Chicken Rezala with Papaya

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Chicken Rezala with Papaya is an East Indian recipe, where meat like mutton or chicken is slow cooked in a creamy gravy, similar to a korma. This recipe was given to me by my school friend Piyasha Mahanta. Piyasha owns a BPO called Appoids Infotech, which deals with tech support and sales for US and Canadian clients. She also loves exploring new places and cuisines and watching movies. She is a regular visitor to this blog and I had asked her to contribute in the guest post section. I am extremely honored because she has shared this recipe, which was passed down to her by her late mother and an economics lecturer, Runumi Mahanta. I felt very touched when Piyasha approved of the pictures I emailed her after making the dish and she said it looked exactly like how her mother used to make it.

Although the rezala style of cooking originated in Bengal, it was influenced by Mughlai cuisine. This is evident in the use of ingredients like cashew nuts, raisins, butter and aromatic spices. But in this recipe, there are some changes, which give it a unique flavor. First, we have not used yogurt, and second, we have used green papaya to marinate the chicken. The result is tender, juicy pieces of chicken simmered in a thick creamy gravy, unlike the traditional rezala which has a thinner gravy. I hope I was able to do justice to the recipe. Over to you, Piyasha:

Here is my mom’s recipe for Chicken Rezala with Papaya. Use local or organic chicken preferably, as it has more flavor and is tenderer. There are also some tips in the end which will help you prepare this dish.

Ingredients:

For marinade:
Chicken: Around 800 gms
Green papaya paste: 2 cups
Cumin powder: 1 tsp
Coriander powder: 1 tsp
Chili powder: 1 tsp
Garam masala powder: 1 tsp
Ginger Garlic paste: 2 tbsp
Lemon juice: 1 tbsp
Salt: 1 tbsp

Other ingredients:
Butter: 1 1/2 sticks or around 150 gms
Olive oil: 1 tbsp
Sugar: 1 tsp
Whole cumin seeds: 1 tbsp
Dried chillies: 2
Bay leaves: 2
Green cardamom pods: 3
Cloves: 3
Cinnamon: 1 inch stick
Chopped onions: 4 medium sized
Raisins: 1/4 cup (optional)
Cream: 3/4th cup
Cashew nuts paste: 2 tbsp
Cumin powder: 1 tsp
Coriander powder: 1/2 tsp
Chili powder: 1 tsp
Garam masala powder: 1 tsp
Sliced tomato: 1 (optional)

Method:

1) Cut the chicken into medium-sized pieces. Wash it clean and pat dry. Mix all the other ingredients of the marinade in a bowl. Add the chicken pieces to it and combine it well with all the ingredients so that the chicken is well-coated. Marinate it for at least 3 to 4 hours.

2) After the marinating is complete, heat a pan and add olive oil and butter into the pan.
3) When the oil and butter  is heated, add sugar and allow it to become slightly brown. Now add the whole cumin seeds, dried chillies, bay leaves, green cardamom, cloves and cinnamon.

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4) Once the whole spices release their aroma, add the chopped onions. Stir the onions till they are golden brown. At this stage, add the marinated chicken and stir it gently.

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5) Meanwhile, in the marinated bowl, take cream, cashew nut paste and add powdered cumin, coriander, chili powder and garam masala. Mix it well for a thick binding.
6) Now add this cream mixture to the chicken and cover the pan. Let it cook well on low heat for  20 minutes.

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7) Now add a little boiling water and the raisins and let it cook for another 15-20 minutes or till the chicken becomes tender and you have a thick creamy gravy.
8) Once the chicken is ready, you can garnish the dish with cream on top and tomato slices for decoration. Serve hot with naan bread or rice. I prefer plain steamed rice.

chicken rezala

Tips:

  • Green papaya is an excellent meat tenderizer and is often used in kebabs and other Mughlai dishes. You can make green papaya paste by peeling the papaya, cutting it in half, scooping out the seeds and putting the papaya chunks in a food processor to make a grainy puree.
  • Cashew nut paste is also one of the most common ingredients in any Mughlai cuisine. It adds a lot of flavor, richness and texture to a dish. Soak cashew nuts overnight and blend them in a food processor to make a paste and use it in any cream-based gravy.
  • Remember that the chicken must be stirred gently and cooked on low heat so that the meat and the gravy does not burn.
Chicken Rezala with Papaya
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Chicken Rezala with Papaya is a Mughlai dish, where the meat is marinated with papaya paste and slow cooked in a rich gravy with cashew cream and spices.
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 6
Ingredients
For marinade:
  • Chicken: Around 800 gms
  • Green papaya paste: 2 cups
  • Cumin powder: 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder: 1 tsp
  • Chilli powder: 1 tsp
  • Garam masala powder: 1 tsp
  • Ginger Garlic paste: 2 tbsp
  • Lemon juice: 1 tbsp
  • Salt: 1 tbsp
Other ingredients:
  • Butter: 1½ sticks or around 150 gms
  • Olive oil: 1 tbsp
  • Sugar: 1 tsp
  • Whole cumin seeds: 1 tbsp
  • Dried chilies: 2
  • Bay leaves: 2
  • Green cardoon pods: 3
  • Cloves: 3
  • Cinnamon: 1 inch stick
  • Chopped onions: 4 medium sized
  • Raisins: ¼ cup (optional)
  • Cream: ¾th cup
  • Cashew nuts paste: 2 tbsp
  • Cumin powder: 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder: ½ tsp
  • Chilli powder: 1 tsp
  • Garam masala powder: 1 tsp
  • Sliced tomato: 1 (optional)
Method
  1. Cut the chicken into medium-sized pieces. Wash it clean and pat dry. Mix all the other ingredients of the marinade in a bowl. Add the chicken pieces to it and combine it well with all the ingredients so that the chicken is well-coated. Marinate it for at least 4 hours.
  2. After the marinating is complete, heat a pan and add olive oil and butter into the pan. When the oil and butter is heated, add sugar and allow it to become slightly brown. Now add the whole cumin seeds, dried chillies, bay leaves, green cardamom, cloves and cinnamon.
  3. Once the whole spices release their aroma, add the chopped onions. Stir the onions till they are golden brown. At this stage, add the marinated chicken and stir it gently.
  4. Meanwhile, in the marinated bowl, take the cream, cashew nut paste and add powdered cumin, coriander, and chilli powder and garam masala. Mix it well for a thick binding.
  5. Now add the cream mixture to the chicken and cover the pan. Let it cook well on low heat for 20 minutes.
  6. Now add a little boiling water and the raisins and let it cook for another 15-20 minutes or till the chicken becomes tender and you have a thick creamy gravy.
  7. Once the chicken is ready, you can garnish the dish with cream on top and tomato slices for decoration. Serve hot with naan bread or rice. I prefer plain steamed rice.
 

 

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Author: Meghalee Das (118 Posts)

Meghalee Das is a former journalist, who occasionally writes as a freelancer. She loves traveling, camping, hiking, kayaking, gardening and of course, cooking. Currently she is doing her MBA from Texas State University and updates her blog whenever she gets the time!


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