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bengali chicken rezala with roasted almonds

How will you describe rezala ? Just stating that it’s a highly fragrant dish which looks more like a stew and not a gravy and mildly spiced will not do justice to it. In fact it is a perfect amalgamation of sourness and sweetness with an undertone of spiciness, with lots of unmatched flavour makes it rather amusing and delectable which is very much Bengali in origin.

Unlike other Bengali delicacies which has travelled to far away land, rezala remain confined to the geographical boundaries of Kolkata. The reasons are not known, may be it did not get a loyal patronage or it fails to amuse the rich and varied taste of Indian cuisine. The latter being highly untrue as the mystery slowly unfolds when one get absorbed in its creamy taste and rich flavour which itself speaks about the many tales that shrouded this amusing dish called rezala.

The long period of Muslim rule in the country has greatly influenced the architecture and cuisine of the country and Bengal was no exception. The nawabs who represent the Mughal empire brought bawarchis and maslachis with them and soon the royal kitchens wafting with the flavour of kebabs and biryanis and when the last nawab of Awadh Wajid Ali Shah exiled to Calcutta (metiabruz), it formally established the mughlai cuisine in Calcutta which attains some robust flavour after mingling with the Bengali foods. Like biryanis and kebabs, rezala too slowly cooked over charcoal fire or in sigri and thus attained an unmatched flavour, truly reflecting the Mughal legacy.

chicken_rezala

This legacy was carried forward by the muslim restaurants like Aminia’s biryani, Shiraj’s biryani, mutton chaap and rezala, Sabir’s mutton rezala, Nizams kebabs and rolls, Rahmania’s mughlai dishes and Arsalan is the latest one to join the league.

The most unusual and comforting thing about this recipe of chicken rezala (a highly abridged version of mutton rezala) is that it uses few chosen spices, slow cooking and un common blending of onion with sour curd used for marination as well as for cooking. Rezala usually has very thin gravy, if you are not comfortable with it you can always add roasted flour to thicken it slightly. I have arrived at this recipe after gone through many recipes on internet and food magazines, the authentic one is yet to surface though.

 

chicken rezala bengali

bengali chicken rezala with roasted almonds
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Chicken rezala with roasted almonds - a classic dish from a bygone era. Rezala speaks about the influence of nawabi finesse on rustic Indian cuisine, Bengali in this case.
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Indian (Bengali)
Serves: 3
Ingredients
  • Chicken : 500 gm
  • Onion paste : 1 cup
  • Curd: 1 cup
  • Ginger - garlic paste (optional) : 1 tbsp
  • Red chillies : 2-3
  • Bay leaves: 2
  • Few cloves, cinnamon, mace and a pinch of grated nutmeg
  • White pepper powder: 1 tsp
  • Sugar and salt to taste
  • Ghee : 2 tbsp
  • Kewra water / screw pine nut water: few drops
  • Garnishing (optional) : roasted almonds and dry red chillies
Instructions
  1. For marinade: Mix ½ cup onion paste with ½ cup beaten curd along with a spoon of ginger-garlic paste, salt and 2 red chillies.
  2. Marinate the chicken with the above prepared marinade for two hours.
  3. Blend the remaining onion paste with the curd and keep it separate.
  4. Heat ghee in a pan and temper it with cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves, mace, red chillies and grated nutmeg.
  5. Fry for few seconds till it leaves its aroma.
  6. Now spoon out the pieces of chicken from the marinade and add to the oil carefully, and let it stir fry for 10 minutes.
  7. Next add the marinade along with the mixture of onion paste with curd and cook for few minutes.
  8. Add further the ginger-garlic paste and freshly pounded white pepper powder, continue cooking on low heat, add sugar and salt to taste.
  9. Do not add any water as the onion, curd and chicken will ooze out enough liquid.
  10. Mix it well with the chicken and cover and simmer on low heat till done.
  11. Add few drops of kewra water or rose-water to the chicken.
  12. Garnish with roasted almonds and dry chilli flakes before serving.

