Are you experiencing a sense of déjà vu with this slow cooker devil curry recipe? Well, there’s a good reason why. If you’ve been a loyal follower of Butterkicap since our very beginning (or at least since December last year), you may have come across a recipe for the heritage Eurasian dish, devil curry. It is, admittedly not one of the nation’s more popular curries, with fish head curry, chicken curry and even Thai green curry edging out this humble curry by miles. But it is one with a long (if vague) history in Malaysia, with roots going back to the arrival of the Portuguese merchant ships sometime in the 1500s. Assuming it took some years to come about while the Portuguese settled among the Nyonya community in particular, this dish could very well be over 400 years old!
Compared to that, the slow cooker (or crock pot as it is also known as) is just a baby, patented in 1940 by its creator, Irving Nachumsohn. However, it was only in the 1970s that the slow cooker became truly popular, with an enthusiastic renewed interest occurring in recent years, and for good reason.
Slow cooker cooking is generally quite fuss free, requiring little to no attention once all your ingredients are in the pot. There’s no need to slave over a stove, tirelessly stirring away to ensure your food doesn’t burn. It can be left to its own devices while you sleep, go to work, head out for a movie, do a school run, and so on. The lower cooking temperatures are also believed to retain more nutrients compared to ingredients exposed to quick but higher cooking temperatures, making your meals generally more nutritious.
Most recipes also benefit from the slow cooking method as the longer cooking time allows richer, bolder flavours to develop. Meals like soup and curry, which always tastes better the next day, are extra tasty when made with a slow cooker. We’ve been very happy campers with the various slow cooker curries we’ve made in our Kitchen Lab, and knew we had to take it to task and try making slow cooker devil curry, which requires some cooking time with minimal stirring – the perfect candidate!
The devil is in the details
Slow cooker devil curry, while spicy, is not the typical kind of curry you may be familiar with. For one thing, no curry powder or curry leaves are used in the making of this heritage Eurasian dish. You have to cook everything from scratch as you’re not going to find a devil curry powder mix available at your local supermarket. At least not yet.
To be fair, if you want to be really authentic with your curry, curry powder – be they for meat, chicken, vegetables or fish – can (and perhaps should) be made from scratch. However, you do have to be a bit of a spice expert and be willing to take the time to roast, grind and then mix the various spices for the different curries.
Making devil curry from scratch, on the other hand, is easy. It may seem deceptively complex and intimidating at first, especially when you come face to face with its whopping list of 20-something ingredients. But when you actually get down to the cooking, especially for slow cooker devil curry, you may just be gobsmacked by how simple it is to actually make. And because it requires so little fuss, we may never go back to cooking devil curry over a stove again!
Curious? Let’s go make some.
- 1.5kg chicken pieces, about 8-10 thighs, drumsticks, breasts or your favourite cuts
- 3g (1 tsp) mustard seeds
- 370g (4 medium) potatoes, peeled & quartered
- 300 ml water
- 125g (1 large) red onion, cut into 6 segments
- 40g (2) red chilies, cut into 3
- 20g sugar
- 20g sea salt
- 80g distilled white vinegar
- 50g cooking oil
- 90g garlic cloves, peeled
- 125g shallots, peeled
- 14g (2 stalks) lemongrass, white parts only
- 24g ginger, peeled & cut small
- 6g turmeric, cut small
- 10g galangal, cut small
- 78g rehydrated dried chilies, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes (weight is after rehydration)
- 110g fresh chilies
- 40g candlenuts
- 70g cooking oil
Ten easy steps to making slow cooker devil curry
- Blend all aromatic ingredients until fine. Add a little water to aid in the blending process if necessary. You can also use a food processor.
- Set your slow cooker to the sauté/sear function and add 50g cooking oil.
- Next, add mustard seeds and let them cook until they start popping. You’ll notice this starts happening when the slow cooker reaches the “maintain pressure” setting.
- Add blended aromatics and sauté, stirring occasionally until it starts browning on the bottom, about 7 to 8 minutes.
- Add chicken pieces and stir until evenly coated.
- Then, add potatoes and stir through.
- Finally, add the rest of the ingredients and give everything a good stir.
- Cover and set your cooker on high temperature for 3 hours.
- Once the cooking period is over, taste for salt, sugar and vinegar and make adjustments if necessary. Don’t know if your curry has enough vinegar? The curry should taste pleasantly sour, but not overwhelm you with vinegary fumes.
- That’s it! Serve with rice or bread. Yum!
- When cooked over the stove top, we typically use a whole chicken cut into small pieces to ensure they cook faster and more evenly. However, as we’re using the slow cooker, larger chicken cuts are perfect. However, make sure to include some bony pieces for extra flavour.
- Like it extra spicy? Up the rehydrated and fresh chilies in the aromatic ingredients.
- The Philips all-in-one cooker comes with a nifty sauté/sear function which we used to sauté our aromatics. If your slow cooker doesn’t have that function, do steps 1 to 4 in a regular pot over medium heat on a stove top and then transfer the ingredients to your slow cooker, bearing in mind that the timing will be different.
- If you like a wetter slow cooker devil curry, add a little more water. Conversely, as water in a slow cooker doesn’t evaporate very much during the cooking process, don’t use as much water if you prefer your devil curry dryer.
- Depending on the strength of the vinegar you use, you may need to add a little more or less depending on your preference.
- Finally, if you’re left with a lot of oil floating on the surface of your devil curry, scoop it out before serving.
- If you prefer to cook your slow cooker devil curry overnight or when you’re out at work, set it on low temperature for 6 hours.
When the devil freezes over…
Devil curry is excellent for freezing and can keep for about three months, so don’t forget to freeze your leftovers or make an extra batch or two. You’ll be very glad when you’re having one of those days when there’s just no time or you can’t be bothered to do anything and the only cooking you want to do is press a few buttons on the microwave. Before you dig in though, don’t forget to snap that picture and share it with us by using the #butterkicap hashtag. Got that? Let’s get devilish!
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