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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Bengal's Favorite Chicken Rezala on the eve of Durga Puja

     The biggest and longest festival of Hindus are around the corner. While rest of the India is fevering for Navaratri, Kolkata, the City of Joy, the city of Bengalis are fevering with Durga Puja. Navratri means "nine nights" in Sanskrit, and on each day of the festival, nine different forms of shakti or Mother Durga are worshipped.  In West Bengal, this festival occurs from day six through ten of Navratri.  On the tenth day, Durga's victory over evil is celebrated as Bijoya Dashami in Bengal and Dussehra in Hindi. All schools are going to close down for 15 days and offices will also shut down for a week. The whole city will be decked up in colorful lights and 'Pandals' in different structures and in different themes will be built for Maa Durga to stay for these 5 days. Potters(idol maker) are busy giving their final touches to Maa Durga's idols. Bengalis will forget all their pains and sorrows and live their lives to the fullest during these days, celebrating their biggest festival with friends, family and neighbours.
    Being a Bengali, I am also suffering from the above fever I mentioned and totally excited for upcoming festive days. Why don't we be excited, our daughter(maa Durga) is coming to her encestral's house with her kids after whole one year. And this calls for a big celebration for us bengalis. Any celebration can't be completed without good food and I have already started planning the menu for festive days, have you? If you didn't, I'm going to share a typical Kolkata Chicken dish which is influenced by Mughlai cuisine. This dish is brought to bengali food culture by the nawabs(mughal ruler) of Mughal Empire.

  Chicken Rezala is a very popular and beloved dish in Bengal. This royal dish is simply magical with its delicious aroma, texture and lip-smacking taste. The chicken is slow-cooked in a white cashew nut gravy with a blend of aromatic spices which lend a divine flavour to this dish. It has a perfect blend of sweetness and sourness in a mildly spiced gravy makes it just delectable with roomali roti or biriyani. I should better give you the ingredients and recipe now.........

You Need :
Chicken - 500 gm, cut into big pieces
Onion paste - 1 cup
Ginger-garlic paste - 1 tbsp
Yogurt - 1 cup, beaten
Red chilli powder : 2 tsp.
Cashew nuts - 1 tbsp, make a paste
Poppy seeds - 1 tbsp, make a paste
White pepper powder - 1 tsp 
Sugar - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Bay leaves - 2
Few cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, mace and a pinch of grated nutmeg
Dry red chilli - 1
Ghee/oil - 2 tbsp
Kewra water - 5-6 drops
How To :
  • Prepare the marinade : Mix 1/2 cup onion paste, 1 tsp. ginger-garlic paste, 1/2 cup beaten curd/yoghurt, red chilli powder, salt and 2 drops of kewra water. Mix well and marinate the chicken pieces with this marinade for at least 1 hour. More the merrier.
  • Make a paste of cashew nuts and poppy seeds seperately.
  • Now heat oil/ ghee in a pan, temper with  bay leaves, dry red chilli, cloves, cinnamon, cardamoms, mace and a pinch of nutmeg in the oil, when they start to sizzle, take out chicken pieces form marinade and place them on oil and in medium heat fry them from all sides for about 7-8 minutes with continuous stirring. 
  • After they are lightly fried, add marinade, rest of the curd/yoghurt, cashew and poppy seed paste and cook in medium flame. Add salt, sugar and white pepper powder to taste. No need to add water, as onion, curd and chicken will ooze out lots of water. If you feel chicken is drying our, add just 1/3 cu of warm water and continue cooking till chickens are tender. 
  • When chicken is done and you have your desired consistency of gravy, add 2-3 drops of kewrta or rose water to the dish. Mix well. Lower the flame and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Serve with roomali ruti or Biryani. I served it with Vegetable Pulao. The taste of this dish is so distinctive and full of aromatic spices at its best.  

These muffins are going to my ongoing event, festive treat(part-2), hosted by Cuisine Delights 

Tuesday, October 08, 2013 / by / 11 Comments


  1. Chicken Rezala looks delicious :) festive wishes to you and family

  2. I thot u ppl eat only veg food during festivals...ths luks scrumptious.. the cashew gravy made me drool

  3. This looks very inviting and delicious..a must try for me...:-)

  4. Inviting chicken rezala, seriously makes me hungry.. my wishes to you..

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Hello Food World,
    No, we don't use Mitha atar in this recipe, instead we use kewra water

  7. I visit your post. And I like it. plz keep continue.Thanks!!
    Laxmi Nagar


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