Sri Lankan, Healthy Devilled chicken

Sri Lankan, Healthy Devilled chicken

Devilled, what?

For people who have no idea what Devilled Chicken is, it is a very popular Sri-Lankan dish that is complex in flavour with sweet, sour and hot. And I mean spicy hot, it is called ‘DEVILLED Chicken’ because this dish is meant to be spicy but if you are not a massive spice lover then you can certainly leave the green chilli and chilli powder out or reduce them and you will end up with a more of a sweet and sour sort of dish.

When we go to a Sri-Lankan restaurant, this is one of the must have dishes. I don’t know about you guys, but my family and friends like to order main dishes like this devilled chicken dish for starters and share that amongst over selves. This is a great way to eliminate food envy as everyone gets to taste each dish, sort of like tapas dishes. I get food envy quite a lot and gawk at other people’s food even if I have an amazing dish in front of me. My husband gets embarrassed, then I ask him, ‘how could I make that dish for you if I don’t take a mental picture of what’s in that dish?’, he he…. It works every time 😉


Kitchen Appliance to cook the Devilled Chicken dish:

Normally the chicken is shallow fried and then finished off with rest of the ingredients in a pan with more oil. If you have been reading my recipes, you know I love taking as many steps as possible to make a dish healthy. So, I used the Air fryer to cook as its so much healthier than deep frying but if you don’t have an air fryer, I will give you some tips on how to cook this on a wok or a frying pan as well. Another bonus point with Air fryer is that you can cook this dish in one pot, so less dishes to wash up 😊

Ok, lets talk recipe.

Instruction for cooking the almighty Devilled Chicken:

I used the breasts pieces for this recipe as this dish is typically cooked with fillets, but you can use thigh pieces if you like but allow extra time to cook the meat through as meat with bones need extra time to cook.


Marinade for the chicken:

In a large bowl, marinate the chicken with chilli powder, turmeric, salt, black pepper, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, vinegar and oil. Don’t get heavy handed with salt, because we will be adding a combined sauce of soy and oyster which will add a lot of salty flavour to the dish.

Spices to marinate the chicken for devilled chicken


I would marinate the meat over night if you have time, otherwise allow about 2 hours in the fridge for the marinade to soak through the meat and give you that fabulous flavour.

Marinated chicken for devilled chicken

Cooking in the air fryer:

Take the marinated chicken from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperate; 15 minutes should be enough. Put it straight into the air fryer and cook for about 10 minutes.

I wanted this dish to be gluten free, so I didn’t add any flour but if want more crispier chicken then you can add couple of table spoon of plain flour to the chicken and mix well just before cooking so the chicken will be even more crispier.

Marinated chicken pieces in the air fryer


The chicken should be slightly fried by now.

Marinated chicken fried for about 10 min in the are fryer


Add the remaining ingredients which will give that crunchy texture and more flavour to the dish, such as onions, chilli, ginger paste, garlic paste, curry leaves and rapeseed oil.

Onion, chilli and other ingredients added to the slightly fried chicken


Mix them all together and turn the air fryer on for further 5 minutes.

Mixing onion, chiil and other ingredients to the slightly fried chicken


The onions and rest of the ingredients should be getting crispier.

Devilled chicken before adding the sweet and sour sauce


Now make the sauce by combining ketchup, soy sauce, oyster sauce and chilli flakes. I know what you are thinking, more chillies? but trust me, it will be amazing.

Ingredients to make the sauce for the devilled chicken


For this dish, you need to have the ketchup to give you the sweet flavour. Soy sauce and oyster sauce, gives you the additional salty flavour. This is how the whole flavour is wonderfully balanced with all these spices and sauces.

If you don’t have oyster sauce, then another combination of sauce can be ketchup, sweet chilli sauce, soy sauce and chilli flakes.

Combined sauce for the Devilled Chicken


Mix the sauce through the rest of the ingredients in the air fryer and cook for further 10 minutes.

Sauce added to the fried chicken for devilled Chicken


This should be done by now. As I always advise, Taste, taste and taste. Taste the chicken and the sauce for flavour and consistency. If you want the dish to be dryer then cook for further 3 – 5 minutes. Once you are happy, add lime juice and salt if necessary.

Cooked Devilled Chicken in the Air fryer


Cooking in a Frying pan:

If you are using the frying pan, then fry the chicken with little oil for about 10 minutes or until its cooked through and take it off the pan and set side. On the same pan, fry the rest of the ingredients except the sauce. Stir-fry for about 5 minutes on a medium heat so the onion should be slightly cooked by now. Add the chicken back to the pan and mix well with other ingredients. Now add the sauce to the pan and mix them all together well. Cook for about 5 minutes and it should be done.


Devilled Chicken-Pinterest

Devilled Chicken head shot
5 from 1 vote

Sri Lankan Devilled Chicken Curry

A famous Sri Lankan dish, know for its complex sweet, sour and spicy flavour.

Course Appetizer, Main Course
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4
Author Florita Balaskantha


Chicken marinade

  • 500 g Chicken Breasts cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon powder
  • 1 tbsp Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Rapeseed oil or any cooking oil

Other Ingredients for the Devilled Chicken:

  • 3 Red Onions Chopped into large pieces
  • 5 Green Chillies Cut lengthwise
  • 1 tsp Garlic paste or 5 cloves of fresh garlic
  • 1 tsp Ginger paste
  • Few Curry leaves
  • 2 tbsp Rapeseed oil or any cooking oil
  • 1 Bell peppers Optional, I didn't include that in this recipe

Sauce for the Devilled Chicken:

  • 2 tbsp Soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp Oyster sauce
  • 4 tbsp Ketchup
  • 1 tsp Chilli flakes


  1. Marinate the chicken with all the ingredients for the marinade

  2. Leave it to marinade overnight, otherwise 2 hours in the the fridge

  3. Take the marinated chicken out of the fridge and let it sit in the room temperature for about 15 minutes

  4. Place the chicken in the air-fryer and cook for about 10 minutes until the chicken pieces start to fry on the surface

  5. Add rest of the 'other ingredients for the Devilled chicken' into the air fryer with the chicken and mix them together

  6. Cook for further 5 minutes. The onions should be nice and crispy now

  7. Combine soy sauce, Oyster sauce, Ketchup and chilli flakes to make the source for the dish

  8. Add the source to the air fryer with rest of the ingredients. Mix well

  9. Cook for further 10 - 15 minutes until the chicken and sauce are all cooked. 

Relevant article:

If you want to try more Sri Lankan dishes, then check out Chicken 65, another famous dish.



Let me know your feedback and comments below. If you have tried this recipe at home, tag me @mamaflosdiary, on your instagram pictures. It will be great to see your version 🙂


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