Bengali Chicken Rezala is a creamy and rich Mughlai curry prepared with chicken, yogurt, cashews, poppy seeds, and a few whole spices. Make it using my easy recipe (gluten-free).
Here are more chicken recipes that you may like – Punjabi Tariwala Chicken, Bihari Chicken Curry, Indian Tomato Chicken Curry, Butter Chicken, Chicken Vindaloo, Dhaba Style Chicken Curry, and Indian Chicken Masala Curry.
About This Recipe
Rezala is a Mughlai-style curry made using yogurt, cashew nuts, poppy seeds, and a few whole spices.
There are a few different versions of this curry. There is a Bhopali version, a Bengali version, and a Bangladeshi version.
Rezala curry is traditionally made using mutton (goat meat) but in this post, I am sharing a Bengali Style Chicken Rezala Recipe.
This creamy and rich chicken curry is packed with subtle and royal flavors. It has sourness from the yogurt, sweetness from cashews, and spiciness from pepper and dry red chilies.
Chicken – Use skinless bone-in chicken pieces for the best taste.
If you are not a bone-in chicken person, then you can use chicken breast cut into bite-sized pieces.
Yogurt (Curd, Dahi) – Plain yogurt makes the base of this curry. If using homemade dahi, then make sure it’s not sour.
Whole Spices – This recipe uses basic whole spices such as clove, black peppercorns, cinnamon, black cardamoms, dry red chilies, and green cardamoms.
Spice Powders – To flavor, the curry further, spice it up with everyday spice powders such as white pepper powder and garam masala powder.
Oil + Ghee – I prefer to use a combination of both, but you can use either of them to make the curry.
Cashew Nuts and White Poppy Seeds – These two ingredients add that perfect creamy texture to the curry.
If poppy seeds are not available, then skip using them in the recipe or replace them with melon seeds.
Others – You will also need ginger garlic paste, salt, onion paste, kewra essence, and saffron strands.
To make onion paste, blend a medium peeled onion in a blender along with 3-4 tablespoon of water to make a fine paste.
How To Make Bengali Chicken Rezala
Marinate The Chicken
Mix 1 kg skinless bone-in chicken (cut into 1 and ½ inch pieces), 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste, and 1 cup plain yogurt in a bowl and marinate for an hour.
Make Poppy Seed Paste
Soak 10-12 cashew nuts and 2 tablespoon white poppy seeds in 2 tablespoon warm water each for 10 minutes.
Transfer the soaked cashew nuts and poppy seeds to a blender along with the water they were soaked in.
Add 4-5 green chilies to the blender and blend to make a smooth paste.
Make The Chicken Rezala Curry
Heat 3 tablespoon ghee and 2 tablespoon oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
When the ghee is hot, add 3-4 cloves, 6-8 whole black peppercorns, 2-inch pieces of cinnamon stick, 2 green cardamoms, 2 black cardamoms, and 4-5 dry red chilies to the pan and saute for 10-15 seconds.
Pick chicken pieces from the marinade and add them to the pan. Fry for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the remaining marinade, cashew nut and poppy seeds paste, 1 teaspoon white pepper powder, 2 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon garam masala powder to the pan and mix well.
Add ½ cup of onion paste and 1 cup of water to the pan and mix well.
Reduce the heat to low.
Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and cook for 40-50 minutes, until the chicken is cooked well.
Stir a few times while cooking.
Finally, add 1 tablespoon ghee and 2-3 drops of kewra essence and mix well.
Check for salt and add more if required.
Garnish with saffron soaked in milk and serve!
Pro Tips By Neha
Do not replace white pepper powder with black pepper powder as it will darken the color of the curry.
Kewra essence has a very strong flavor. Do not use more than 2-3 drops otherwise it may make the curry bitter.
Saffron is optional but it gives a very rich and delicious aroma and taste to the curry so I highly recommend it.
Bengali Chicken Rezala will last you for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Store it in a clean and dry air-tight container and make sure to close the lid after every use.
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Bengali Chicken Rezala Recipe
To Marinate The Chicken
- 2 pound skinless bone-in chicken (1 kg, cut into 1 and ½ inch pieces)
- 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
- 1 cup plain yogurt (dahi, curd) (whisked)
To Make The Paste
- 10-12 cashew nuts (kaju)
- 2 tablespoons white poppy seeds (posta dana)
- 4-5 green chilies (stalks removed)
For The Curry
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 tablespoons ghee (divided)
- 3-4 clove
- 6-8 whole black peppercorns
- 2 inch piece of cinnamon stick
- 2 whole green cardamoms
- 2 whole black cardamoms
- 4-5 whole dry red chilies
- 1 teaspoon white pepper powder
- 2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
- 1 teaspoon garam masala powder
- ½ cup onion paste
- 2-3 drops Kewra essence
- 1 pinch saffron (soaked in 1 tablespoon milk)
Marinate The Chicken
- Mix chicken, ginger garlic paste, and yogurt in a bowl and marinate for an hour.
Make Poppy Seed Paste
- Soak cashew nuts and poppy seeds in 2 tablespoons of warm water each for 10 minutes.
- Transfer the soaked cashew nuts and poppy seeds to a blender along with the water they were soaked in.
- Add green chilies to the blender and blend to make a smooth paste.
Make Chicken Rezala Curry
- Heat 3 tablespoons of ghee and oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
- When the ghee is hot, add cloves, black peppercorns, cinnamon, green cardamoms, black cardamoms, and dry red chilies to the pan and saute for 10-15 seconds.
- Pick chicken pieces from the marinade and add them to the pan. Fry for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the remaining marinade, cashew nut and poppy seeds paste, white pepper powder, salt, and garam masala powder to the pan and mix well.
- Add onion paste and 1 cup of water to the pan and mix well.
- Reduce the heat to low.
- Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and cook for 40-50 minutes, until the chicken is cooked well.
- Stir a few times while cooking.
- Finally, add 1 tablespoon ghee and kewra essence and mix well.
- Check for salt and add more if required.
- Garnish with saffron soaked in milk and serve!