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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Devil Curry

                      Devil Curry is quintessentially a Eurasian dish and 9/10 you will find this served on Christmas or any other celebration in Eurasian households & most Eurasians, like yours truly, will say that their mum, grandmother or aunt makes the best Devil Curry.

                    For me, my aunt makes the best!!! Normally when we cook any kind of curries, it needs a day in the fridge before the taste kicks in so I was very surprised when my aunt made this for me; it tasted good on the day of cooking itself and I resolved that I was going to learn from her and learn from her, I did.

                    Armed with my note book & pencil, I asked her what she used & as she, rattled away, I wrote them down and for her there was no actual measurement; just this & that; etc. etc. but me when I cooked it; I religiously measured what I put in, according to her, of course.  I have always been one who aimed for consistency, not only in baking but also in my cooking.  I wanted to be able to reproduce a dish at the drop of a hat and haha, to block out murmurings from hub & children "It tasted better the last time you made it!!!" Prior to learning from her, I did not really enjoy the Devil Curry I made as I found that it lacked something but, really, couldnt put my finger to the elusive thing.  From her, I learnt the secret to her Devil Curry; was to cook it for about 40 - 60 minutes on real slow, slow fire so that the juice from the chicken will emit into the gravy & till the potatoes are cooked & she used S&W Distilled Vinegar.  No wonder when I cooked b4 I used the local vinegar; so this time round when I cooked it about a month ago, I bought the Heinz brand as I couldnt find the S&W brand then & I was able to gauge the actual difference. Thank you Aunty Lily for this awesome curry and I shall knight you "The Devil Curry Queen". So this is what I came up with. Ophelia.


                     125 gm               Shallots approximately 15
                       20 gm               Garlic approcimately 4
                       18 gm                Lengkuas
                       30 gm                Lemon Grass/Serai [3 Serai]
                       20 gm                Fresh Kunyit
                       20 gm                Ginger
                       20 gm                toasted Belacan
                          7 pieces          Buah Keras


                      110 gm                Fresh Red Chillies, remove the seeds
                          5                      *Red Chilli Padi
                       35 gm                  Dried Chillies, remove the seeds [For the dried Chillies
                                                   take a big handful, remove the seeds then weigh 35 gm]


                           1 Tablesp             *Mustard Seeds
                                                        *sufficient Oil for frying


                           1.5 kg                   whole Chicken legs, chop into pieces
                              4                        medium size Potatoes, quartered
                                                        *Water should be slightly below level of the Chicken
                                                           & Potatoes 

                           1 - 1 1/2 Tabsp     S&W Distilled Vinegar


                       1 level teasp     Ajinomoto [sorry folks she said you have to add some Ajinomoto]
                                                  OR substitute the Ajinomoto for 1/2 - 1 Tablesp Sugar
  1. Blend "A" & "B" till quite fine.
  2. *Heat the oil sufficiently hot then add in the *Mustard seeds. Once the Mustard seeds starts popping throw in your blended ingredients & tumis/fry till fragrant.
  3. Add in the chopped chicken & Potatoes & fry for about 5 minutes. 
  4. Add *sufficient water [slightly lower than the level of the meat & potatoes] bring it to a Boil, stirring intermittenly.
  5. Once boiling Reduce fire to the lowest & let it simmer for 40 - 60 minutes; stirring intermittenly so that it doesnt get burnt at the bottom, till potatoes & meat cooked. Half way through add sufficient salt, Ajinomoto OR Sugar.
  6. After 40 minutes check whether Potatoes are soft.  If both are cooked, add the Distilled Vinegar, stir & cook for 5 minutes still on low fire in order for the vinegar to incorporate.  Check for taste. [*If you feel that curry is too thick for you, add some water, bring to boil & Check for taste, adjust if necessary]

                      a)  I didnt take the seeds out of the Chilli Padi;

                      b)  *Mustard seeds - when you fry Mustard seeds the oil Must NOT be too hot as they get burnt easily.  Once it starts jumping around, add in the blended ingredients;

                      c)  *Water should not be the same level of the meat & potatoes. This curry should be quite thick as in the picture above.  Thus if you find that the curry is too thick, it gives you room to adjust & add some water & some seasoning.  For me, I love when the curry is quite thick. 

                       d) *Oil for frying the blended ingredients should BE quite alot.  My mother-in-law, a great Peranak cook, used to tell me that when you fry any rempah ie the blended ingredients, there should be sufficient oil otherwise it wouldnt be so fragrant and if you want, you may scoop out the oil after it has been cooked.

                        e) Finally if you see the pictures at the bottom, dont be surprised that you can see two sets of rempah; different from what is written in my method.  The method above is as per my aunt's recipe. Follow that if you like.  In the cooking aspect, I wanted to follow what my Chef used to teach us i.e. Blend ingredients "A" first then scoop it out then blend ingredient "B".  Then fry "A" first till fragrant then add in "B" fry till fragrant then followed by Steps 3 - 6.   My Chef who excels in Thai cooking as his sister in law is a Thai, taught us whenever we fry rempah, to blend "A" & "B" separately then fry "A" first till fragrant then "B".  Although it may entail a bit more work, I do believe it raises the bar AND needless to say I always follow his method as I feel that it gives "A" which has the Belacan in it, a better chance to be more fragrant as it is not over powered by the Chilli portion.

                                        Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia.

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