Wednesday, 22 October 2014

MUTTON REZALA -Kolkata Style

Rezala is defined as a very thin aromatic gravy dish
and it gets it's magical taste, texture and aroma from slow cooking
of the meat along with its fat and juices, whole spices used, ghee (clarified butter), yoghurt which forms the main base of the gravy, ginger playing a significant role to lift and balance the flavours (more than garlic) and finally finishing off with a few drops of keora essence. This dish perhaps originated in my home town where food is influenced by various cultures, mainly Mughlai and Chinese. Mutton Rezala  happens to be a Mughlai delicacy.

Do not forget to take a moment to peep into my previous post on Makai Paneer Rezala. made with pure love for my vegetarian readers.

Now, in order to get that authentic taste and flavour of mutton rezala, as in those legendary mughlai food joints in Kolkata you really do not need any fancy ingredients. As I have already mentioned above, the key ingredients that make this dish really magical. The use of ghee is predominant here, (no white oil for cooking please!).When it comes to mughlai cuisine such as biriyani, chaap or rezala ghee or clarified butter makes the heart and sole of the recipe. No, compromise there please..:D

There are several recipes on the internet where lots of dry fruits have been used like cashew nuts and almond, but trust me this is absolutely not essential, and is unnecessary. I am certain that no Rahmania or Shiraz or Arsalan adds cashew paste to their mutton rezala or chicken chaap. It is a very simple dish and hence tad difficult!

Use of poppy seed is quite common in mughlai or Awadhi dishes like chaap and rezala. I have used a hint of poppy seed paste to add a creamy texture to the dish but the same flavour, and taste can be achieved without the use of poppy seed. So, if you do not have a stock up of poppy seed in your pantry, please go-ahead and make rezala to achieve authentic taste and flavour. I do it myself and it happens to be a delish. 

It actually all  depends how well and long you marinate your meat, and of course the judicious use of spices and essence. Remember the gravy is not too thick and clingy (unlike Chaap click for recipe), it is thin, and stewy, with  a thin layer of fat floating on top!

Sharing the recipe from my memory of taste and texture of this magical dish :

You will need :

Mutton on bones (specially the ribs or thigh portion) 800 grams -1 kilo
11/2 cup of Yoghurt /Curd /Dahi (100 ml cups) for pressure cooking and 2 cups if slow cooking.
1/2 tsp Garlic paste (1 fat cloves of garlic)
1 tbsp. Ginger paste (or 1 inch whole ginger)
Whole spices such as
cinnamon 1 stick halved
2-3 green cardamom pods
1-2 cloves
2-3 dried red Chillies
whole black peppers (6-7)
whole white peppers (6-7) -(I did not have)
2 medium onions sliced or 1 large
1 tablespoon poppy seed soaked in warm water
4-5 tbspn ghee (clarified butter)
1-2 tablespoon of white oil
a pinch of mace powder and nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1 cup of hot water (100 ml cup)-do not add if slow cooking
few drops only of Keora essence (available in indian grocery stores: a must for that magical aroma!)


Step 1 : Clean your meat by rinsing under very thin stream of warm tap water. Allow to dry or pat dry with  a paper towel. Marinate with 2 tablespoon of white oil, salt, cover and set aside.

Step 2: Slice onion and pan fry in 2-3 tablespoon of ghee until light pinkish golden in color as in the picture below.

Step 3: In a blender add the fried onion along with any ghee in the pan, garlic cloves, whole ginger, poppy seeds, and make a smooth paste. If using ready to use garlic and ginger paste you may add them directly to the meat in step 4

Step 4 : Now it is time to marinate the meat. Add the paste you just made, The yoghurt, along with the whole peppers, dried red chillies with a pinch of mace powder, nutmeg powder and a tiny drop of keora essence (careful not to add too much). Give  your meet a good massage using your hand. Cover and refrigerate for atleast 24 hours. If you r making it on a short notice you may keep it for less time as I sometimes do, but marinating it for longer hours always helps to produce better tasting meat, that is loaded with flavour, tender and melt-in-the-mouth. If you can marinate your meat 48 hours in advance.

Step 5 :Now take  a pressure pan or a pan with a tight fitted lid. Heat ghee on medium (making sure not to burn the ghee) Add  the whole garam masala and let them splutter.

Step 6:Shake off the marinade from the meat pieces and add that to the pan. Let them sizzle for a while, sautĂ© or braise the meat in the ghee (coating it well and moving it with your spatula) until it changes color (light brownish) and the moisture has almost evaporated. Keep flame on medium high.

Step7: Now pour in the left over marinade, mix well with the meat, simmer the flame and cover and cook until the oil separates.

Step 8:Rinse the bowl with any left over marinade with hot water (1 cup of a 100 ml cup) and once the oil has separated  add the water.

I pressure cooked my mutton rezala upto 3 whistles. You may wish to slow cook covered until the meat is tender.Do not add water if you decide to slow cook... it may take 11/2 -2 hours approximately. Pressure cooking certainly saves time and fuel but if you decide to slow cook, cover your rezala with a aluminium foil and place a tight fitted lid on top, cook it on dum (sealed) until the meat is done.

 You will know that your rezala is ready when a thin layer of fat (from the clarified butter or ghee and the meat itself is floating on the top, while the spicy yoghurt gravy settles at the bottom lacing the meat. finish it off with another tiny drop of keora essence.

Serve hot mutton rezala  with soft Rotis , Naan (Indian Bread) or Biriyani.


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With Deep Care

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  1. I visit your post. And I like it. plz keep continue.Thanks!!
    Chowringhee Laxmi Nagar Menu

  2. I am willing to try it. I was puzzled seeing different types of razala recipe. Now I am at peace. Thanks a lot.


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