Chicken Rezala

When we talk about the Rezala my minds saunters back to Kolkata. Who can forget the delectable Mutton and Chicken Rezala of Amenia and Sabir. A trip to Chandni Chowk was not complete without Naan and Rezala at Sabir. This is a Mughlai preparation with chicken in a white delicately flavoured gravy. It’s difficult to define the taste of the Rezala. On the Palate it feels like a fine balance of Sweet, Sour and Spicy mouthfeel. The Chicken Rezala is a festive dish popular during the Durga Puja celebrations in Kolkata or at a wedding feast. Ideal dish to impress your friends and family at house parties. The gravy is a heady mix of cashew nuts, poppy seeds blended with Yoghurt and desi ghee. Add to that a few drops of Kewra water and a dash of Saffron and Viola the aroma will blow you away. The Chicken Rezala is a semi gravy dish which teams well with both Indian breads and rice or pulao. So, ring in the festivities with the Chicken Rezala. Happy Fooding Around.




Chicken Rezala

  • Author: Reetika Mitra
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 35 mins


Add A Mughul Touch To Your Festivities



  • 1 kg Chicken with bones, cut into medium sized pieces
  • 2 Tbsp Ghee
  • 2 Tbsp Oil
  • 2 Tbsp white Poppy seeds
  • 1012 Cashew Nuts
  • 1 cup Yoghurt for Marinade
  • 1 Tbsp Ginger paste for Marinade
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic Paste for Marinade
  • 1 Tbsp Lime juice
  • ½ cup Onion paste
  • Salt, according to taste
  • A generous pinch of Saffron (Kesar soaked in 3 Tbsp warm milk)
  • 23 drops of Kewra water
  • 3/4th cup thinly sliced Onion (for Barista )

Ingredients for the Spice Mix Powder:

  • 3 Black Cardamoms
  • 10 Green Cardamoms
  • ½ Tbsp Mace
  • 5 Cloves
  • ½ Tbsp white Peppercorns

Ingredients for Whole Spices Used :

  • 2 Bay leaf
  • 2Black Cardamoms
  • 5 Green Cardamoms
  • 1 Star Anise
  • ½ Tbsp Mace
  • ½ Tsp white Peppercorns
  • ½ Tsp black Peppercorns
  • 35 dry Red Chillies (according to spice intake)


  1. Soak the poppy seeds and the cashew nuts in warm water for 10 -15 mins. Grind them to a fine paste using the mixer grinder or the mortar and pestle.
  2. To prepare the Barista, deep fry the sliced in hot oil till they turn golden brown and crisp. Drain over kitchen paper towels.
  3. For the Spice Mix powder, simply transfer all the whole spices to a grinder jar and grind them to a fine powder. You may use the mortar and pestle too.
  4. For the Marinade together 4 tbsp yoghurt, garlic paste, ginger paste, salt and 1 tbsp lime juice.
  5. Wash and pat dry the chicken pieces and transfer them to a bowl. Pour over the marinade over the chicken pieces. Gently rub and massage the chicken with the marinade. Make sure all the chicken pieces are well covered and uniformly coated with the marinade. Cover with a cling film and let it rest in the refrigerate for a good 4 hours. It’s even better and desirable if you can keep the chicken to marinate over night, that is 8 hours.
  6. Heat the 2 tbsp ghee and 2 tbsp oil in a deep bottom pan over medium heat. Add the whole spices mentioned that is bay leaf, dry red chillies, black cardamoms, green cardamoms, star anise,  white peppercorns, black peppercorns and mace.
  7. Shake off the excess marinade from the marinated chicken pieces and add them to the pan. Saute the chicken pieces till no more water is released and are light golden in colour. This should take around 5 -6 mins as it is normal for some water to be released due to the marination.
  8. In the meantime whisk together the remaining marinade and the poppy seed – cashew nut paste. Mix them well together. Reduce flame to a low and add the mix to the pan over the chicken pieces. Add ½ cup onion paste as well. If the flame is high or even medium, there is a high chance the yoghurt might split.
  9. Saute and simmer over low heat for 3 -4 mins stirring frequently till the colour of the yoghurt mixture changes from white to a creamish and starts to release a lovely aroma. The onion paste should also turn golden in colour.
  10. Pour 1 cup of water and give it a good mix. Cover with a lid and cook over medium-low heat for about 15 mins or until the chicken is done and cooked well.
  11. Now pour the soaked saffron – milk, barista and 1tbsp heap of the spice mix powder. You may store away the extra for later use. Stir, cover and sim for another 1 -2 mins.
  12. Serve hot! Goes well with most Indian breads, rice or pulao.


The marination can be done overnight if you have the time. The original Rezala recipes uses ghee as the cooking medium but that can become too rich. So I have used a blend of oil and ghee.
If you are marinating the chicken overnight,  remember to remove the marinated chicken from the refrigerator and bring the chicken pieces to regular room temperature before you start cooking them.
The Rezala is originally made with Mutton (Goat meat). But we prefer white meat over red ones, so keep making Chicken Rezala at home for celebrating occasions.


  • Serving Size: 4

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