Despite being married to a Eurasian family, I have never attempted to make any Eurasian dishes. Partly because they always seem to involve long, complex, laborious procedures and some advanced sorcery unavailable to common mortals. Plus the hubby himself hates Eurasian food. But last week something simply possessed me to make Devil's Curry. I am not sure why. I don't know what a good one tastes like - every family has a different interpretation - and I don't really care for the vinegary aspect of the curry.
But I thought I'd try it anyway, and make one that I would like. Minus the copious amounts of vinegar. Would it work? Would it still be Devil's Curry? Heck, who cares so long as it's edible!
I looked at recipes - they ranged from surprisingly simple to painful. Some had so many ingredients! Others involved chicken, duck and pork partying together. I was stunned to discover there's no coconut milk in this curry at all. It all the more enforced how little I knew about Eurasian food. But one thing I did know - I wanted bacon bones in my curry for added flavour!
So here's my rather bastardised version of Devil's Curry. All measurements are very, very approximate, as I didn't keep track of my experiment but improvised as I went along. Feel free to adjust to your own preference.
One chicken breast, cubed and marinated with Worcester sauce or BBQ sauce, soy sauce, pepper and a splash of vinegar (optional, just there to pay homage to the dish's original tangy character)
400g bacon bones
3 potatoes, cubed
Mustard seeds - 2 teaspoons
Oil for frying
Chilli paste 4/5 tablespoons
Lemongrass - 3 stalks
Turmeric - two 2cm pieces, peeled
Galangal - 50g or two knobs
Shallots - 10 pcs
Garlic - 7-8 cloves
1. Brown bacon bones and breathe in the divine aroma of sizzling bacon. Then add 1.5L or so water to boil for an hour or two to make stock (it will reduce a fair bit). Add 1 teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons sugar.
2. Meanwhile pound or blend the rempah/spices.
3. Toast mustard seeds until they pop.
4. Add 5tbsp oil and fry the rempah mix on low-to-medium heat until oil separates. About 20mins.
5. Brown chicken and set aside.
6. Brown potatoes separately add spice mix. Add chicken and stir-fry for a couple of minutes. See potatoes and chicken gloriously absorb the wonderful colours of the spices.
7. Add bacon bones and stock to the whole thing. Cook for another 15 mins, until potatoes are cooked, and the curry is at the desired thickness or consistency. Season further to taste if necessary.
What can I say? Bacon makes everything taste good.