The curfew cuisine diary from Sri Lanka: Fire's the devil's only friend
What to do with leftovers, Sri Lankan style
Seventy Four Days. The lockdown isn't quite over as yet. We still have curfew from 10pm to 4:00am daily. The 4 and 5 June are going to be two days – 48 hours – of curfew. On one hand, our government is doing its best to stop the community stage of the virus. On the other hand, they continue to play politics, allowing people whose votes they need in the upcoming election to meet en mass. Still, we're doing better than the States...
But you didn't open this page to read politics. I apologise.
Today's recipe is something unique to my family, I believe, because it's not available in any restaurant anywhere in the Island. That's not saying something similar would exist, somewhere, because the idea behind it is really simple, but I've yet to come across it anywhere in the world.
It's all to do with leftovers.
Before I go into this in detail, I have a bit of explaining to do; my family is fifth generation Sri Lankan. Our ancestors landed here in the early 19th century. The family has made this incredible, serendipitous island our home for three hundred years. We were Ceylonese, and now we are Sri Lankan, and proud of it. We are also Christian and we celebrate Christmas, big time, with a dinner where all the family's friends join us for a traditional Christmas dinner (there will be a separate post, promise). We cater for anything between 60 to 80 people and there is a lot left over. Hence the 'invention' of, The Devil.
The Devil is actually a curry. It has in it a range of cold cuts, roast meats and vegetables – the vegetables are generally fresh – from the leftovers of the Christmas dinner. In no order of preference, there's lamb, pork, duck, turkey, beef and chicken. Roasted, grilled, salted and smoked meats are supplemented with salamis and hams.
These are put into a large – very large º saucepan, in which the basic curry ingredients are lightly "tempered". Onions, ginger, garlic are all fried until they become translucent, The meats are added and stirred in, in batches. Water (not the usual coconut milk) is added, as is a generous slug of local Arrack! Curry and chilli powders are added next. For it to be a true Devil Curry, add enough chilli powder to bring beads of sweat to the foreheads of those enjoying it.
Everything is brought to a boil, and then allowed to simmer until the veg (mainly potatoes, leeks and carrot) are tender. It's then that mustard seeds are added and they take the curry to the next level.
The Deviled Curry, with lentils and bread makes for an awesome dinner.