Bengali chicken rezala recipe with step-by-step pictures. Chicken rezala is a popular Mughlai style chicken curry recipe, slow-cooked in curd or yogurt, cashew nuts, poppy seeds based white less spicy gravy, with a perfect blend of ghee, garam masala, and kewra water (or Kewra essence). In Kolkata, rezala is most popular for creating its magic over foodies for ages with its shahi taste and flavor.
Traditionally, rezala has a different version with chicken, mutton, beef, or egg though chicken is most popular among people due to its soft meat and easy-to-digest nature. Though Kolkata’s best Mughlai restaurants like Arsalan, Aminia, Shiraz, Nizam, Royal, Zeeshan all prepare all types of rezala recipes in their kitchen not only with chicken. But rezala is always comes first for high demand among Bong and this chicken curry is mostly served with rumali roti or biryani, though we may have it with plain roti, paratha, or rice too.
Like other Mughlai dishes, we Bongs love rezala, so I got some requests from some of them who want to know how to make this chicken curry at home with the same restaurant-style taste. And today I’m going to share this recipe with them. I hope my step-by-step method will help them to cook restaurant-style chicken rezala at home. Though I must say rezaala is easy to make at home however, traditionally it takes a long time if you maintain its authenticity. But for a quick version, you can use a pressure cooker too.
As when Kolkata was not formed nor even Calcutta, means when Bangladesh and West Bengal together recognized as Bengal, before partition, since then our Bong culinary is partially influenced by the cuisine of Mughals and Awadh (Lucknow). As per Indian history, rezala is also an authentic dish of Mughals, and Kolkata got this recipe during Mughals’ period in Bengal. Even Bhopal and Pakistan also acquired the same recipe from the Mughals. Though in Bhopal and Pakistan this chicken recipe is popular as murgh rezala in their local language.
So must try this homemade bengali chicken rezala and let me know your valuable feedback about this recipe by writing it down in the comment section below.
Tips for making the best Bengali chicken rezala recipe
- If melon seeds are not available around then you may replace them with 5-6 more cashew nuts.
- Cashew nuts, Poppy seeds, and melon seeds must be dry roasted before soaking up to remove the raw smells of it and to quickly soak up the water for getting a fine smooth paste. Though dry roast is not mandatory for the traditional method.
- Must boil the onion to remove its raw smell and that’s mandatory in all restaurants or hotel-style recipes.
- Chicken pieces will be easily cooked in less time if marinated in the refrigerator. However, in the traditional way, it was kept outside and due to slow cooking took more time.
- Traditionally, shahi jeera is used in making this dish. However, Instead of shahi jeera, you may use whole cumin seeds too. or you may add 1/2 tsp cumin powder while marinating the chicken.
- If you don’t have whole white peppercorn then you may add 1/2 tsp white pepper powder to it. You may add it a little more or less as per your taste, but remember it is a very less spicy dish.
- Red chili powder is not used in this dish as traditionally this dish is white in texture and mildly spicy. However, you may use a little red chili powder in absence of white or black pepper powder.
- Must use hot water for making its gravy otherwise, the taste gets bland.
- Don’t add the whole dry red chilies in oil, add it later as I did as the chili must not be fried.
- I don’t add the whole black pepper to the oil rather add it later. You may add it in the beginning oil or later that doesn’t matter.
- If the ground powdered masala remains, store it in an airtight container for later.
Even you may try some of my other bengali chicken recipes
You may try this chicken rezala and have with my kolkata special chicken biryani recipe or Bengali fried rice or white pulao recipe .
