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Chicken Rezala

Chicken Rezala is an extremely flavorful Mughlai chicken preparation where the chicken pieces are doused in a fragrant nut & yogurt based white sauce that's thin & slightly on the sweeter side. You can make Chicken Rezala easily in your Instant Pot with a few quick steps.
5 from 3 votes
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Chicken Rezala
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 3 people
Author: Meghna Chakraborty


For the Chicken Marinade

  • 700 gms chicken on bones cut into 2.5" pieces & de-skinned 1.54 pounds
  • 4 tbsp Yogurt
  • 1/2 cup sauteed onion + garlic + ginger paste see NOTES to learn how to make it
  • 1-1/2 tbsp special spice powder see below how to make it
  • 2 tbsp Ghee if not liquid add 1 tbsp

For the Special Spice Powder

Whole Spices

For making the Chicken Rezala


How to make the special spice powder or Masala powder?

  • Gather all the whole spices and grind them in a mortar & pestle or mixer grinder. Set aside. If you have some excess masala powder at the end you may store it in an air tight jar for later use.

How to marinate the Chicken?

  • Take the de-skinned chicken pieces in a clean dry bowl. I used about 2.5" chicken pieces & I used a mixed variety from a whole chicken.
  • Add all the ingredients mentioned above from the " For the Chicken Marinade" section and massage the chicken pieces very well until all the chicken pieces are uniformly coated with the marinade. 
  • Wrap the bowl with a cling film & allow the chicken marinade to rest in the fridge for overnight or 24 hrs.

How to make Chicken Rezala in Instant Pot?

  • Set the Instant pot on SAUTE & set it on NORMAL.
  • Add the ghee. When the ghee is moderately hot throw in the whole spices & allow them to sizzle until fragrant.
  • Next, shake off the excess marinated from the chicken pieces & add them to the pot. Fry the chicken pieces until lightly golden & no more water comes out from the meat. While frying the chicken it will release lots of water, that's normal. The frying process should take you about 5 mind. 
  • Now,, in a bowl add the yogurt & the poppy seeds+cashew paste (see NOTES below how to make it). Whisk briskly to mix them into an uniform paste. Add this to the pot. Reduce the heat from NORMAL to LOW before adding this mixture. In high heat the yogurt might split.
  • Mix well with the chicken pieces. Keep stirring & up the heat back to NORMAL again in your Instant Pot. Keep stirring for 2-3 mins. The yogurt mixture will change color from white to slightly creamish & become intensely fragrant. 
  • Add about 1/2-1 cups water. Mix well. Put the lid of the Instant Pot & seal the valve.
  • CANCEL the SAUTE mode & press the PRESSURE COOK button & set it on HIGH for 4 mins (see NOTES for more info on the cooking time). Pressure cook the rezala.
  • After 4 mins when the Instant Pot begins to beep do a Quick Pressure Release (QPR). Open the lid.
  • Throw in the rest of the special masala powder, the birista, the kewra water(if adding any) & the saffron soaked in water. Give everything a very good mix. 
  • CANCEL the PRESSURE COOK mode & press the SAUTE button & set it on NORMAL. Simmer the Chicken Rezala for 2-3 mins. A beautiful layer of ghee will float on the top & your whole house will become fragrant.
  • Serve hot. Enjoy!

How to make Chicken Rezala on Stove Top?

  • Follow the exact same recipe and replace the Instant Pot with a normal Kadai or pot. Set it over medium heat.
  • Add ghee & when the ghee becomes moderately hot gently release the marinated chicken pieces shaking off the excess marinade. Fry them until lightly golden. The chicken might release water but as you keep on frying them the water will evaporate leaving behind the oil.
  • Next, add the simple mix of the rest of the marinade + yogurt + cashew popy seeds paste to the fried chicken pieces. Mix everything well. Simmer for few mins. You'll notice that the white color of the gravy will change into slightly creamish.
  • Now, add water. Give everything a good mix. Cover & cook over medium low heat until the chicken is cooked well & the meat comes off the bones easily. It should take you about 15 mins.
  • Open the lid of the kadai. Throw in the saffron soaked water + rest of the masala powder + the fried onion or barista and mix everything well.
  • Simmer for 2-3 mins more. Serve hot. Enjoy!



  1. How to make the Onion paste? Heat 2 tbsp white oil or ghee in a skillet. Add 2 cups sliced onion + 6 cloves garlic + 1/2 tbsp chopped ginger. Sautee for 2-3 mins until the onion becomes limp. Allow to cool down & make a fine paste in a blender.
  2. How to make the poppy seeds + cashew paste? Soak 1.5 tbsp white poppy seeds + 12 whole cashew nuts in warm water for 15 mins. Later make a smooth paste in a blender. 
  3. How to make the Birista? Thinely slice onions & deep fry them in hot oil until lightly golden & slightly crisp.
  4. Kewra water: It's recommended but not mandatory. I ran out of Kewra so didnot add any for today's recipe. But, if you have some do add a few drops.
  5. Do not fry the chicken along with the marinade. Always shake off the excess marinade & than add the pieces to the hot oil.
  6. For Best flavors 8 hrs marination is recommended.
  7. Cooking time: 24 hrs marination = 2 mins on HIGH pressure in Instant pot. 8 hrs marination = 4 mins on HIGH pressure in Instant Pot.
  8. Measuring cup used, 1 cup = 240 ml & 1 tablespoon = 5 ml.
  9. Instant Pot used : 6 quart DUO.
Nutrition Facts
Chicken Rezala
Amount Per Serving (584 g)
Calories 561 Calories from Fat 405
% Daily Value*
Fat 45g69%
Saturated Fat 16g100%
Cholesterol 136mg45%
Sodium 131mg6%
Potassium 558mg16%
Carbohydrates 12g4%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 27g54%
Vitamin A 855IU17%
Vitamin C 67.7mg82%
Calcium 171mg17%
Iron 2.6mg14%
* Read our privacy policy - Calorie information is provided as a courtesy only and should be leveraged as an estimate rather than a guarantee.Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


Serving: 584g | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 45g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 136mg | Sodium: 131mg | Potassium: 558mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 855IU | Vitamin C: 67.7mg | Calcium: 171mg | Iron: 2.6mg