minutes.

Adding tomato puree to the wok and stirring it into the curry paste

Stir in the tomato puree.

Adding marinated chicken to the sauce

Now stir in the marinated chicken and cover it in the paste.

Simmering chicken, potatoes and sausages.

Add a little stock or water to help the chicken cook through. Then stir in any leftovers you might have on hand. add the black pepper, salt, sugar and more vinegar to taste.

Devil curry

Serve with white rice and enjoy!

Devil curry

I think you’re going to love this one.


If you like this Malaysian devil curry recipe, you might also like to try some of these.

Indonesian Chicken Sate
Indonesian Fried Chicken
Sambal Oelek – Indonesian hot sauce
Chicken with Sambal Matah
Babi Kecap
Spicy Green Beans Indonesian Style
Indonesian Bakso
Ikan Bakar – Indonesian Fried Fish
Nasi Goreng
Mee Goreng
Sambal La La – Spicy Clams
Indonesian Blackened Fish
Seafood Laksa
Chicken Rendang
Beef Rendang
Butter Egg Floss Prawns
Malaysian Chicken Curry
Soto Ayam
Ayam Masak Merah – Malaysian Red Chicken Curry
Chicken Kapitan
Homemade Kecap Manis

Have you tried this Malaysian devil curry recipe?

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Yield: 4

Malaysian Devil Curry

Devil curry


  • 1k (2 lbs.) bone in chicken thighs
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp white wine or rice vinegar
  • 15 dried red chillies soaked in water for 20 minutes
  • 2 fresh red bird’s eye or spur chillies, roughly chopped
  • 10 shallots, roughly chopped
  • 5 Candle nuts or 8 Macadamia nuts
  • 6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 lemon grass stalks, thinly sliced
  • 2.5cm (1 inch) ginger, roughly chopped
  • 2.5cm (1 inch) galangal, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree - I mix passata and water
  • Leftovers such as roast potatoes if you like
  • Pinch of sugar
  • salt to taste
  • 4 whole green finger chillies (optional)


  1. Marinate the chicken pieces in the soy sauce and vinegar while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Place all of the ingredients for the paste in a blender and blend until smooth, adding just enough water to blend. Set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a large sauce pan for a minute and add the mustard seeds. When they begin to pop, stir in the whole chillies and continue cooking for about 30 seconds. Add the paste to the pan and heat through while continually stirring for 2 or 3 minutes until a nice fragrant and the oil starts to separate and rise to the top.
  4. Add the tomato puree to the pan and stir well to combine. Stir in the chicken pieces and add just enough water to cover. Simmer until the chicken is about half cooked through and the sauce has thickened some.
  5. If you have any leftovers such as sausages or roast potatoes, this is a good time to add them and heat them through.
  6. To finish, season with salt to taste. You can also add a little sugar if you prefer a sweeter flavour. I usually add a bit more vinegar too.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 850Total Fat: 75gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 59gCholesterol: 60mgSodium: 813mgCarbohydrates: 79gFiber: 17gSugar: 24gProtein: 32g

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