Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Chicken Rezala

First time I tasted this dish was at my office cafeteria in Kolkata. One look at the dish reminded me of the famous 'Chicken White Curry' from my hometown. When I tasted it, it tasted quite similar except Rezala is very very low on spices. This, I believe is an authentic Nawabi dish and is included in party fares accompanying Biriyani or Indian breads. Somehow this dish never occured in my To-do list. It's been almost a year now since we moved from Kolkata and Rezala had faded away in my memory. When Sandeepa posted Mutton Rezala, my mind was filled with the taste, texture, aroma of it and I simply could not wait to try it out. I marinated chicken overnight and simply loved my long lost Rezala back on my palate.

Abbas is the kind of a person who is non-intriguing when it comes to food. Yes, he does occassionally request to prepare an Omelette for him, but he is never demanding when it comes to food. After the Rezala was pressure cooked and I removed the lid, the mesmerizing aroma filled up my kitchen. Abbas said "Seemu, it does smell like Rezala!!!" Well, I only guessed he must have been very hungry to have uttered those words. I was very elated though!!! The rezala turned out awesome, since we generally have our chicken in fiery hot gravies, I'm planning to add loads of green chillies next time.

Sandeepa, I'm a Konkani and have been intoduced to Bengali cuisine only after marriage. Your blog is like a never failing saviour to me when I'm cooking the Bong way... Not just your recipes, I am an ardent fan of your writing style. You have a mindblowing sense of humor. Been following your blog for quite some time now, must have commented a couple of times. Keep up the good job.

Chicken  -1 kg
Onion - 21/2 cups of chopped onion
Garlic - 6 cloves
Ginger - 1" piece
Yogurt 1/2 cup for marinade + 2 cups for later

Grind to a Dry Spice powder
Cardamom - 2 big black + 10 green
Mace/Javetri - 1 tsp
Clove - 5
Pepper Powder ~ 1 tsp

For Gravy
Onion - 1/2 of a large thinly sliced (Optional)
Ginger Paste - 1 tsp
Garlic Paste - 1 tsp
Cashew - 2 tbsp soaked and then made a paste
Kewra Water - 1 tsp (must for the fragrance)
Milk - 1 tbsp
Saffron - few strands
Salt - to taste
Ghee - 1/2 tbsp

Whole Spices for tempering
Bay Leaf - 3
Whole Red Chili - 5 -- Do not crack the red chili, use whole, this brings you the smell of the spice without excess heat. Depending on your spice level decrease this quantity
Black Peppercorn - 2-3 tsp whole is better or use 1/2 tbsp of pepper powder
Cardamom - 1 Black + 5 green
Clove - 8
Cinnamon Stick - 2-3

1. Grind to a dry powder the spices listed under "Grind to Dry Powder"

2. Heat Oil. Fry the onion + garlic + ginger until onion is soft and browned at edges. Cool and make a paste.
Add to this 1 cup of yogurt and blend well.

3. In a big large mouthed bowl (or use an aluminum tray) add the washed and cleaned chicken pieces. Add the paste + yogurt from Step 2. Add the dry spice powder from Step 1. Add salt to taste. Mix well. Let it rest for 2-3 hours, overnight is better.

4. Heat Oil + 1 tbsp Ghee in a heavy bottomed large pan. Temper the Oil with all spices listed under Whole Spice. Add about 1/2 tsp of sugar. When the spices sizzle add 1/2 of an onion sliced thin and fry till onion starts to brown. Add 2 tsp of Ginger Paste + 2 tsp of Garlic Paste and fry for couple of minutes.
5. Remove the meat pieces from the marinade, shaking off any excess liquid and add to the pan. Saute the meat pieces till the raw pink coloring is gone. A lot of water will be released at this point and it will smell heavenly.

6. In a bowl beat about 1-2 cups of yogurt + cashew paste. Lower the heat and add this along with the remaining marinade to the pan. Mix everything nicely. Note: Use 3 cups for a lighter gravy, 2 cups for not too soupy one. Add salt to taste.

7. Transfer everything to a Pressure Cooker.If you think that the liquid is not enough, add some water.Add a tsp of Kewra Water. The Kewra Water is important, DO NOT skip it, you can use Rose Water if you don't have Kewra Water.

8. Now close the lid and cook till chicken is tender. Do not over cook. Since I had marinated the meat overnight, I cooked for two whistles on a high flame.

9. In a small bowl heat 1-2 tbsp of milk. Add a few strands of saffron to the warm milk and mix. Once the meat is done and you can open the lid of the cooker add the milk+saffron and close the lid again.

10. Let it sit for 30 minutes and then serve with Rice, Biryani or Naan.

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  1. The name itself tempts me a lot, thanks for sharing this beautiful dish, which is completely new for me..

  2. Thanks so much for liking it :-)

  3. It turned really good..Keep up de good job..Dil Maange More!!

  4. Eta ei weekend e try korte cholechi... kemon holo janabo..

  5. Asha kori bhalo hobe! Waiting to know how it turns out...

  6. Priya, Sandeepa is to be thanked for the recipe...


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