White Chicken Korma or Mughlai Chicken Rezala Recipe for Bengali Festive Menu
This Chicken Rezala cooked in Bengali style is a simple spin-off of a traditional Bengali dish called Mutton Rezala. It is a simple a delicious curry where the chicken meat is cooked in its own flavour, slightly accentuated by green cardamoms, coconut milk and nuts paste. This exotic chicken dish looks extravagant but comes together just as easily.
Not everything that glitters is gold, and not every curry has to be red! Synonymous with our varied cuisine, our curries also come in various types and colours. Ranging from red to peaceful white, each one is unique on its own and can give a tough competition to one another.
History of Bengali Mughlai Cuisine
This rezala recipe is straight out of the pages of the history of Bengali cuisine. When the Mughal nobles moved to the eastern parts of the country, they came along with a platoon of khansamah or chefs who brought along with themselves the exclusive style of cooking of the Mughlai cuisine. It had its signature dishes and a varied collection of exotic spices.
Some of the Bengali chicken recipes you see today were brought in by these cultures that later got weaved into the rich tapestry of Bengali cuisine.
Various newer ingredients were introduced to Bengali cooking which was slowly adopted by the mass. Chicken, for instance, was never a part of Bengali cuisine. People relied more on fishes and meat for their protein intake and always considered chicken as something impure. In many families, several elderly people still detest the consumption of chicken meat.
Several spices were introduced like exotic spices and flavour agents like ittr and kewra, which made the Mughlai recipes special and extra flavorful. To thicken the gravy, using cashew nuts & poppy seeds paste began. This would also impart a certain amount of richness to the dish, thus making it more exotic.
How to make Bengali Chicken Rezala – Ingredients list
- Chicken – in-bone pieces. I have used drumsticks here. You can use any other variety
- Ginger & Garlic
- Cashew Nuts
- Poppy Seeds
- Green Cardamom
- Coconut Milk
- Green Chilies
- Bengali Garam Masala Powder – optional
- Kewra water (extract from Pandanus flower)
How to make Chicken Rezala in Bengali style?
Best thing about dishes like Chicken Rezala is that it includes very simple ingredients which makes it perfect for festive cooking over busy weekends. It’s a simple one-pot recipe which goes so well with rice, paranthas (Indian breads) or simply with rotis.
Here’s a step-by-step description of how to make Chicken Rezala in Mughlai cuisine style –
- I got this rezala recipe in a recipe collection that was passed to me by my Nani (grandmother). And that’s how I have been making this all these years. Did you notice that there is no oil or ghee used in this recipe for chicken rezala. The entire dish comes together with the chicken fat and the richness of yoghurt, coconut milk and nuts & seeds paste.
- For the preparation of this chicken rezala recipe, soak the nuts and seeds in lukewarm water for half an hour or so. Meanwhile grind the onion, ginger and garlic into a fine paste. Grind the nuts & seeds into a smooth paste as well.
- Take a heavy bottom pan and boil the chicken pieces with just enough water to submerge them. Drop the green cardamoms in it. Cover the pan with its lid and allow it to simmer just until you see that chicken pieces have been poached. Bring out the chicken and you will see that fat is floating on the water.
- Now, add the onion, ginger and garlic paste to the water. Season it with some salt and let it boil till the water reduces completely. It will take probably 10-15 minutes on high flame. As the onion mix starts to sizzle, add the yogurt, nuts & seeds paste, green chillies and the poached chicken. Give everything a mix and allow it to simmer on very low heat. Add the Garam Masala powder if you want, but this is completely optional.
- Occasionally run the ladle at the bottom to ensure that nothing is sticking at the bottom. When the chicken is cooked completely, turn off the heat and add the kewra extract.
Serving ideas for Chicken Rezala
I have made this Chicken Rezala several times for special festive menus or when I am hosting parties. I love to serve it with Bengali Basanti Pulao (Bengali Pilaf), with additonal side dishes like Dim Kosha (Bengali Egg Curry) and the very versatile Spice Honey Chili Paneer. You can click on the recipe names and check out the recipes.
Besides you can always pair it with simple rice as well as some crispy paranthas.
Some easy Chicken recipes for everyday cooking which might interest you!
- Chicken Tikka Naan Tacos
- Chicken Bharta
- Bengali Chicken Curry
- Chicken & Cheese Kebab
- Khada Masala Chicken Curry
- Chicken Shami Kebab
- Spicy Honey Garlic Chicken
- Chicken Korma with Kebabs
- Lemongrass Chicken Recipe
- Simple (BEST) Butter Chicken Recipe | Murgh Makhani
- Gravy Chilli Chicken Recipe
Best thing about dishes like Chicken Rezala recipe is that it basically includes very simple ingredients which completely make it perfect for festive cooking over busy weekends. It’s a simple one-pot recipe which goes so well with rice, paranthas (Indian breads) or simply with rotis.
- 1 kg Chicken Cut in Medium sized pieces
- 6-8 Green Cardamom
- Salt To Taste
- 1/4 cup Cashew Nuts
- 1/4 cup Coconut pieces Or Coconut Milk
- 1 tbsp Poppy Seeds
- 1/4 cup Yogurt
- 2 Onion Medium – Paste
- 2 tbsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
- 2 Green Chilies
- 1 tsp Garam Masala Powder
- 1 cup Water
- ¼ tsp Kewra Extract
Take a heavy bottom pan and place the chicken pieces in the bottom of it. Add the Water along with some Salt and Green Cardamoms.
Turn on the heat and boil it till the chicken is cooked. This should take 8-10 minutes. As the chicken turns white, take the chicken pieces out and keep them aside.
Now, add the Onion, Ginger and Garlic paste and let this boil till the water is reduced completely and the mix is fried till golden.
Meanwhile, grind the coconut, cashew, and poppy seeds into a smooth paste. You can also use coconut milk.
Add the chicken back into the fried mix and add the nut paste along with yogurt,green chilies and Garam Masala powder.
Stir it gently and cook it for a minute or two on low heat. Turn the heat off once done, add the kewra extract. Mix and serve.
This post was first published on October 7, 2017, later republished on February 22, 2021 with new images and a more elaborate description of the recipe.