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Devil’s chicken recipe

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Adjust Servings:
1 whole Chicken about 1.6 kg (3 lb 8 oz)
2 fl oz/¼ cup (60 ml) Vegetable Oil
2 large Onion quartered
6 Garlic cloves chopped
5 cm (2 inch) chunk fresh Ginger peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
2 large Red Chillies
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
2 tablespoons Sugar
1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
4 fl oz/½ cup (125 ml) White Vinegar
6–8 small waxy Potatoes peeled
steamed basmati or long-grain White Rice to serve
Spice Paste
30 dried Chiles about 5 cm (2 inches) long
8 red Asian Shallots chopped
3 cm (1¼ inch) chunk fresh Turmeric peeled and chopped
3 cm (1¼ inch) chunk fresh Galangal peeled and chopped
2 Lemongrass stems white part only sliced
teaspoon brown Brown Mustard Seeds
1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil

Devil’s chicken recipe

  • Serves 4
  • Medium


  • Spice Paste



To ‘devil’ food means to cook it with spice or chilli heat, although the spice heat in English dishes such as devilled kidneys or eggs has nothing on Asian devilled recipes, where it isn’t unusual to see cupfuls of dried chillies added. Don’t be put off by all the dried chillies here; it all balances out in the end. Still, a little fear and trepidation are what you want with hot food. You want to look at a chilli jam, harissa or sambal and be a little afraid. A wheat beer goes wickedly well with this.



To make the spice paste, snap the hard stem end off the dried chillies, then shake out and discard the seeds. This will remove the heat, but leave that lovely chilli flavour. Soak the chillies in a bowl of boiling water for about 30 minutes.


Roughly chop the chillies, placing them in a food processor. Add the remaining spice paste ingredients and blend for 2–3 minutes, adding 2–3 tablespoons water to make a thick, chunky paste. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until needed.


Use a large knife or cleaver to chop the chicken. To do this, remove each leg and thigh from the body, then cut between the leg and thigh joint to give four pieces in total. Remove the wings, then cut off and discard the wing tips. (I generally remove the entire part of the chicken under the breasts and reserve it for making stock.) This will leave both breasts intact to the breastbone. Cut lengthways between the breastbone cartilage. Cut each breast crossways into three pieces to give six pieces. You will now have 12 pieces of chicken, so put them all in a bowl and refrigerate until needed.


Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan over high heat. Cook the onion, garlic, ginger, chillies and salt for 2–3 minutes, stirring the onion around so the individual segments separate and soften.


Add the spice paste and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 5–6 minutes, or until fragrant, making sure you don’t burn the paste. Add the chicken and stir to coat all over in the spices.


Increase the heat to high. Stir in the sugar, soy sauce, vinegar and 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) water, then bring the sauce to the boil. Add the potatoes, reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes, by which time the chicken and potatoes will be cooked through and the sauce will take on a fiery colour. Serve with rice.


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