The famous rich, spicy Macanese dish of mixed meats

This Macaense dish is traditionally served on January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany, in commemoration of the Magi, customarily using the left-overs from Christmas and New Year — roast meats such as chicken, turkey, duck, pheasant, lamb and beef.

There are two opinions on its name: one contends that it has so many meats and condiments that it is the very “Devil”! Another view is that it is so called because it uses such hot spices.

There are two categories of Diabo: poor and rich. Diabo is said to be poor when it is made only with left-overs and rich when it is made only with freshly-prepared meats.

There are innumerable versions of this dish; here we present six.

Rich diabo from Alberto Carlos “Acaio” d’Assumpção, enough to feed 120 people

4½ lb | 2 kg vaca estufada
6½ lb | 3kg porco bafá-assá
9lb | 4kg roast pork
6½ lb | 3kg lamb
4½ lb | 2 kg smoked ham
2 capon
2 turkeys
3 curried chickens
13 lb | 6kg potatoes
2 cabbages, cut into small pieces
4 heads of garlic
13 lb | 6kg onions
13 lb | 6kg tomatoes
2 lb 3 oz | 1kg pickles
1 lb | 500g mustard powder
12 hard-boiled eggs, sliced in rounds
2 bottles of Worcestershire sauce (preferably Lea and Perrins)
7 US fl oz | 200ml soy sauce
3 US fl oz | 100ml port wine
1 bottle of dry white wine
7 oz | 200g lard
salt and ground pepper to taste

Gently fry the garlic and onions in the lard.

Add the cabbage and fry until cooked.

Add the meats and potatoes (cut in pieces).

When the potatoes are almost cooked, add the juices from the vaca estufada, porco bafa-assá and curried chicken, and the wine.

Bring to the boil and add the pickles, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard.

Check if salt is needed.

Finally, add the hard-boiled eggs, pepper and port wine. Simmer for about 5 minutes.

Serve with steamed white rice.

olive oil or ghee
2 roasted turkey legs, brown meat on bone
½ Chinese roast duck (siu ap)
2 lb | 1 kg roast lamb leg, roasted
2 lb | 1 kg vaca estufada
1 lb | 500g Chinese roast pork (siu yok)
2 lb | 1 kg American style pork spare ribs (cooked)
5 fresh chilies
4 small/medium onions
5 eggs, hard-boiled and cooled
5 potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (Lea and Perrins)
3 dsp mustard pickles (333 brand)
2 small or 1 large gherkin, chopped fine
3 dsp mustard powder (Keen’s)
3 tsp hot English mustard
salt (or light soya sauce)
3 sherry glassfuls sweet sherry
3 tbsp thick soya sauce

All the meats are cooked prior to beginning this dish.

brown rib pieces very well in wok and remove. Chop all cooked meats into 40mm (1½ inch) cubes.

Segment 2 onions into eighths, halve the other 2 and finely slice into ½ rings. Finely chop chilies.

Heat oil in large wok, add 3 tbsp thick soya sauce. Add onions and chilies. Fry until they soften.

Add all meats, stirring to make sure all pieces are well coated. Cover meats with boiling water, cover wok and boil for 40 minutes stirring every 10 mins.

Meanwhile, separate egg yolks from the whites. Mash yolks with mustard powder, hot English mustard, Worcestershire sauce and enough of the diabo gravy to make a creamy paste. Finely chop egg whites.

After 40 mins of cooking, add the mustard-egg yolk paste and the egg whites and stir to mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the potatoes, plan to cook potatoes for approx. 40 mins, turning and pushing them under every 10 mins.

After the first 10 mins, from adding the potatoes, add 3 the mustard pickles and the gherkins finely chopped.

After the potatoes are cooked turn off the heat and add the sherry.

Diabo from Josephine Arevalo and Yvonne Husband serves 25 people

1 lb | 1kg cooked pork leg roast
1 lb | 1kg cooked vaca estufada
1 lb | 1kg cooked roast lamb
1 roast chicken
2 roasted turkey legs
2 large onions chopped
10 sweet gherkins chopped
1 tin tomato soup (Rosella)
5 tsp hot English mustard
3 whole eggs
2 heaped tsp crushed garlic
4 tbsp sweet sherry
1 lb | 1kg potatoes peeled and chopped into pieces
16 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce (Lea and Perrins)
olive oil for frying

Chop all meats into cubes (but not too small or they will break up). Fry onions and garlic. Add tomato soup and the meat gravies. Then add all meats starting with the hardest meats.

When it comes to a boil add the gherkins, Worcestershire sauce and the potatoes and cook until almost soft.

Add the mustard into the eggs and beat lightly, add this mixture into the meats.

Finally, stir in the sweet sherry.

