Macau’s Diabo, the most fascinating stew we’ve ever seen

Macau’s Diabo, the most fascinating stew we’ve ever seen


This week, we wanted to show you an old school
Macanese dish, Diabo – the devil’s stew. Now Macanese food with its Portugese, Cantonese,
and Eurasian influences has… always really fascinated us. This particular dish’s a direct descendant
from a Malaccan Portugese dish called Curry Debal – the devil’s curry.. which in itself
is also a mix of Portugese and Nyonya cooking. And just like curry debal, Diabo’s traditionally
eaten a bit after Christmastime, often as a way to use up leftover meats and such. So with the Chinese New Year right around
the corner, we thought it might be as good of a time as any to share what might just
be one of the most interesting dishes we’ve ever come across. So Diabo starts innocuously enough – with
a Portugese-style sufrito. So that’s a half an onion, finely minced;
three cloves of garlic, also finely minced, and two tomatoes, rinsed and degunked… and
also finely minced. Now quick tip that for this and basically
all sofrito like objects, the more obsessive you are about mincing these base ingredients,
the less obsessive you’ll need to be on the stove, and vice versa. Now diabo’ll generally use one of two oils
as a base: lard, or olive oil. In general, olive oil quality in China kinda
makes America look like Tuscany, so… we chose lard – five tablespoons worth. Just let that melt over a medium-low flame,
then toss in your minced onions. Now from what I’ve read, traditional Portugese
sufrito begins with ten minutes frying the onions, followed by ten minutes frying the
garlic, and a then final ten minutes cooking the tomatoes. That said, I am obviously very much not Portuguese,
so if any of you out there are feel free to correct me in the comments. But then after those ten minutes, swap the
flame to the lowest heat your stove’ll go an add in the minced garlic. I know that ten minutes does feel like a pretty
long time to fry minced garlic, so definitely trust your judgement here – if the garlic’s
beginning to brown at all, immediately on to to the next step. We did end up ok with the prescribed time
though, so then toss in the tomatoes together with a pinch of salt… and continue to cook
that down. Now quick note that I personally kind of like
crushing this all with a spatula as I fry it, which I’m pretty sure isn’t authentic
to… anything… but it definitely doesn’t hurt. So then after ten minutes, add in about a
half a glass or 100 millileters of white wine. Keep that simmering and cooking for about
fifteen more minutes to let the wine boil away. If you’ve got an immersion blender, feel
free to immersion blend away though, because it’s here where the dish starts to betray
its Malaccan roots – we’re waiting for the oil to separate from the sufrito, almost
akin to a curry. Once you’re at that point, toss in three
or four dried bay leaves, fry for about a minute until fragrant, then add eight stewing
potatoes sliced in half. These were actually some Yunnan potatoes leftover
from our Yunnan mashed potatoes video, but 400 grams worth of anything waxy like a red
bliss should work just fine. Quick mix, the go in with about three cups
of water. Now, for a stew or a curry you might be a
bit more familiar with adding meat in before the potatoes, but after turning this down
to the lowest flame your stove’ll go… this is where fascinating bit number two comes
in. See, there’s traditionally two types of
Diabo – poor and rich. Rich uses fresh meats, and poor – more interestingly,
I think – is usually based off a spread of leftover Cantonese roast meats. We went with 200 grams Char Siu, 200 grams
of Siu Yuk roast pork belly, and 250 grams worth of Cantonese soy sauce chicken… but
really, this’s completely a function of whatever you got around – if you want to
