Friday, 21 November 2014

Chicken Rezala | Aromatic Chicken Curry

Rezala is a traditional Bangladeshi dish highly influenced by Royal Mughlai cuisine. The dish most probably was invented in the Bangladesh itself by the chefs who came along with the exiled Nawab of Lucknow after the separation of subcontinent, when East Bengal was a part of newly founded Pakistan (west bengal), known as East Pakistan. Thats why this dish is just magical with its Mughlai aroma, texture and taste of a classic meat-based curry of lamb with onions in yogurt and ghee specially.

The chunks of tender meat in a flavorsome white based gravy has a perfect taste of rich and aromatic royal delicacy.
The white gravy is made with curd, cashew nut and poppy seeds paste, flavored with subtle spices which are not commonly used in normal dishes, however, the classical list of components includes: meat cut into pieces, yogurt, ghee, onion, ginger and garlic paste, green cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, pepper corn, ginger, green chili, ghee, raisins, salt and sugar. Apart from classical ingredients, the dish is spiced with rose petal powder, nutmeg – mace (jayphal – javitri) powder, cubeb (kebab chini), white pepper powder (shahi mirch powder) and got contrasted by whole dry red chili. The fat used in the dish is ghee/ clarified butter. Also use Varity of essence such as kewra water, meetha attar and rose water. That’s why the dish “Rezala” is very royal.

Rezala has very unique and delectable mughlai flavor for which it is so distinctive from other dishes generally made with mutton- fatty pieces, ribs or chops with bones. Now a days, the recipes of this dish are as varied as the meat varies, cooked in a very fragrant mild white sauce of medium thin consistency. It's cooked for everyday meals or for special occasions and greatly enjoyed especially by locals. The secret behind a successful Rezala is the use of homemade sweet yogurt that nicely compliments the dish giving a nice sweet taste, as it is not to sour that commercialized one. But if sweet yogurt is not available, you could add little sugar and regular yogurt.

Though Rezala is synonymous with mutton, some can also prepare it with chicken, mushroom, cheese (paneer), fish, egg or prawn. Rezala is usually served hot alongside plain rice or paratha.


For Marinade:

1/2 kg chicken
1 cup yogurt
1/4 cup onion paste
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt

For Tempering Oil:

2 bay leaves - optional
3-4 dry red chilies
1 tsp black peppercorn
1 of 2" cinnamon stick
1 black cardamom
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp green cardamom
2 tbsp ghee

For Gravy:

2 tbsp onion paste
3 tbsp poppy seed or paste
2 tbsp almond paste
2 tbsp cashew nut paste
1/2 tsp crushed mace
1/2 tsp crushed star anise
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp ghee


Wash and clean the chicken pieces. Pat them dry and place in large mixing bowl. Add all the ingredients under 'For Marinade' and mix well. Keep them covered in refrigerator overnight or at least 1 hour. I left them overnight. Before you start cooking bring the chicken to room temperature. Take a pressure cooker and put ghee in it. When ghee is hot add akk the ingredients under 'For Tempering Oil' and allow them to splutter.

Shake off the marinade from chicken piece and add the pieces into the cooker. Fry for 2-3 minutes on medium high flame. Mix 2 cups of warm water into the marinade and mix well. When chicken will change color a bit add the marinade water mixture into the cooker. Bring it to boil, close the lid with weight and cook for 4-5 minutes or until the chicken is half done.

Heat rest of the ghee in large wok or pan. Add onion and sauté for minutes or until onion changes color to golden. Add poppy seed fry for 1 minute, add almond and cashew nut paste and continue to sauté for another 2-3 minutes or until the raw smell is gone. Add nutmeg powder and crushed mace. You can use mace powder but i like to have my Rezala with hand crushed mace. It leaves your hands fragrant for a long time too.

When ghee separates from the mixture add it to the chicken pieces and fry for 4-5 minutes add spiced up chicken stock. Cover and continue cooking until chicken is nicely done. Add sugar and salt and adjust seasoning at this point of cooking. Once chicken is done check the seasoning and consistency of the gravy. The gravy should be light soupy kind, not lumpy and thick one.

Switch off the flame and transfer to serving bowl immediately.Drop dollop of ghee on top and serve hot with Paratha or Naan and some Salad. Or server it with Lachha Paratha to give it a royal company.


  1. I visit your post. And I like it. plz keep continue.Thanks!!
    Laxmi Nagar

    1. Thank you @Chowringheelaxminagar, Keep visiting :)


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