Saturday, October 2, 2010

Chicken Rezala

Living in Calcutta, I wonder whether there can be any food lover, especially a biryani lover in this city who has never eaten in the legendary Muslim restaurants here. Be it Shiraz, Rehmania, Nizam, Zeeshaan, Arsalan and the likes, the biryani that you eat here, is dissimilar from what you find elsewhere across India. However, there is much more beyond these mildly flavoured biriyanis. The chaaps, the mussallams and the rezalas for instance, will make it to the top of the list of favourites.

Chicken Rezala is one such dish from these well-known Muslim restaurants of Calcutta. Its exceptional flavour is absolutely divine with a not-so-thick off-white gravy. There is a delicate sweetness in the dish since we use a little sugar. At the same time, there is a faint tanginess because of the usage of yogurt. Overall it's a preparation that tastes incredible after a nice blend of spices with pastes of cashewnets and poppy seeds.

To relish your rezala, serve it with biryani or roomali roti.

This is again one of those recipes I had lying with me since a long time. Since so long, that now I fail to recollect its source. However if I think, it was adapted from a popular Bengali lifestyle magazine. Never mind, as long as you and I enjoy the food, the source really doesn't matter after all. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Chicken Rezala

For printable version of this recipe, click here.

Chicken Rezala

- Chicken (with bone or boneless) 800 gms

- Bay leaves 2 nos.

- Kewra water 4 tbsp.

- Saffron strands few

- Beaten curd 1/2 cup

- White peppercorns 10-12, crushed

- Dry red chillies 4-5 nos.

- Ginger paste 1 tbsp.

- Garlic paste 1 tbsp.

- Sugar 1 tsp.

- Whole garam masala 4 cloves, 5 green cardamoms, 1 mace, 1 nutmeg

- Cashewnut paste 3 tbsp.

- Poppy seeds paste 2 tsp.

- Ghee 2 tbsp.

- Boiled onion paste of 2 medium sized onions

- Fresh cream 3 tbsp.

- Water 1 1/2 cup

- Salt as per taste


For garnishing: Roasted almonds - few

Marinate chicken pieces with curd, fresh cream, crushed white peppercorns and ginger-garlic paste for 1 hour.

Heat ghee in a pan and add the whole spices, bay leaves and dry red chillies. Fry for 2 minutes. Now add the boiled onion paste, salt, sugar, cashewnut paste and poppy seeds paste. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Add the marinated chicken pieces to it along with 1 cup water, kewra water and saffron strands. Cover and cook till done. Garnish with roasted almonds before serving.



  1. Hi Arundhiti,
    Your recipe sounds very very good with all the fragrant spices.Pic is really tempting.. just wanna dunk a chapati into the gravy.
    Do visit me sometime

  2. That looks so great, Arundhati. Never tried rezala at home, because my sis has an absolute no towards white gravies, but will try this one the next time I visit Bangalore and share with Kalyan:). Just can't wait to prepare it your style.

    Just one thing. How do you boil the onions?

  3. @ Tanvi: Thank you!!

    @ Sudeshna: Thanks dear. You must try this. Especially with biryani and I gurantee you'll love it. So will Kalyan. :P

    to boil onions just peel them and cut into 4 halves. Put them in a pan, cover with water and simmer till the onions become tender and transparent. Drian the water. You are done! :)

  4. Omg, wat a fantastic and droolwrothy chicken rezala...

  5. Arundhuti,
    Oshadhoron hoyche dekhte...kolkatye gele I always make it a point to relish this gravy. But dared to try at home. Now with your recipe I can go ahead. Thanks for sharing

    Hamaree Rasoi

  6. Wonderful chicken curry dear, merely looking at it, tempts my tongue to give a taste!;)

  7. What an interesting and different recipe. Love the trivia that came with the post. Beautiful connect!

  8. @ Priya & Sanghi: Thank you so much.

    @ Deepa: Thank you, amio barite first time banano'r agey ektu apprenhensive chilam. But it came out so well, I couldn't believe it myself.

    @ Deeba: Thanks a lot. It's worth a try!

  9. For a little twist,I am trying chestnut puree for the cashew nut puree.

  10. rezala is one of my fav & kol fav

  11. Amazing, this is one of my all time favs :-)

  12. Yum. I made it. :-) and i overate. :-P

  13. hiii,
    This is Ritabrata. I will definitely try this one :) It smells great.Thnx

  14. I just love Kolkatta 'Shabir' Rezzala and miss it too.....I will try this out !!!

  15. Thank you!! It turned out super yum! :)

    1. You are welcome, Najwa. I am glad you liked it :)

  16. Arundhuti:

    Is beaten curd the same thing as plain yogurt that is whisked? Also, is a pinch of saffron strands equivalent to a few saffron strands?


  17. Arundhuti:

    Thanks for sharing the recipe. I did have a couple of questions. Is beaten curd the same thing as plain yogurt that is whisked? Also, is a pinch of saffron equivalent to "a few strands" of saffron?


  18. Awesome it looking...Felling to finish all...:-)
    Chicken Rezala

  19. Mouthwatering recipe. Thanks for sharing this.