Diabo from “Guilly” Canavarro Remedios

1 roast chicken (2 lb | 900 g)
1 lb | 450 g1 lb | 450 g roast leg of mutton
1 lb (450g) vaca estufada or bacon
2 lb | 900 g suckling pig or 1 lb (450g) siu yok
3 large onions, cut in eighths
1 small tin tomato paste
¼ cup Portuguese olive oil
¼ cup good table sauce
¼ cup vinho branco (white wine)
¼ lb | 110 g mixed English pickles or 15 cebola mato (Cantonese kiu tao, sometimes labelled pickled leeks) tipped and cut lengthwise in half
2 tsp white vinegar
a little salt and pepper
2 tsp powdered mustard

Cut the cold meat in rather big pieces.

Fry onions in 2 dsp lard, season with a little salt and pepper and when well fried, add all the cold meats except the roast pork. Fry for 10 mins, stirring occasionally, then add water to cover and let simmer for 10 mins. Add the tin of tomatoes, mix well and go on simmering.

In the meantime put the mustard in a bowl and mix the vinegar in gradually, then add olive oil, wine, and sauce and mix together. 10 minutes before the meat is done, add this liquid mixture and pickles and simmer for just a little while and serve.

Potatoes (halved or quartered) can also be used for this dish. Add to the meat ½ hour before serving. (In hot weather potatoes are not used as they do not keep long.)

This dish improves after cooking; in very cold weather it can be kept for 3-4 days.

Diabo from Annie Sousa

1 roast chicken (6 lb | 2.7kg)
2 lb | 900 g roast mutton
3 lb | 1.3kg roast beef or vaca estufada
2 lb | 900g roast suckling pig or 2 lb | 900 g siu yôk (Chinese roast pork)
3 large onions, cut in eighths
1 small tin tomato paste
¼ cup Worcestershire Sauce (preferably Lee and Perrins)
¼ cup white wine or sherry or Chinese wine
¼ lbs or more mixed pickles or mustard pickles
15 pickled-Cantonese garlic, with the ends trimmed off, and cut in half
2 tsp Chinese white vinegar
2 tsp mustard powder
olive oil
5 eggs, separated
2 dsp lard

Roast the meats, let them cool and cut into about 3″ pieces. Retain the juices from the roasts.

Fry onions well in lard, season with a little salt and pepper, add the cold meats but not the suckling pig or siu yôk. Fry for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the juices from the roasts and just enough water to cover the meat, cover simmer for 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste, mix well and go on simmering.

In the meantime put the mustard in a bowl and mix the vinegar gradually in, then add olive oil, wine and sauce and blend them well together. When the meat in the pan is tender, add the suckling pig cut in pieces and cook for 10 minutes. Ten minutes before serving, add the above liquid mixture and pickles and simmer for just a while.

Put raw egg yolks in a bowl and mix with about ¼ cup of cold water. Just before serving, turn off the fire, pour the egg mixture into the diabo and stir into the gravy to thicken.

Steam the egg whites in a little bowl until quite firm; chop into very small pieces. Turn the Diabo on to a large dish and sprinkle the egg whites evenly over and serve.

If desired, potatoes can be added. Boil 2 doz. potatoes and when quite cold out in quarters and add to the Diabo 10 minutes before serving. In summer it is advisable to omit potatoes as they don’t keep long.

This dish in very cold weather can be kept for 3 or 4 days – it tastes better. If sweetish diabo is preferred, add some sugar.

Diabo from Maria Celestina de Mello e Senna.     Read the original recipe | Leia a receita original

roast meats such as chicken, turkey, duck or pheasant; lamb, crumbed steaks
1 lb 10 oz | 750g roast pork (Chinese siu chi yôk)
1 lb 10 oz | 750g diced tomatoes
1 onion
1 dried onion
3 potatoes, quartered
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp chilli sauce
pinch of sugar
2 tbsp of mustard pickle, finely chopped
½ tsp dry mustard powder
1 tbsp port wine
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

With the bones of the roasts cook a stock, adding 1 lb 10 oz | 750g kg of fresh bones and 2 carrots if required. Strain and set aside.

Sauté the dried onions in plenty of oil until golden brown; add diced tomatoes, turmeric and chilli sauce and heat for a few minutes.

Slowly add the meats, mixing well. Add the strained stock but not so much as to cover the meat. When it starts to boil, add potatoes and cover.

As soon as the potatoes are cooked, the Diabo is ready. Remove the meat to a serving dish.

To the remaining gravy add the Worcestershire sauce, port wine, mustard, sugar and pickles. Pour this gravy on the meats and decorate with slices of hard-boiled eggs.


As Diabo is made with cooked meat, not much liquid is needed to cook it – only enough for the potatoes.
It is very easy to burn this dish because there is so little liquid, so stir gently from time to time. But be very careful not to stir too energetically because the roast meat will then break apart.
Refrigerate any left-over Diabo promptly because it can go off very easily.

Include some vaca estufada and porco bafaçá and add their juices to the stock.
Boil 6 eggs. When cooked, separate the yolks from the whites and mash the yolks with the Worcestershire sauce before adding to the meats.
Dice the whites and sprinkle over the Diabo before serving.

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