Bengali Chicken Rezala

Cook Eat WorldAsianBengali Chicken Rezala
By Published On: January 7th, 20220 Comments

For a rich, creamy, spicy chicken curry, this Bengali Chicken Rezala recipe is a perfect choice. Nutty, fragrant and packed with flavour and personality, this North Eastern Indian delight is one of our favourites. And it’s quick and easy to make at home…

Bengali Rezala Chicken in a black bowl with spoon on a black background.

One of my most favourite styles of Indian curries is Bengali. This Chicken Rezala recipe brings all the flavour and personality of the far north eastern region of the country. Mustard oil and poppy seeds play a central role in creating a dish brimming with flavour and a rich, luxurious texture. It's one of the best Indian chicken curry recipes I make on the regular!

Rezala draws its roots from the Mughal Empire - a cuisine of Islamic references both in ingredients and cooking methods. Rezala is similar to a North Indian Korma style curry – nuts (in this instance cashews) are blended along with white poppy seeds and yoghurt to create a creamy base for the sauce; spices are added and the dish can be served mild or spicy. I like a bit of heat, so use whole dried chillies AND a little hot chilli powder or cayenne pepper for my rezala recipe. You can decide how spicy you want yours, and adjust the heat as you will. As it stands, this dish sits at is around 7/10 on the spice scale.

The sauce for rezala chicken is light in colour with a creamy, thick texture - it's perfect with basmati rice or Indian breads. You can serve it as the main attraction or as part of a larger Indian feast with other curries, vegetables, dal and salad.

Stuff you'll need

To get the authentic flavours you'll need a few ingredients - there's a full recipe below, but these are the main players.

  • Cashew nuts - We'll blend these to help create the creamy sauce
  • White poppy seeds - You can buy these at any Indian market (they're often called 'khus khus' ).
  • Mustard oil - Again, find this pungent oil at any Indian market - it gives the uniquely Bengali personality.
  • Yoghurt - adds a little sourness and creaminess.
  • Onion paste - We puree an onion and fry it for a while to create the base for the sauce
  • Chicken - I use boneless thigh meat as it's juicier and easier. You can joint a whole chicken into 8 pieces too.
  • Whole spices: cloves, cardamom, peppercorns and cinnamon help season the oil.
  • Ground spices: garam masala and cayenne pepper (or hot chilli powder) bring spice and fragrance.
Bengali Rezala Chicken in a black bowl with spoon on a black background.

Step by Step

Following my chicken rezala recipe is easy - all you need is a blender or immersion blender to make the paste. You can create the curry in a few simple steps.

  1. Puree and fry the onion
  2. Soak then blend the cashews and poppy seeds with all the paste ingredients
  3. Fry the whole spices in mustard oil
  4. Add the chicken and onion paste
  5. Add the curry paste and a little water and cook for 35 minutes.
  6. Garnish and serve!
Bengali Rezala Chicken in a black bowl with spoon on a black background.

So, as you'll discover, my Bengali chicken Rezala curry is simple to put together and cook yourself at home. It tastes just like a good restaurant version too, packed with rich Indian flavour. Who needs take out when you can create this delicious curry yourself at home!? If you're a fan of chicken curry, then you must take a look at some of my most Best chicken curry recipes in the Cook Eat World!.

More Bengali & Northern Indian curry recipes

For more delicious Northern or Bengali Recipes, try these delicious curries.

How to make Bengali Chicken Rezala

Bengali Rezala Chicken in a black bowl with spoon on a black background.

Bengali Chicken Rezala

Rate this recipe

5 from 2 votes
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Recipe by Lee
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time50 minutes
Total Time1 hour 15 minutes
Servings (adjustable) 6
Calories (per serving) | 232

Video Recipe


For the onion puree

For the Rezala curry paste

Other ingredients


For the onion paste

  • Fry the onion puree in the vegetable oil over a moderate heat for 5 minutes until cooked and lightly browned. Set aside to cool slightly.

For the curry paste

  • Soak the cashew nuts and poppy seeds in 1/2 cup hot water for 15 minutes.
  • Using a stick blender or food processor, blend the cashew nuts, poppy seeds and their soaking water, with the ginger, garlic, yoghurt, cayenne pepper, garam masala and salt.

For the curry

  • Heat the mustard oil in a large pan until hot, then add the cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, peppercorns and chillies and fry briefly to season the oil.
  • Add the chicken and fry for 2-3 minutes before adding the curry paste and onion paste. Stir fry for 3-4 minutes until bubbling then stir in 1 cup water.
  • Bring to a simmer then reduce the heat to low and bubble gently (uncovered) for 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove from the heat, check for seasoning and serve.
  • Serve garnished with freshness! I like to use chopped radish, fresh coriander, more cashew nuts, and sometimes tomato and raw red onion. You decide. It's also delicious with NO garnish, so don't worry if you don't have anything.


Calories: 232kcal (12%) | Carbohydrates: 11g (4%) | Protein: 13g (26%) | Fat: 16g (25%) | Saturated Fat: 2g (13%) | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 40mg (13%) | Sodium: 654mg (28%) | Potassium: 354mg (10%) | Fiber: 3g (13%) | Sugar: 5g (6%) | Vitamin A: 197IU (4%) | Vitamin C: 3mg (4%) | Calcium: 173mg (17%) | Iron: 2mg (11%)
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Bengali Rezala Chicken in a black bowl with spoon on a black background.

Did you make my Bengali Chicken Rezala

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