If you love spicy food, you’ll love this Sri Lankan Devil’s Chicken from the October 2011 issue of Canadian Living. Drumsticks marinate briefly in salt and turmeric before being browned. The heat comes from a tomato-vinegar-cayenne-garlic sauce, dried hot peppers and fresh hot peppers. I used dried cayenne peppers, fresh cayenne peppers and a habanero, but you could use jalapenos or hot banana peppers if you want to tone down the heat. The recipe calls for curry leaves but I could not find them; the recipe was great without them. Don’t substitute curry powder, as its flavour is much different than that of curry leaves. This recipe is a keeper – spicy and delicious!

To avoid additives and preservatives in this recipe, make sure the vinegar, tomato paste, turmeric and paprika don’t contain colour, sulfites or other artificial ingredients.

Marinate drumsticks in salt and turmeric

Grind dried hot peppers

Chop hot peppers, scallions and add a cinnamon stick

Make tomato-vinegar-cayenne-garlic-paprika sauce

Brown drumsticks well

Saute onions, peppers and spices

Return chicken to pan

Simmer until the chicken is done

Sri Lankan Devil's Chicken


8 chicken drumsticks

¾ tsp (4 mL) salt

½ tsp (2 mL) turmeric

¼ cup (50 mL) malt vinegar or cider vinegar

4 tsp (18 mL) tomato paste

2 tsp (10 mL) granulated sugar

1 tsp (5 mL) cayenne pepper

1 large clove garlic, minced

½ tsp (2 mL) hot paprika

5 dried red hot pepper

3 tbsp (45 mL) vegetable oil

2 cups (500 mL) chopped onion

3 green onions, cut in large chunks

1 red finger hot pepper, thinly sliced

1 green finger hot pepper, thinly sliced

10 fresh curry leaves

1 cinnamon stick

2 cups (500 mL) chopped tomato


Pat chicken dry. Combine chicken, three-quarters of the salt, and the turmeric; cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Stir together vinegar, tomato paste, sugar, cayenne pepper, garlic, paprika, remaining salt and ¼ cup water. In mortar with pestle, pound dried hot peppers until broken. Set hot peppers and vinegar mixture aside separately.

In wok or large skillet, heat 1 tbsp of the oil over medium heat; brown chicken, in batches if necessary, about 15 minutes. Transfer to plate.

Increase heat to medium-high; add remaining oil to pan. Sauté chopped onion until golden, about 5 minutes. Add pounded hot peppers; stir in green onions, red and green hot peppers, curry leaves and cinnamon; cook until vegetables are softened, about 2 minutes.

Add tomato; return chicken and any accumulated juices to pan. Stir in vinegar mixture; cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Uncover and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.

From the October 2011 issue of Canadian Living