use leftover roast turkey, use leftover roast turkey. Then all chop all those into large pieces,
about an inch and a half by inch and a half, and reserve. And then to go with those… fascinating bit
number three – Cantonese pickled Kiutau. Kiutau [荞头] are the bulb of the allium
chinense plant and, especially pickled, are a classic ingredient in Cantonese cooking. Interestingly enough, one old school Cantonese
dish around festival time is to take some leftover roast pork and stir fry it together
with pickled Kiutau. So naturally of course? Twelve of these are also going to go into
the pot, tipped and cut in half. If you can’t find Kiutau, no worries – about
half of the Diabo recipes we saw called for pickled gherkins in place of these, so either
one is totally ok. So after the potatoes’ve been cooking for
about thirty minutes, add in your roast meat and half of your pickles… making sure that
the water level’s not too high here. We’ll want these to cook in the sauce but
not break down too much, which’s actually why we added in the potatoes at first. So cover with the lid ajar, and let that simmer
for another half hour. So now for technique that really… blew our
minds and cemented this as one of the coolest dishes we’ve come across. See, I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard
of a French sauce gribiche – it’s a classic French egg sauce from Normandy that uses mustard
and cooked strained egg yolks as a base, then mixes it with oil and loads it up with pickles
and herbs. Traditionally it’s been accompaniment for
stuff like beef tongue or veal head cheese… but it’s definitely a less famous emulsion
these than its cousins, mayonnaise and hollandaise. So diabo employs the same fundamental technique
as sauce gribiche, but it’s used as thickener for the stew. To make it, first add a half tablespoon of
mustard powder to a bowl together with half tablespoon of vinegar, a tablespoon of water,
and a half tablespoon of prepared mustard. Here we’re using Dijon because I like Dijon,
but yellow mustard would probably be more correct. Then pass two boiled egg yolks through a strainer,
a step I personally find oddly satisfying in its own wooly willy kind of way. Give it all a mix, then add in a tablespoon
of the kiutao pickling juice and an optional touch of water to help it all come together…
and then this is ready go into the diabo. So now after another half hour of stewing
you’ll see that there’s a… not insignificant bit of oil at the top. Luckily for us, we’re about to load this
thing up with the emulsifiers we just whipped up. So mix that all in, and leave that uncovered
over a medium flame til reduce to your liking, which was for us about another fifteen minutes. After that time, add the remaining pickles,
and season to taste with salt and a somewhat generous bit of black pepper. And of course, don’t forget to season with
a half tablespoon or so of Worcestershire sauce… because this dish just wouldn’t
be complete without some of a classic British sauce borne in colonial Bengal. Sprinkle over the leftover egg whites from
making your gribiche-like object… quick mix, and… out. Perfect served alongside some white rice. So as a dish that’s very much rooted in
oral traditions… we found many variants when we were doing our research. Some don’t use the egg thickening method,
some don’t include potatoes, some are thicker than others, some finish off with like some
port or sherry, and some like use pickled ginger instead of gherkin or kiutau. So if you’re Macanese, definitely let us
know in the comments what the version that you’re more familiar with… because we’re
super curious to learn more. As always, check out the Reddit link in the
description box for a detailed recipe, a big thank you for everyone that’s supporting
us on Patreon… and of course, subscribe for more Chinese cooking videos.

