chicken rezala, a low fat chicken stew and its variations

Chicken rezala recipe

Chicken rezala or chicken rasala as it is sometimes called, is an easy to cook chicken recipe that can be made into a light everyday type chicken curry or can be dressed up to serve in a party. In fact the recipe of chicken rezala suits bulk cooking really well, especially if you don’t want to engage too many utensils for cooking this dish.

I get many requests for low fat chicken recipes. And there are others (mostly friends) who want tasty chicken recipes irrespective of fat content. Do you see a connection between the strangers (my readers who do not know me personally) mailing me for low fat recipes and friends asking for tasty recipes no matter how much ghee or oil it uses. This chicken rezala recipe fits everyone’s needs. Yes, it can be made into an absolutely light and low fat version and can be dressed up to make a royal looking dish too.

You just have to marinate chicken with dahi (home made cultured yogurt) and a paste of onion, garlic, ginger and a few slit green chillies if you wish. If you want to cook it without any fat you can aromatic spices to the marinade or you can decide to bloom the aromatic spices with a little ghee and then dump the marinated chicken into the pot and simmer on low flame till done.

Taste wise this is something you would like to serve for a get together and get complements without working in the kitchen sweating for perfection.

(for 6 servings)
chicken 1 kg (bony pieces and some fat makes it flavourful)
onion made into a fine paste without water 2 cups
fresh curds 2 cups
ginger 2 inch piece
garlic 15 cloves ( small Indian variety)
green chillies slit 10-12 (optional)
cloves 8 nos.
green cardamon 4 nos.
black cardamom 2 small ones
cinnamon 2 one inch sticks
black peppercorns 20 nos.
Indian bay leaves (tejpatta) 4-5
salt to taste

ghee 2 tbsp or light fresh cream 1/2 cup (ghee for ghee version and fresh cream for low fat version)
fine sliced onion about 1/4 cup if making the ghee version
10 dry red chillies for the ghee version


To make the low fat version, the ginger garlic into a fine paste. Add the whole spices into the paste and pulse the mixie once again briefly to crush the whole spices, they should not be ground into the paste. Add dahi to this paste, all the onion paste, slit green chillies and salt to taste and marinade the chicken into it for an hour or about 15 minutes if you are in a hurry.

To cook the chicken rezala, pour this mixture to the cooking pan, or you can do all this mixing up in the cooking pan itself and place it on the burner directly. Cook covered, stirring in between to ensure even cooking of all the pieces.

There is no need to add water to the cooking mixture as onion and dahi have enough water to cook the chicken well. Wait till the chicken cooks, it takes about 25-30 minutes normally and add the fresh cream to the cooking mixture .

Stir well and cook to a soft boil again. Take off the flame and serve hot with chapatis, kulcha or rice.

Ghee version of chicken rezala 

If making the version with ghee, don’t add the whole spices to the marinade paste.

Heat ghee in the pan, add the sliced onions and fry them till they start getting pink. Now add all the whole spices and dry red chillies and fry for a couple of minutes on low flame till the spices get aromatic and the onion slices are nicely browned. Now dump the marinated chicken into the pot, cover and cook till chicken is cooked and the ghee floats on top.

Party version of chicken rezala 

To make the chicken rezala rich enough to be served at a party, you can add some cashew paste in the last ten minutes of cooking and sprinkle some milk soaked saffron on top while serving.

Variations of chicken rezala flavours 

I usually add a few charred red chillies for smoky effect once the dish is cooked and cover the pot for a few minutes. You can try that.

Sometimes slit green chillies are added in the last stage of cooking to get a different aroma in the curry.

Adding a tsp of sugar while frying the onions brings a nice sweetness to the dish that you may like. I do that to make the ghee version of chicken rezala.

Sometimes when I want the aromatic to shine in my chicken rezala, I add a pinch each of green cardamom powder and mace (jawitri) powder after cooking. Just mix and cover for a couple of minutes before serving.

You may want to add a bit of kewda or screwpine water (especially to the ghee version or the rich party version) if you want to recreate the Mughlai rezala. I don’t like kewda so I never use it.

My 9 year old niece once enjoyed the low fat chicken rezala a lot and wanted some raw onion rings with it. For such a young kid I was surprised when she picked up the raw onion slices but I do understand this chicken rezala is very mild and someone may want an extra spicy kick with it. Actually all mildly hot gravies require some onions in the salad or a hot side dish .

Enjoy as you like it ... you can make a mutton rizala with the same gravy ingredients..


  1. First I'm happy I found your blog, you have yummy recipes here...I'll come back to check more for sure. And yes....we all need recipes like that...full of flavor and low in fat. Looks delicious I will substitute the cream for "labneh"'s a thick yogurt cheese, that I use all the time in my recipes it makes it creamy without the extra calories. Have a great weekend.

  2. Sangeeta I liked the low fat themes in your is very important...and its amazing that you cook delicious foods with a healthy touch in it :)...glad to follow you for more such tips


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