So this dish is one of my favorite Sri Lankan dishes. It is called Chicken Devel, or Devilled Chicken, and it is an extremely flavorful recipe. It is not a curry, but it does use curry leaves. If you do not like curry flavor you can absolutely leave out the leaves to suit your taste preference. This recipe was taught to me by the owner of a home stay that Alona and I stayed at in Kandy.
The best part about this dish is just how easy it is to make. While I am going to give you ingredient measurements, you can just as easily adjust more or less to suit your taste. This is what makes cooking so fun. If you like Sri Lankan food, you can make my authentic recipe for Sri Lankan Roti for breakfast, or Ambul Thiyal (Sour Fish Curry) for dinner. Both recipes were taught to me by my homestay host in Ella, Sri Lanka.
I personally find Sri Lankan food to be better than Indian food, and it is because the flavors are more balanced. Indian cuisine (and yes, I know how varied it can be) uses tons of great spices, but many times I feel the cook is just having a competition to see how many ingredients he can pack in his curry. I once had a curry that had 45 different spices. It wasn’t very good.
While this dish does have quite a few ingredients, you can leave some out if you don’t like that flavor. I also know that curry leaves can be difficult to find, so you can use just the curry powder if you so choose.
Chicken Devel Ingredients
500 grams Chicken; segmented. You can use light or dark meat.
1 Onion; yellow. Chopped.
4 cloves Garlic; minced.
1 tsp Ginger; crushed.
2 Chilies; pieces, can use red or green.
1 Tomato; medium sized. Chopped.
2 tsp Curry Powder (just blitzed coriander, cumin seeds, and fennel seeds)
2 Curry Leaves
1 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tbsp Lime Juice
2 tbsp Tomato Sauce
1 tsp Oyster Sauce
1 tsp Soy Sauce
1 tbsp Butter
1 tsp Salt; or to taste.
Chicken Devel Instructions
1. season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and let sit for 15 minutes.
2. In a pot, add the chicken pieces and then add just enough water to cover the meat. Turn on the heat and boil until the water is almost completely dissolved.
3. Keep the heat on high, and add the butter. Then add the curry powder, chili pieces, onion, crushed ginger, turmeric, tomato, and finally garlic. Mix well and let cook until fragrant.
4. Turn the heat down low and add the sauces. Toss to coat. Plate and drizzle over the lime juice and serve immediately.
Chicken devel can hold for 3 days in the refrigerator, and in my opinion the next day the flavors are even more infused. You can reheat easily in the microwave.
This dish is best served alongside steamed white rice, but fried rice is also popular.
Chicken Devel (Sri Lankan Devilled Chicken)
- 500 grams Chicken segmented, white or dark
- 1 Onion medium; chopped
- 4 cloves Garlic minced
- 2 Chilies red or green, large pieces
- 1 Tomato chopped
- 2 tsp Curry Powder (store bought is okay, but this is just blitzed coriander, cumin seeds, and fennel seeds)
- 2 Curry Leaves
- 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1 tbsp Lime Juice
- 2 tbsp Tomato Sauce
- 1 tsp Oyster Sauce
- 1 tsp Soy Sauce
- 1 tsp Salt or to taste
- 1 tbsp Butter or margarine
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper and let sit for 10 minutes.
- In a pot add the chicken and fill with enough water just to cover the meat. Bring to a boil and let boil until the water is almost completely evaporated.
- Then add the butter, curry powder, sliced chili pieces and stir. Let fry for a minute or two.
- Add in the onion, ginger, garlic, Turmeric powder, curry leaves, tomato, and salt. Mix well.
- Next turn the heat down low, add the three sauces, and stir to coat. Plate and drizzle over some lime juice. Serve immediately.
Chicken Devel / Sri Lankan Devilled Chicken
This recipe also features in my article Best Sri Lankan Recipes.
MarkApril 22, 2020 at 9:54 am
This is the best recipe I have found. I ate this on a trip to Colombo and have been trying to make something at home just as good.
buvaMarch 2, 2021 at 4:33 pm
this could be a sri lankan version of kung pao chicken or chicken manchurian
CookingToEntertainMarch 4, 2021 at 8:30 am
It basically is! It was originally created by Chinese immigrants to Sri Lanka during a large work migration about 100 years ago. There’s still a vibrant Chinatown in Colombo as well.
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[…] you have seen some of my Sri Lankan recipes, like my Chicken Devel or Ambul Thiyal then you might find some similarities in the spices used. However I will say now […]
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[…] another recipe I learned from the host of my homestay in Kandy. The other recipe posted is one for Chicken Devel. This Sri Lankan Dhal is a bit different than my prior Indian style one, and in my opinion it is […]