Sunday 7 September 2014


"REZALA" happens to be a thin aromatic stewy dish mainly made with meat such as mutton (aka goat meat) or chicken. The thin sauce gets its delectable taste from the use of whole spices such as peppercorns, ginger, dried red chilli, and whole garam masala (see recipe) and yogurt or curd  forms the main base of the gravy. Finally the essence of keora water is what excites the human appetite. This Awadhi speciality is a perfect show stopper at any vegetarian feast.

Although I have made chicken and mutton rezala ample number of times, this time my attempt was to make it with paneer and makai (sweet corn kernels). The outcome was a smash hit at the dinner table. Sharing this no onion-garlic recipe, one of my thursday vegetarian affairs!

You will need :
Home made Paneer 1 cup (12-15 pcs)
Sweet Corn Kernels : 3/4 cup
(if using frozen corn kernels soak them in warm water)
Yogurt 3/4 cup (100 ml cup)
1-3/4 cup whey 3/4 cup (100 ml cup)
whey, is the olive green color liquid that forms(separating milk and cheese) in the process of making cottage cheese or chena
3/4 teaspoon ginger paste
Dried Red Chilli 2 nos, halved
Black or white pepper corns (whole): 5-6
1 medium stick Cinnamon
2-3 cloves
3-4 Green Cardamom pods, crushed
1 Bay leaf
11/2teaspoon poppy seed, soaked in water for making paste .
4-5 cashew nuts for making paste.
1/2 tablespoon ghee for cooking
2 tablespoon white cooking oil (I have used canola)
fistful of raisins
and a few cashew nuts extra, crushed roughly.
Few sprinkles of keora essence.
(You may even use store bought paneer, in that case use warm water instead of whey)


Step 1 : In wok heat 1 tablespoon oil and sauté or lightly fry the paneer.  Set aside on a paper towel.

Step 2 : In the same wok heat ghee and little oil on medium heat as needed , once  hot add the bay leaf, black pepper corns, dry red chilli, and whole spices such as cinnamon, cardamom pods, cloves and broken cashews. 

Step 3:Once they start to splutter add ginger paste. Sauté. It will start emitting a nice aroma, simmer and let the temperature drop a little.
Step 4: Add the sweet corn and raisins. Sauté and mix.
Step 5:Gently sauté and fold the corn kernels  to coat with the spices.
Step 6:Blend the yogurt with lil salt, and a pinch of sugar, cashew nuts and poppy seeds and add to the wok, the flame should be low at all times. From now on we will be slow cooking, else the yogurt will curdle.

 Step 7 : Stir and sauté, and cover on low flame until you see it starts to release oil on the sides.
Step 8: Add the paneer.Warm the whey for 1 minute or so in microwave or stove stop and add to the paneer. Stir and mix all ingredients to coat. 
Step 9:Give everything a good mix folding the paneer cubes into the sauce , taking care not to break the paneer cubes. check seasoning, and adjust consistency of gravy as desired.
 Step 10: Simmer and cover and bring it to boil. Few sprinkles of keora water and you are done. Cover and turn off heat, allow to rest for 5 mins.
You will notice the gravy settling at the bottom of the pan with a thin layer of fat ( from the ghee or clarified butter floating on top) and 'that' my friends is perfection.
Step 11: Transfer to a serving bowl, and garnish with more cashew nuts, slightly broken. Do not add herbs like coriander or any other..

Savour this mild and delicate curry either with your favourite pilaf, biriyani or bread. You can boot this up even on those busy weeknights under 30 mins with some ready to use paneer. I will soon share a post as to how to make homemade paneer with step by step pictures, so please stay tuned.    

So before you think about a take out dinner, think again ! 
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With deep care


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