Chicken Rezala

What makes this recipe special? – Among the popular Bengali delicacies like Kosha Mangsho, Machher Jhol or Begun Bhaja, we have lesser-known Chicken Rezala which is a slowly cooked, subtly flavoured, extremely aromatic, rich and nutty chicken curry in white gravy. It has a Mughlai origin and can be easily prepared using regular staples at home. Quintessentially Bengali will leave you wanting for more.


  • For the Marinade
  • 250gms Curd, Beaten
  • 1 Tbsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
  • 1/2 Tsp Black Pepper Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Onion Paste
  • 1 Tsp Salt, Adjust as Per Your Taste
  • 1/2 Tsp Garam Masala
  • For the Gravy
  • 1 Kg Chicken, Curry Cut
  • 3 Medium Onions, Ground
  • 1 Tbsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
  • 5 -6 Cashews
  • 1 Tbsp Poppy Seeds
  • 1/2 Black Pepper Powder
  • 1 Tsp Cumin Powder
  • 1 Mace
  • 2 Bay Leaves 
  • 1 Tsp Black Peppercorns
  • 6 Cloves
  • 3-4 Green Cardamom
  • 1 Black Cardamom
  • 1-Inch Cinnamon Stick
  • 2 Dry Red Chilies
  • 2 Tbsp Oil/Ghee
  • 1 Tsp Salt, Adjust as Per Your Taste
  • 1 Tsp Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Kewra Water
  • 1 Tsp Rose Water
  • 5-6 Saffron Strands


Prep: 45 minutes
Cooking: 30 minutes

  1. Take chicken in a large bowl. Add beaten curd, ginger-garlic paste, black pepper powder, onion paste, salt and garam masala. Massage the ingredients well into the chicken and let it rest for about 30 mins.
  2. While the chicken is resting, grind the cashews and poppy seeds into a smooth paste. Now, heat oil/ghee in a pan. Add the whole spices and let them splutter till fragrant.
  3. Then, add the onion paste and sauté till it changes colour.
  4. Add the ginger-garlic paste and sauté till the raw smell goes off. Finally, add the powder spices and the poppy seed & cashew nut paste. Sauté it well. Add the marinated chicken along with the marinade and cook for approx. 5 mins.
  5. Now, add water and adjust the seasoning. Mix well. Let it simmer for about 15 – 20 mins till the chicken is cooked.
  6. Once the chicken is done, add the saffron strands, kewra water and rose water. Cover and rest for 5 mins for the aromas to get absorbed in the gravy.
  7. Serve hot garnished with some mint leaves. Enjoy heartily with ghee rice, tandoori roti or naan.