Bengali chicken rezala recipe step by step
Prep time: 30 mins
cooking time: 55 mins
Served in: 3 hrs 25 mins
Servings for: 6– 8 people
Course: Main course
Author: Moumita Paul
- 850 gms Chicken
- 3/4 cup or 200 gm Curd
- 5 medium Onions
- 2 tsp Ginger paste
- 1+1/2 tsp Garlic paste
- 2 Green Chillies
- 15 Cashew Nuts
- 1 tbsp Poppy Seeds
- 1 tsp Melon Seeds (Charmagaj)
- 5 Dry Red Chilies
- 1+1/2 tsp Kewra Water/ Kewra essence
- 3 tbsp Ghee
- 4 tbsp Oil
- 1/2 tsp Sugar
- 1+1/2 cup of Hot Water
- Salt (as required)
Whole spices for tempering
- 5 Green Cardamoms
- 6 Cloves
- 1-inch cinnamon stick
- 10-12 black peppercorns
Ground or powdered spices for rezala
- 10-12 green cardamoms
- 1 tsp whole white peppercorns
- 1/2 tsp shah jeera
- 1/2 of mace or javitri
- 1/8 of nutmeg
- 3 cloves
- 1/2 inch cinnamon stick
Grind all the spices above until making a powder of it.
How to make bengali chicken rezala recipe step-by-step with pictures
Step 1- Marination of chicken
- First, clean the chicken pieces with lukewarm water, squeeze them to remove excess water, and keep them aside to use later.
- Take a mixing bowl with 3/4 cup curd and 3+1/2 tsp ginger-garlic paste, and mix it well.
- Add the chicken pieces into the mixing bowl and nicely coat it with curd and ginger garlic paste. keep it aside.
- Now take 15 cashew nuts, 1 tbsp poppy seeds, and 1 tsp melon seeds (charmagaj in Bengali) in a pan and dry roast it for 2-3 mins.
- Then transfer it to a bowl and soaked it in normal water for 15-20 minutes.
- No warm water is needed for soaking as the nuts and poppy seeds are already hot.
- Take 5 small to medium-sized onions, peel them out and make a deep slit from its top.
- Boil the onions well. As shown in the pic. After boiling cool it down for later use.
- When the onion cools down, take the onions, soaked and strained poppy seeds, cashew nuts & melon seeds, and 2 green chilies in a blender jar.
- Blend it to make a smooth paste of it, even you may add little water to it if required.
- Then add the paste(which contains cashew nuts, poppy seeds, charmagaj, boiled onion, and green chillis) to the chicken and mix it well.
- Then marinade the chicken for at least 2 hours preferably in the refrigerator.
Step 2 – Making chicken rezala masala
- Take a pan with 10-12 green cardamoms, 1 tsp whole white peppercorns, 1/2 tsp shahi jeera, 1/2 javitri or mace, 1/8 of nutmeg( 1/4 tsp powdered jaifal), 3 cloves, and 1/2 cinnamon stick. Dry roast all the spices.
- Then ground the all roasted masalas and turn them into a fine powdered form. keep it aside.
Step 3 – Preparation of chicken rezala recipe
- For making this chicken curry, first, place a thick bottom pan in low heat, let the pan heat up, then add 3 tbsp ghee and 4 tbsp of oil to it.
- Once the ghee and oil get hot then add all the whole grama masala spices(cloves, cinnamon, cardamom & black peppercorn) to the pan. Stir it well for 30 secs.
- Then take out the marinated chicken from the refrigerator and add it to the pan, stir it well and let it cook. In the meantime raise the heat to medium to high.
- After 3-4 mins add 4-5 dry red chilies to the pan and give a good stir.
- Then cover the pan with a tight lid, keep the heat at low and cook it for the next 12-15 mins.
- In this stage, stir it occasionally to make sure the gravy is not sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- After 15 minutes remove the cover of the pan and gently turn the chicken pieces and again cover it for 15 mins cooking. Check it occasionally.
- 15 mins later remove the cover and add salt to it(as per your requirement) and mix it well.
- Then add 2 tsp of ground powdered rezala masala to the gravy and give a good stir.
- Now cook it for 8-10 mins without a lid and stir it occasionally to infuse the masala in the chicken.
- After 10 mins add 1+1/2 cup of hot water to it and stir it well. At this time raise the heat to medium-high and let the gravy boil.
- Once the gravy starts boiling add 1 1/2 tsp of kewra water (or kewra essence) to it and mix it well.
- At this moment, you may add 1/2 tsp of sugar to balance the sourness of the curd or just skip it. Even add salt as per your taste.
- Now cook it for more 5-6 minutes in medium flame and turn off the heat.
- Restaurant style Bengali Chicken rezala is ready. Serve this hot chicken curry with roti, paratha, or biryani.