In our family, Mutton Rezala, paired with parathas, is reserved for celebratory meals. An absolute favourite in Kolkata, the Rezala – meat cooked in a yoghurt sauce – has its roots in Mughal cuisine, but the dish is a far cry from the unctuous and rich gravies we tend to associate Mughlai food with. It is light and subtle. And in Kolkata, you have not had a rezala if you haven’t tasted the one at Sabir, a 70-year-old eatery on Biplabi Anukul Chandra Street, Chandni Chowk Metro Station.
- 500 gm mutton
- 300 ml yoghurt
- ¼ cup onion paste
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp ghee
- 1 tsp green cardamom
- 1 tsp cloves
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 3-4 dry red chillies
- 2 one-inch cinnamon sticks
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 tbsp ghee
- 3 tbsp poppy seeds paste
- 2 tbsp cashew nut paste
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp nutmeg powder
- ½ tsp crushed mace
- 2 onions, ground into a paste
- In a bowl, marinate the mutton with curd, onion paste, garlic, ginger and salt. Cover the bowl and refrigerate.
- Heat two tablespoons of ghee in a pressure cooker, and add the whole spices meant for tempering.
- Once the spices are fragrant, add the mutton pieces, without the marinade (shake of any excess marinade coating the meat). Reserve the marinade.
- Fry the meat for 2-3 mins on medium high flame.
- Add 2 cups of warm water to the reserved marinade and mix well.
- Once the mutton begins to change colour, add the watered-down marinade into the cooker.
- Bring it to boil, close the lid and cook until the meat is half done (should take about 4-5 whistles).
- Heat rest of the ghee in a large wok or pan. Stir in the onion paste and sauté for 1-2 mins or until the onion turns golden.
- Pour in the poppy seed paste and cashew paste and continue to sauté for another 2-3 mins.
- Add nutmeg powder and crushed mace.
- When ghee separates from the masala, add the mutton pieces and fry for 4-5 mins.
- Now pour in the spiced mutton stock to the pan.
- Cover and continue cooking until mutton is nicely done.
- At this point, add salt and sugar. Check and adjust seasoning to taste.
- Once the mutton is cooked through, switch off the flame and transfer the dish to the serving bowl immediately.
- Top it with a dollop of ghee. Serve hot.