Sri Lankan Devilled Chicken (or other protein)

(45 min. + marinating time) — serves 6-8)

1 t. raw red chili powder
1 t. paprika
1 t. turmeric
1/2 t. black pepper
1 t. salt
2 t. lime juice
6 chicken thighs, deboned and cut into bite-size pieces
1 large yellow onion
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled
1 large tomato
3 Thai green chilies or jalapeños (optional)
3 T ketchup
1 red bell pepper (or banana peppers)
vegetable oil for frying

This same devilled recipe is traditionally adapted for shrimp, fish, pork, beef, soya chunks, etc. — any protein. If you want to make it to homestyle levels of truly devilish spice, use 2 t. chili powder, skipping the paprika, and be sure to include the green chilies too. You can also deep-fry the protein instead of pan-frying, which will give a beautifully crispy texture; in that case, remove most of the oil before adding onions, etc. to the pan.

1. Mix first five spices and lime juice in a large bowl; add chicken pieces and mix until well coated. Marinate three hours (or overnight).

2. Peel and slice onion. For the ginger and garlic, grate the ginger finely into a bowl (a microplane grater makes this easy). Crush in the garlic. Mix them together. (Alternately, use 1-2 t. pre-made ginger-garlic paste.) Cut tomato into large chunks. Mince green chilies if using. Chop red bell pepper.

3. Heat oil on high; add chicken and sear, turning to brown all sides. Remove to a large plate.

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4. In the same pan, sauté onions, garlic, and ginger in oil on medium-high until golden, stirring. (Add a little water or red wine if needed, to scrape up the delicious fond on the bottom of the pan.)

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5. Add green chilies or jalapeños (if desired) and ketchup; cook into a red sauce.

6. Add chicken, bell pepper, and tomatoes to pan and simmer 5-10 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and sauce has thickened. Serve hot, over rice.

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