Nobumi, the 9th day of Durga Pujo.
A ‘Niramish‘ (Vegetarian) day needs to be followed by an ‘Amish‘ (Meat) day. It is not a rule but an expectation during the Durga Pujo festivities. The ninth day marks the concluding day of the week-long festivities. As the close of the festival gets near, the feasting becomes more lavish. It is almost ritualistic in nature to feast on more intricate dishes. Mughlai, a favourite among the Bengalis, is sure to find its place among the popular cuisines on this grand feast day.
Rezala is one of those Mughlai dishes that are more sought after in Kolkata than anywhere else. It is one of those aromatic stews that infuses the home with the scent of the rich whole spices. The aroma is warm and rich and begs you to wait until it is finally ready. Rezala tastes better if let to simmer and cook, taking its time to meld the spices and finish off with a silky smooth gravy.
This recipe for Rezala is my family’s – from my mother’s hand-written personal recipe book. I believe she acquired this recipe from her cooking class as a young woman. It has never failed to satisfy us. My love for a slow simmering stew that takes a good part of the day to cook is just this. I often make a pot of Rezala because of its convenience and, of course, the fantastic result. We enjoy this just as much with plain white rice as with parathas or naan bread.
- Mutton: 2 lbs (any meat works good)
- Onion: 2 cups cubed
- Garlic: 8 cloves
- Ginger: 2 inch peeled and sliced into 4 pieces
- Full Fat Yogurt: 1.5 cups
- Dried Red chill: 2 whole (if you want to increase heat add more)
- Cinnamon: 2 inch
- Cloves: 6
- Cardamom: 6 slightly crushed
- Bay Leaves: 2 large or 4 small
- White Pepper: 1 tsp whole
- Mace: half
- Milk: 1/2 cup or as needed
- Ghee or clarified butter: 1.5 cup
- Salt to taste
- Wash meat and squeeze the water out. Let sit for 10 mins.
- Add all ingredients except milk in the pot and cook on medium heat until it starts to sizzle.
- Reduce heat to minimum, stir and cover pot. The longer it takes to cook the tastier it is.
- Stir every 15 mins. This will help the onions and garlic to melt and create the thick gravy.
- Let meat cook in low heat until it is completely cooked.
- When meat is cooked add the milk to make the gravy thinner.
- Bring to boil before taking off heat.
- Discard the ginger pieces and the whole spices before serving.
- Serve with white rice or parathas.
Note: If using meat that cooks quickly like chicken and pork fine dice the onions and grate the garlic for a smoother gravy.