Do you know how long it’s been since I posted a curry on this blog??
I’ll tell you: four months!! I mean, I never meant this to be a curry blog, but still… for someone who eats at least one curry a week, I should do better than that!
So here I am today, with this fabulous recipe: Chicken Rezala! Doesn’t the name sound melodious? Even romantic? Re-za-la…
Chicken Rezala is a velvety, white chicken curry from West Bengal, India. It was a dish created in the royal kitchens of the Nawabs of Bengal and hence is strongly influenced by the Mughlai cuisine.
What makes it unusual? Well, first the color: notice the absence of the usual ‘coloring’ spices: turmeric and red chilli powder. They are no where in sight.
Instead, more subtle spices are used. White pepper powder, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, mace, nutmeg, along with a dollop of cashew nut and poppy-seed paste.
These spices are used whole, so they don’t interfere with the pristine whiteness of the curry.
Very refined, very classy… fit for royalty, did you say? I agree 😀
There are so many layers to this curry. The ingredients of the marinade and the ingredients added during cooking, the whole spices which release their flavors slowly… it is truly magical.
And yet, it is quite easy to make. It does take a bit of prep, but what good endeavour doesn’t 😀 At the end of it all, you will have a fabulous curry, which is a joy to dunk some flaky parathas or chapatis in…
Here’s the recipe (adapted from A Homemaker’s Diary).
500-600 grams Chicken, cut into large pieces (5-6)
2 medium Onion
1 inch piece Ginger
3-4 large cloves of Garlic
1 cup thick Yogurt
10 Cashew nuts
2 teaspoon Poppy seeds
3-4 Whole Dry Red Chilies
2 Green Cardamom
1 Black Cardamom
2 inch piece Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon White Pepper powder
1/8 teaspoon Nutmeg powder
2 tablespoon Oil
1 tablespoon Ghee
Salt as per taste
1/2 teaspoon Sugar
Wash and drain all the water from the chicken.
Peel, chop and grind the onion, ginger and garlic to a very smooth paste.
Soak the cashew and make a smooth paste with poppy seeds.
Beat the yogurt till smooth and add to the chicken, along with the onion+ginger+garlic paste, salt, nutmeg powder and pepper powder.
Mix and keep aside at least for an hour.
Once you are ready to cook heat the oil and ghee in a large pan.
Lightly pound (just one or two strokes for the pods to open and release more aroma) the whole spices and add to the oil.
Let it sizzle and release aroma. Shake off the marinate from the chicken and arrange them on the pan, preferably in single layer.
On medium heat seal the chicken and cook till all sides turn white.
Now pour in all the marinade and mix.
Cook for 8-10 minutes and then add the cashew + poppy seeds paste.
Cook for a minute and pour 3/4 cup warm water. Adjust seasoning and cover pan with a lid.
Let it simmer on low heat till oil starts to float on top and the chicken is cooked through.
Uncover and stir in the sugar. Keep covered till you are ready to serve.
Serve with flat breads or steamed rice.