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Is The Devil's Curry As Spicy As It Is Named?
Debal Curry, also known as Devil’s Curry, is one of the great identity markers of the Kristang community, a group of Portuguese descent in Peninsular Malaysia's southwest coast's Malacca. This dish is aptly named due to its spice level, but it also boasts other delicious and balanced flavors, and earlier versions weren't even spicy at all.
Debal Curry was a Christmas tradition for the Kristang community that is said to have arrived from Portugal in the 16th century. The dish initially did not contain chilis, since the Portuguese were quite spice-averse, but their interactions with Malacca communities and the blending of cultures has led to the modern, spicy iteration of the curry.
Debal Curry is made of chicken or pork spare ribs, red chilies, dried chilies, ginger, turmeric root, large onions, mustard seeds, and galangal. The spices are combined with a sauce of white vinegar, tomato ketchup, sugar, mustard powder, English mustard, soy sauce, salt, and water, and the dish is often served with steamed rice.
Today, this curry can get very fiery indeed, as some recipes include as much as 10 freshly ground red chilies and 10 dried chilies. You will surely enjoy the "devil's" curry if you’re a fan of spice, but the dish also offers plenty of flavor behind the fire, and is a true Eurasian creation that allows you to taste many cultures in one bite.