Monday, November 28, 2016

Chicken Rezala - Boneless Chicken in Yogurt Sauce

Chicken Rezala
Mum made her rezala with bone-in, golden browned chicken which I've replaced with boneless, skinless chicken thighs to cater to the taste of people in my household. There are umpteen different recipes on the internet for this dish, some more complicated than others. I'm all for easy cooking, so please excuse me if you don't consider this the authentic way to make rezala.

In keeping with the white and creamy appearance of the gravy, the chicken pieces are not browned and white pepper powder adds a tinge of spiciness without darkening the look. If you prefer to use bone-in chicken, double the amount of chicken and increase the cooking time.

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut in bite-sized pieces
1 (6 oz.) tub of Greek yogurt, brought to room temperature
2 medium or 1 large onion, quartered
6-8 cloves garlic, peeled
1 green chili, minced
1 Tbsp. ginger paste
1/2 tsp. white pepper powder
2 Tbsp. poppy seeds, soaked in hot water for an hour
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. butter
2 whole large, black cardamom
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
1 tsp. shah jeera/cumin seeds
1 tsp. kewra water/pandanus extract
salt and sugar to taste
2 Tbsp. cilantro, minced
2 green chilies, slit
1/2 tsp. garam masala powder

  1. Soak poppy seeds in hot water for an hour.
  2. Blanch onions and garlic in boiling water for 2-3 minutes and strain.
  3. Whip yogurt until fluffy and set aside.
  4. Strain poppy seeds and blend until thick and smooth.
  5. Add yogurt, onions, garlic, ginger paste, white pepper, kewra water & blend, just until combined.
  6. Marinate chicken in blended paste for 30 minutes.
  7. Heat oil over medium-high heat and sputter cumin seeds, cinnamon, cardamom and star anise.
  8. Reduce heat to medium-low, add marinated chicken, cover and simmer.
  9. After about 30 minutes, when chicken is tender, adjust salt and sugar.
  10. Garnish with cilantro, slit green chilies and garam masala powder.
  11. Serve with hot rice or chapatis.

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