Living in Calcutta, I wonder whether there can be any food lover, especially a biryani lover in this city who has never eaten in the legendary Muslim restaurants here. Be it Shiraz, Rehmania, Nizam, Zeeshaan, Arsalan and the likes, the biryani that you eat here, is dissimilar from what you find elsewhere across India. However, there is much more beyond these mildly flavoured biriyanis. The chaaps, the mussallams and the rezalas for instance, will make it to the top of the list of favourites.
Chicken Rezala is one such dish from these well-known Muslim restaurants of Calcutta. Its exceptional flavour is absolutely divine with a not-so-thick off-white gravy. There is a delicate sweetness in the dish since we use a little sugar. At the same time, there is a faint tanginess because of the usage of yogurt. Overall it’s a preparation that tastes incredible after a nice blend of spices with pastes of cashew nuts and poppy seeds.
To relish your rezala, serve it with biryani or roomali roti.
This is again one of those recipes I had lying with me since a long time. Since so long, that now I fail to recollect its source. However if I think, it was adapted from a popular Bengali lifestyle magazine. Never mind, as long as you and I enjoy the food, the source really doesn’t matter after all. Correct me if I’m wrong.
- Chicken (with bone or boneless) 800 gms
- Bay leaves 2 nos.
- Kewra water 4 tbsp.
- Saffron strands few
- Beaten curd 1/2 cup
- White peppercorns 10-12, crushed
- Dry red chillies 4-5 nos.
- Ginger paste 1 tbsp.
- Garlic paste 1 tbsp.
- Sugar 1 tsp.
- Whole garam masala 4 cloves, 5 green cardamoms, 1 mace, 1 nutmeg
- Cashew nut paste 3 tbsp.
- Poppy seeds paste 2 tsp.
- Ghee 2 tbsp.
- Boiled onion paste of 2 medium sized onions
- Fresh cream 3 tbsp.
- Water 1 1/2 cup
- Salt as per taste
- For garnishing: Roasted almonds - few
- Marinate chicken pieces with curd, fresh cream, crushed white peppercorns and ginger-garlic paste for 1 hour.
- Heat ghee in a pan and add the whole spices, bay leaves and dry red chillies. Fry for 2 minutes. Now add the boiled onion paste, salt, sugar, cashewnut paste and poppy seeds paste. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add the marinated chicken pieces to it along with 1 cup water, kewra water and saffron strands. Cover and cook till done. Garnish with roasted almonds before serving.