100 thoughts on “Macau’s Diabo, the most fascinating stew we’ve ever seen

  1. Hey guys, a few notes:

    1. Happy CNY everyone! Our idea for this video was actually the theme of “how to use up leftovers from your Spring Festival meal”. But after delving into this dish a bit more, we felt that going at it from that angle actually wouldn’t totally do the dish justice. Still, it’s definitely a way to use up some of those leftovers…

    2. So what does this taste like? Oh man. This is right up there with Guizhou stir-fried sweet tangyuan with suancai and chili as one of the most mind-melding things we’ve eaten. You look at the dish – it looks like curry, you serve it next to some rice with curry. Then you put it in your mouth and you’re eating what basically tastes like the stew equivalent of Cantonese Siuyuk dipped in mustard. Only it’s got richness from the egg yolks, some complexity from the tomatoes and pickles. It like… takes a second for your brain to register. It’s weird for a bite or two, then it becomes addictive.

    3. Huge thank you to Paul Starr for getting us closer to solving the boiled egg yolks conundrum! Apparently it's a technique that's used in Catalan Picada – much closer/more likely source than Sauce Gribiche. Ah well, now you know about sauce Gribiche in case you've never heard of it (plus, I got to plug on of our favorite channels).

    4. So one of the simplifications I made for the sake of the flow of the video was referring to the Kristang people as “Malaccan Portuguese”. Just like the Macanese, that kind of shorthand hides a much more convoluted tale… again, I’m certainly not an ethnographer, so I’m not going to jump in and make broad claims of who’s a mix of what. That said, it’s another fascinating cuisine in its own right – one that I wish I knew more about.

    5. Some of the recipes included a bit of chili or chili sauce in with the sofrito. We originally tried it with some, but found that that we preferred the flavor a bit more straight mustard-y/pickle-y. Almost no recipe we saw went heavy on the chili though.

    6. So this one used Cantonese roast meats, but some of the other ‘poor’ Diabos we saw used some leftover Macanese/Portuguese braised meats in addition/instead.

    7. To all the Cantonese speakers out there, apologies for my crappy pronunciation of the word ‘Kiutao’. And I mean for that matter I suppose I should also apologize for my crappy pronunciation of “Worcestershire”…

    8. The inclusion of Worcestershire is obvious enough – influence from Hong Kong across the delta. Why does this thicken with something very similar to the base of a sauce gribiche though? [edit: looks like it's from Catalan Picada actually? That’s what’s leaving me still scratching my head. Perhaps a Macanese/Portuguese chef trained in France and made it their own riff, then it trickled from there. Perhaps it was just convergent evolution. Perhaps it is actually a Portuguese technique, and I just couldn’t find it (any lusophone viewers out there, your input would be awesome… English language sources for Portuguese food seem to kinda suck).]

    9. Regarding potatoes – if you look at most Diabo recipes, they'll either (a) start with the meats, cook them for a bit, then add the potatoes and continue to cook or (b) separately cook the potatoes, add them in near the end or (c) not use them. We didn't test (c), but found that with (a) the meat'll break down a bit too much and that with (b) the sauce didn't thicken quite as much as we wanted. So this was just a way that we cracked that nut… it should bear repeating that these were very waxy small stewing potatoes though. When you're cooking this, keep tabs on your potatoes and trust your judgement… if they're starting to break down too much, remove them, then adjust when you add them in the future.

    So today being the first day of the New Year and all, we’re chilling at Steph’s parents’ place for the day. So we might be less responsive than normal (or perhaps more responsive lol, we don’t have much going on… let’s just say, erratic). Something we forgot to mention in the video… we’re off next week, then we’l be back onto a more normal schedule moving forward (these last couple months have been a little crazy with traveling/holidays).

  2. In the Portugese settlement in Malacca among the Portuguese Eurasian this is called Curry Devil. It’s base or sofrito is a mix of local ingredients – galangal, chili, onions, garlic and candle nuts. Every Eurasian family has their own twist to their family receipt. Not a stew but a curry that is distinctively from the Eurasian community. No thickener required as the candlenuts give rich flavor.

  3. An Indian Vindaloo is also based on a wine Portuguese stew. They add vinegar instead of wine for the acidity because they didn't have red wine. I'm guessing the pickles in this dish is replacing wine as well.

  4. Fascinating description recipe technique, thanks for the detail. Were kiu tao originally pickled via (salt only) fermentation similar to sauerkraut rather than pickled using vinegar ? Was looking at the Mee Chun jars which include vinegar. Plus, are the bay leaves you use the laurus nobilis type or the similar named cinnamomum tamala ones. Thanks anyway the mustard thickening method was completely new to me.

  5. i cant wait to see all the super racist comments about the bats in the dish and something about virus and all of us chinese people need to die or whatever other stupid shit.

  6. Happy CNY! It's more of a snack, but could you guys look into a good recipe for Macau mung bean almond cookies?

    Good video! Always appreciate your work.

