Courtesy Cheryl Miles

Serves 6
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Devil Curry is a popular Christmas dish amongst Eurasians in Singapore and Malaysia. Here, Singapore radio personality Cheryl Miles shares her family recipe for devil curry but without the meat. She explains, “Unlike other curries, which use curry powder, this dish uses mustard powder with a touch of vinegar. It is meant to be spicy but the flavours should be well-balanced. The spice level of this recipe below is very mild, so feel free to add more chilli padi is you like more kick.”

As well as her radio and hosting work, Cheryl has self published a range of cookbooks, including her latest eco-friendly e-cookbook on vegan cooking called “Good Vibes In The Kitchen: 20 Meatless Recipes For Kindness” It’s full of fun, familiar favourites, but with a vegan twist! You can buy it on her website



  • 500 g shallots or red onion
  • 15 cloves garlic
  • 40 g blue ginger (or galangal)
  • 50 g old ginger
  • 6 candlenuts
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 25-30 dried chillies, soaked in hot water for 10 mins
  • 3-5 chilli padis, seeds removed (if you like hotter curry, leave seeds in)
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder


  • 2 tsps mustard powder
  • 3 tbsps vinegar
  • 2 tsps white sugar


  • ½ cup canola oil
  • The blended spices above, the vinegar paste
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1-2 big red chillies, sliced
  • Small knob of ginger, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsps salt
  • 2 vegan stock cubes
  • 4 cups water
  • 400 g firm tofu (or tau kwa), diced
  • 500 g eggplant or brinjal, sliced
  • 680 g potatoes (about 3 large potatoes)
  • The spice blend & the vinegar paste


  • Fresh chopped cilantro leaves
  • Hot rice
  • Steamed or stir fried vegetables like kailan (Chinese kale) or long beans

Prepare all the ingredients. To avoid crying, skin the shallots/onions leaving the roots on. Cut the roots off last.


Place all the spice paste ingredients in a food processor. Add a tablespoon of water (or more) if needed to get the blender going. Blend the spice paste until it’s fine. Set aside.


In a cast iron pot or stock pot, heat up the oil on medium heat. Once hot, add mustard seeds, ginger slices and chilli. Fry until mustard seeds start to pop. Add blended spice paste and cook for about 20 mins, on low heat, stirring constantly to ensure it doesn’t burn.


Next, add the water and vegan stock cubes. Peel potatoes and chop into large chunks. Add to the pot. Allow to simmer uncovered for about 30 mins or until the curry thickens. Stir periodically. 


In a small bowl, make the vinegar paste. Add this a tablespoon at a time to the curry to allow the flavours to mix in. The sugar neutralizes the acidity of the curry and balances the spiciness of the chillies. It shouldn’t make the curry taste sweet. 


Add the tofu and eggplant and cook for about 10 mins more. Do not overcook or the diced tofu will crumble and disintegrate into the curry. Taste test before adding 2 tsps of salt, or more if needed.


Serve with hot rice, a sprinkle of fresh cilantro and a side of stir-fried vegetables.

TIP This curry tastes better when kept overnight. It can be kept refrigerated for up to 5 days. The meat version can be frozen but as this contains vegetables, keep it in the fridge and eat it quickly! 

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