Chicken Rezala | Hari Ghotra
4.7/5 rating (7 votes)

Chicken Rezala

A rich and aromatic white curry flavoured with cashews, yoghurt and poppy seeds

  • Heat Medium
  • Serves 4
  • Dietary Info WHEAT-FREE
  • Prep 10 mins
  • Marinade 1 hr
  • Cook 40 mins
Chicken Rezala

Hari says

The Rezala is a traditional dish from East India which is very much rooted in decadent Mughlai cuisine. It's a beautifully rich dish that combines a selection of wonderful spices, nut pastes and different techniques to produce a very fragrant dish. It comprises of a mild white sauce that boasts a gorgeous balance of sweet and tanginess, that's thin in consistency (but you can make it thicker if you prefer) and is topped off with a garnish of vibrant red chillies that float on top.

It's a dish that is synonymous with mutton but I do think the creamy sauce works amazingly well with chicken and I think it should be cooked using meat on the bone. It has a number of different components which may seem complicated at first, but as with this type of dish it's well worth the effort. This version is very much the Awadhi recipe that would have been served for special occasions.

  • Ingredients
  • Method

Marinade

  • 7cm fresh ginger
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 2 tbsp yoghurt
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 8 pieces of chicken on the bone, skin removed

Nut Paste

  • 1 tbsp cashew nuts
  • 2 tsp white poppy seeds

Sauce

  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 4 green cardamoms
  • 7cm length of cassia bark
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • 3 onions
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves
  • 3 green chillies, chopped finely (reduce to make this milder)
  • 3-4 tbsp yoghurt
  • 2 tsp sugar (optional)
  • half tbsp Kewra (screw pine water)
  • pinch saffron
  • a little milk

Garnish

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • half onion sliced into rings
  • 4 dried red chilli
  • sprinkle of salt
  • fresh coriander

Marinade

  1. Crush the ginger and garlic in a pestle and mortar to make a paste and keep to one side.
  2. Marinate the chicken with a little salt, white pepper, half the crushed ginger and garlic paste and 2 tbsp of yoghurt. Mix well and leave to rest for one hour.

Nut Paste

  1. Blend the cashew nuts in a blender until they are very fine then add the poppy seeds and blitz again. And enough water to make this into a thick paste. Set to one side.  

Sauce

  1. Roughly chop the onion and blend to make an onion paste
  2. Heat ghee in a pan then add whole black peppercorns, cardamom, cloves, cassia bark, bay leaves and crushed coriander seeds.
  3. Once the spices become fragrant (30 seconds) add the onion paste and the remaining garlic and ginger paste and sauté until the onion just starts to brown (approx 10 mins).
  4. Add the green chillies and the cashew and poppy seeds paste. Stir
  5. One tbsp at a time, add the yoghurt, waiting until it has melted into the sauce before adding the next spoonful.
  6. Stir in the marinated chicken with all the marinade and coat with the sauce.
  7. Cook the chicken on a gentle heat for 30-40 minutes with the lid on the pan.
  8. Soak the saffron in a little milk.
  9. Once the sauce has all come together and the chicken is cooked through add the sugar, kewra water and the saffron milk and stir it through. If the sauce is still very thick then add some hot water to loosen it a little.
  10. Continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes until the meat is soft and tender and the sauce is thick and creamy.

Garnish

  1. In a separate pan heat the oil and add whole red chillies, onion rings and a sprinkle of salt. Cook until the onions are just browned.
  2. Pour this over the chicken as a garnish with a little chopped fresh coriander.

Crush the ginger and garlic in a pestle and mortar to make a paste and keep to one side.

This goes well with

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Comments

Comments (4)

  • Matthew

    Matthew

    06 July 2016 at 12:57 |
    Would you mind clarifying the lamb madras poppy seed colour as well please. I already made it and I used black but I am sure this is wrong now. Thank you.

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      06 July 2016 at 13:19 |
      Hi Yes, that should be white too but don't worry too much in this instant. White have a milder flavour and don't impact the colour of the dish, they are used for flavour but also as a thickening agent. Black poppy are not really used in Indian cooking. Hope this helps. I will add this detail onto the page to make it easier next time. Thanks Hari

      reply

  • Matthew

    Matthew

    06 July 2016 at 10:12 |
    Hari, can you confirm white or black poppy seeds please. Thank you.

    reply

    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      06 July 2016 at 10:23 |
      Hi Matthew Hi Yes white poppy seeds - i'll amend that on the site now so it's clear. Thanks again Hari.

      reply

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Hari Ghotra