  7. As Goa is my home there is a version of this here, primarily Goan spiced pork and sausage which resembles chorizo and with the egg thickening.. This is world wide as in the UK have a "sauce" like mayo but made from hard boiled eggs called salad cream it's under the Heinz brand and is utterly fantastic.. I'm doing a video soon on the countries with the most diverse food on the planet.. Numero 1 is easy, it's where I am, but 2, 3 and 4 are difficult what do you think ..???

  8. Interesting looking recipe, thanks !

    Feedback:
    1:48 Tomato is usually not recommended for either aluminum (acidic leeching) or cast iron with a patina you want to keep. I'd probably have gone with either enameled cast iron, stainless steel, or ceramic for a dish like that. Just sayin. 😉

    4:24 Gribiche ? Cool. Reminds me of some other french stews like burgundisn beef or hunters chicken that use a healthy dose of mustard. Yolk is a natural companion to mustard. Definitely trying this. 😁

    Question: What type of pickle are the onions … full sour ? half sour ? Natural sour ? How sweet are they … as sweet as sweet gherkins ? Would pickled shallots be a good sub ? Knowing that would help choose substitutions.

  9. Thickening with egg yolks and vinegar is said to have originated in Persia. Georgians use it so look up Chikhirtma soup. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chikhirtma

  10. A wonderful Euro-Chinese fusion food! The Portuguese heritage in Macao is everywhere to be seen, in the architecture and in the food. Shared 👍🌟😋

  11. This looks fascinating! This will probably be clarified in the full recipe, but how well should you stir in the egg yolk sauce? Normally I'd expect a vigorous stirring to fully emulsify the stew, but it doesn't look like you stirred it that much (though that could just be the editing in the video).

  12. Hey do you guys think you will ever make a channel about the different foods you try in China? You guys post great stuff on your Instagram and it would be even better in video format.

  13. Stay safe over there, not sure how much of this virus/flu scare thing is real or just media hype but good luck and love your videos!

  14. On crushing or blending tomatoes: I recommend against doing this if they've still got seeds in them. The seeds can be quite bitter on the inside, and you unleash this when you crush them or puree them.

    Canned pureed tomatoes or passata has the seeds removed before they're whizzed for this reason.

  15. 1. Could you use pickled pearl onions instead of the pickled, er, kiutau?

    2. The gribiche thickener reminds me of this Lyonnais garlic soup, which uses mayonnaise as a thickener. I've made a variant (I prepare the garlic differently) of it a few times and I've actually found that the mayo separates more easily in it than you'd think at first. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUJRKDln9cg

  16. This is going to sound weird but the recipe reminds of Apicius DE RE QUOQUINARIA with the egg thickener trick. I guess great cuisine appears out of great necessity everywhere and similarities are dependent on available resources.

  17. You can get Portuguese olive oil here in the states. I'm Macanese born US citizen and we use a Chinese roast duck also.

  18. Yep Devil Curry is usually done by us Eurasians at Christmas time…or whenever we are craving for it! A Christmas dinner without devils curry isn't a christmas

  19. Wow. Wow! This looks amazing. I'm thinking i need to score some Chinese roast meats as i can't quite imagine this with thanksgiving turkey leftovers. I have never seen those pickles in the US but i have seen small Vietnamese vinegar pickled leeks that might sub. Happy New Year! Stay healthy!

  20. Ya know, even if I never make the stew I will definitely be make that funky mayo sauce like situation. Very interested in that.

  21. My family's Malaccan Nyonya-Portugese and I've been watching your channel for years. Weird to see it come full circle back… In any case, kudos to the fairly accurate background to our devils curry!

  22. Here's a funny thing: I've never heard a Brit call it Worcestershire sauce, just Worcester.
    Guy Fieri had a laugh in his show a few years back, but our way it's much easier to say.

  23. Happy new year! Never seen this dish before. Looks yummy.
    Anyway, hope you guys are safe and healthy in this special time.

