Monday, December 30, 2013

What the Devil

Ellice Handy's Curry Devil
Devil Curry (also called Curry Debal, Curry Devil, etc) is one of those classic Eurasian dishes, for which every household has their own special recipe and their own traditions surrounding when they cook/prepare it.  But, one key characteristic of this dish is that it is cooked with leftover meats.  So, most households will make it after Christmas Day - a good way to use up all that leftover turkey!  I must admit that in my household, we don't cook this particular dish.  We normally don't have turkey on Christmas Day in the first place.  It's roast lamb and cold ham for us.  That's why I often end making gammon curry instead.  And for some reason, we just don't make it other times of the year.  

This year, however, my uncle turned up on Christmas Day with a lovely roast turkey, complete with all the accompaniments of stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce and even a lovely little cranberry and apple relish.  Of course, we could not finish the turkey.  I turned to my recipe books for a good Curry Devil. I read through the lengthy lists of ingredients (including roast pork, potatoes, cucumber and even cabbage).  But my mother had only one recipe in mind - Ellice Handy's recipe out of her 'My Favourite Recipes" cookbook.  That was the version her mother used and if was good enough for her mother, it was good enough for us.  No potatoes, no cucumber, no cabbage.  No roast pork even (my mother wouldn't have minded, but we didn't have any in the house).  It was just the leftover roast turkey meat and some sausages.  

This is a nice, simple recipe to cook.  And since the meat is all cooked up, it's pretty fast too.  I doubled the quantities in Ellice Handy's recipe since I was using far more than 1/2 pound of meat.  Also some slight variations here and there. It's one wicked dish!

Here we go:


4 slices of ginger, cut into short strips
2 large onions, sliced
Leftover meats (I used about a quarter of a turkey, plus 3 sausages, sliced)
(1 tablespoon of brown mustard seeds, optional)
3 tablespoons of tomato paste (or use 2 large tomatoes, sliced)
2 teaspoons of mustard (Coleman's)
4 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar

Spice paste
12 shallots, peeled
2 cloves of garlic
10 dried chillis, soaked in warm water till soft and cut up (add more chillis for extra wickedness!)
4 fresh chillis 
1 teaspoon of tumeric powder
1 teaspoon of belacan, toasted
3-4 buah keras (candlenuts)

1.  Prepare the spice paste, pounding ingredients together (or use a food processor like me). 
2. Fry the ginger and large onions in a large pan till soft.  Add in the mustard seeds (cover the pan until they have popped).
3.  Add the spice paste, fry till fragrant.  Add the leftover meat and sausages.
4.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Continue to cook, adding a little water (keep it a dry curry though) for some gravy.  Ready when the gravy thickens a little.

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