Verdict: well I can not vouch for its authenticity and has a very faintest memory of mutton rezala I once had at Shiraz, never had chicken rezala though, all I can say that it was something unique and new to me and we loved everything about it, right from its mild taste to its magical flavour created by nutmeg and mace, roasted almonds has been added to give it a nutty flavour and roasted dry red chillies adds the color and that smoky touch to the dish.

Variation : If you like to try this recipe with vegetables or other meat like mutton rezala, you can check it here at Ushnish da’s blog where he has elaborately described it.

Be with us for more such scrumptious recipes

Sukanya

 

26 Comments

  • Reply
    Deepa
    May 12, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    One of our fellow blogger Ushnish Kaku had posted an elaborate post about rezala (http://ushnish.blogspot.com/2010/01/razela-festival-veg-non-veg.html) . Kaku 4 types of preparation share korechilen. tumi jodi oono variation chao tahole onar ta dekhte paro.
    I like the gravy if it is little runny when it comes to rezala . And your curry just fits the bill for me. Looks amazing dear.

    Deepa
    Hamaree Rasoi

  • Reply
    Deepa
    May 12, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    thanks a lot for your sweet words dear. Ami ki tomar naam jante pari?

  • Reply
    Sash
    May 12, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    Love your recipes boudi! Keep em coming.

    I have a request. When you get a chance, could you post your recipe for Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani?

  • Reply
    Priya
    May 13, 2011 at 12:20 am

    Omg, chicken rezala looks super rich and simply marvellous, mouthwatering..

  • Reply
    Deboshree
    May 13, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    I want some of this right now… seems absolutely yum! It also makes me realize how long it’s been since I last had chicken… 🙁

  • Reply
    Miz Helen
    May 14, 2011 at 3:35 am

    What a beautiful meal. The recipe looks delicious and your photos are awesome. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and hope to see you next week!

  • Reply
    Vidhya Jayadeep
    May 14, 2011 at 5:20 am

    This curry looks so comforting and rich.

  • Reply
    torviewtoronto
    May 14, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    yummy looking chicken curry

  • Reply
    Devaki @ weavethousandflavors
    May 16, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    Dear Sukanya – You have me convinced. Am making this for saasuma when she gets in at the end of the month – her first meal from the airport. Think she’ll swoon??…lol…

    Listen – have you checked out my forthcoming Epicurean Voyage to Sicily in Oct yet? Please please pass along to foodie friends 🙂

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  • Reply
    Jason@JLHealth
    May 17, 2011 at 2:38 am

    I’ve never had chicken rezala before but after looking at your pictures I will….very soon! Love the walnuts on top.

    Thanks for sharing at the hearth and soul hop.

  • Reply
    suparna
    May 19, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Superb blog with some really awesome recipes! would love to frequent you 😛 Thanks for the wonderful recipe…looks super yummy.
    Happy cooking

  • Reply
    sukanya ramkumar
    May 20, 2011 at 8:41 am

    Lovely traditional dish.. Looks so good. Nice recipe. Mouthwatering….

  • Reply
    Raji Krishna
    May 23, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    Hey thats a yummy read! 😀 Making me hungry as always.. hmm.. being a blore foodie.. m sure u ve tried out fava? the med restaurant..http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fava-Experience-the-Med/187312881309263

  • Reply
    Shilpi Bose
    June 3, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    I keep searching for fellow Bengali food bloggers and am glad I found this blog, this recipe looks yummy, though I personally would prefer to make it without the kewra water but that is a matter of personal taste. Must go through your blog it looks interesting.

  • Reply
    itiriti
    September 21, 2011 at 3:36 am

    Thanks for the wonderful recipe

  • Reply
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    Debraj Mandal
    December 3, 2012 at 5:49 am

    This is a very good recipe.

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    Maitreyi
    November 3, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    Thanks. I am going to try it out tomorrow

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      November 3, 2014 at 6:07 pm

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    suman kalyan
    July 12, 2017 at 8:56 pm

    Very well described ….thanks for the recipe

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