  24. I’m American born 1/2 Portuguese but I grew up in the most Portuguese city in the US – Fall River, MA. Our international sister city is in the Azores. My whole life, I never saw my grandparents cook just the base – each item added separately – for an extended period before starting a meal. We didn’t call it sofrito, that word feels South American to me. Also, our version included bell pepper (green or red) and something we call Pimenta Moida which my grandfather made himself and canned. Basically crushed hot red pepper with vinegar and salt and I pretty much can’t cook without it. Even on a fried egg, lol. My equivalent to chili oil I suppose. I’ve added it to your Dan Dan Noodles. After a quick look my preferred store isn’t listing my favorite brand. If you’re interested I’ll find out who can send it to China. If it’s me, lol, maybe we can trade for stuff I can’t get here!

  25. Happy CNY! I am a Taiwanese, never see this fascinating Diabo before, so cool! I am a big fan of your channel, thank you for sharing!

  26. That has got to be one of the most interesting dishes I've ever seen made before. Also, nice babish outtro music, if the glove fits! Though I guess to be fair I don't know if you or he was 1st, I'm kind of guessing you guys.

  27. Hey! Portuguese here! The initial preparation method you did with garlic, onion and tomato is called "Refogado"! Besides that, all is well, and very fascinating to get to know how our long gone colonial presence affected some dishes far away from home. Cheers!

  28. Brit here – try pronouncing Worcestershire sauce as:
    wuh-stir-shear sauce with the emphasis on the "wuh" part. You can also just say Worcester sauce and all Brits will understand, but maybe not the rest of the world! I hope this makes sense 😊

  29. All of the videos are great…until the "recap" at the end. Completely unnecessary, and somehow a bit irritating. I've come to stop the video at that point. That said, the main videos are great.

  30. My mom would make a South African curry using leftover turkey (not traditional, it used fresh capon originally.) But thickened with flour, not egg yolk. This is clearly a recipe of necessity , leftover meats, leftover hard boiled eggs and pickles to brighten and clean up the flavors. I'm not sure I'd make this, but it sure was an interesting recipe. Thanks so much.

  31. hoping you guys are ok amidst the serious virus happing over there. take care and a prosperous blessed new year to the both of you.

  32. You guys are so nerdy about cooking, I love it! You're doing a really good job of demystifying Chinese cooking for non Chinese people 🙂

  33. Portuguese here 😉 You are spot on! Also, we still have this same dish in continental Portugal. The small pickled onion aren't the same and the british sauce at the end isn't there at all, but all the rest is exactly the same. Some people mix sweet potato and regular potato too. 👍

  34. Very interesting to find sauce gribiche here ! Definitely linked to tête de veau (veal head) in my french speaking mind.

  35. LMAO the very second you said Sauce Gribiche the very first thing I thought of was the French Cooking Academy channel, he was the one who taught me about it haha. Since you’re my favourite chinese cooking channel it’s good to know you’re favourite French channel is also mine haha

    Also Xin Nian Kuai Le and/or Gongxi Facai!!!

  36. Portuguese here: there is no definite rule in Portuguese cooking for the duration or sequence for the “refogado” (soffritto is italian, basically), but portuguese tend to fry the onions until a bit after they are golden, turning on brown, and when it starts losing its sweetish smell and smells more like deep fried onion.

  37. @0:14 why do Americans always destroy the pronunciation of words in other languages…. Curry Debao….wtf is that? Foda-se

  38. Interesting to see the worchestershire sauce in there. It pops up in the strangest places sometimes. I once saw a recipe for a 'home style' Mexican dish where it was an ingredient and was referred to as "salsa Anglais". On a side note, I have made my own Worchestershire sauce twice now and its well worth the effort. If you search for it, don't use any 'quick and easy' variants. Look for one where you make caramel from sugar and use black cardamom and anchovies (yes, its got quite the ingredient list). If you can find the right recipe you will not be disappointed.

  39. Is it really that hard to find even half decent olive oil in China? It seems so odd to not have the oil that literally goes in everything to use lol.

  40. Yeee, start with the pork belly chopped instead of the lard. Fry it. Will give up enough oil. Will ad some nice taste.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *