Chicken rezala is very popular and authentic dish originated in Bengal and highly influenced by Mughlai cuisine. “The chunks of chicken in a rich and aromatic white based gravy” is mostly served in restaurants. 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. Apart from cardamom, cinnamon and cloves, the dish is spiced with rose petal powder, jayphal – javitri (nutmeg – mace) powder,kebab chini, shahi mirch powder (white pepper powder) and got contrasted by whole dry red chili. The fat used in the dish is ghee/ clarified butter. Also use Varity of attr (essence) such as kewra water, meetha attar and rose water.
That’s why the dish “Chicken rezala” is very royal.
Rezala has very unique flavor for which it is so distinctive from other Mughlai dishes. Generally made with mutton- (fatty pieces, ribs or chops) with bones (often seena pieces used) cooked in a very fragrant mild white sauce of medium thin consistency. The secret behind a successful Rezala is the use of homemade sweet yogurt that nicely compliments the dish giving a nice sweet taste. 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, paneer, fish egg or prawn .
- Chicken: 500gm
- Yogurt: 1 cup
- Makhana: 1/2 cup
- Ghee: 4-5 tbsp
- 4 tbsp cashew and poppy seed paste( the ratio of cashew and poppy seeds is 1:1 that means for 1/4 cup cashew nuts you have to take 1/4 cup of poppy seeds ): 2 tbsp
- Whole spice: Cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, kebab chini and bay leaves.
- 1 tsp shah marich powder/ white pepper powder
- 4 tbsp onion juice
- 1 tbsp onion paste
- 1 tbsp ginger juice
- 1 1/2 tbsp garlic paste
- 1/4 tsp Nutmeg and mace powder( Both spice has very strong flavor. So for 1/4 tsp nutmeg powder take 1 tsp mace powder.)
- 1 drop meetha atar with 1/2 cup water
- Sugar and salt to taste
- Whole dry red chilies
- Marinade the chicken pieces for 2 hours with ginger-garlic paste, curd and salt.
- Heat 4 tbsp ghee in a pan. Generally it gets original mughlai taste from dalda, a hydrogenated fat . It makes any dish very flavorful and tasty. But when Vanaspati is made, trans-fatty acids are also produced; these increase the risk of heart disease when consumed in excess and are best avoided.
- Our ghee is hot. Temper the ghee with whole spices 4 cardamoms, 3-4 small cinnamon sticks, 4 cloves and 10-12 kebab chini. You can easily get them from Asian grocery store.
- Now add yogurt which is blended. Stir and cook until oil leaves the sides. Rezala has it’s own color. You don’t get that color until the oil floats up and the yogurt separates.
- After that put the marinated chicken pieces. Cook very well on low – medium flame by covering the pan. Keep checking after 3-4 minutes else the chicken get burn from the bottom.
- Now add other spices such as onion juice, onion paste, ginger juice, garlic paste about 1 tbsp, nutmeg and mace powder, cashew and poppy seeds paste, salt and sugar to taste. It needs little more sugar than other chicken dish.
- Then add white pepper powder (shahi mirch powder), whole red chilies. Jjust give it a stir.
- Now for rose petal powder and makhana. A gentle stir and cook for a while.
- Add chicken stock (if you have) or water and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Now we will add meetha attar. Add 1 drop of meetha attar with 1/2 cup of water and add this water to the chicken. Stir again and cook for 2 minutes.
- Chicken rezala is ready. Serve with any kind of Indian bread or rice. I’m gonna serve with butter roti and spicy vegetable pulao.