Thursday, March 03, 2016

Chicken Rezala

Chicken Rezala
Mum's Rezala was always delectable. She made it with bone-in chicken pieces that were fried until golden brown and then marinated in whipped yogurt. Her chicken rezala was succulent and delicious! 

Mine is a lazy (wo)man's shortcut that still tastes very good. It involves massaging the yogurt marinade into the chicken and setting it aside for at least 30 minutes at room temperature. I prefer using Greek yogurt so that there is less chance that it will curdle during the cooking process. Adding a teaspoonful of cornstarch to the yogurt will thicken the gravy as the chicken simmers. Greek yogurt should be brought to room temperature before marinating.

A surprising twist to the traditional razaila recipe is to add ground white pepper. It adds a spicy heat and the white pepper keeps the gravy light-coloured and creamy.

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut in bite-sized pieces
1 (6 oz.) unflavoured Greek yogurt, brough to room temperature
1/2 tsp. cornstarch
2 large onions, sliced in thin crescents
1 tsp. ginger paste
1 tsp. garlic paste
1 tsp. Kashmiri mirch or paprika
1 tsp. ground white pepper
3-4 hot green chilies, diced
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. ghee
1 tsp. shah jeera or cumin seeds
2 whole cinnamon sticks
4 whole black cardamoms
1/4 tsp. Bengali garam masala powder
Cilantro, chopped

  1. Whip yogurt with ginger & garlic paste, paprika, salt to taste, white pepper, cornstarch and diced green chilies.
  2. Marinate chicken pieces in yogurt mixture and set aside for 30 minutes.
  3. Heat oil and ghee in a skillet over medium-high heat and sputter shah jeera, cinnamon sticks, cardamoms.
  4. Add onions and stir-fry until onions turn translucent.
  5. Add chicken to skillet and leave untouched for 2-3 minutes so that one side can brown lightly.
  6. Flip chicken pieces over and leave untouched again for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Turn heat down to medium-low, stir chicken well, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  8. Adjust salt to taste and garnish with garam masala and cilantro.
  9. Remove from heat and serve as a main dish over rice or with naan/chapatis.

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