Sabir's Mutton Rezala Recipe
By Barnali Dutta, published by Prasadam:
Mutton Rezala with Paratha is the most desirable dish during the festive season of our family due to its comparitively low richness, the fact which has set our mind free to eat sufficient red meat once in a year in the tropical geographical climatic region like Kolkata. The word 'rezala' stands for "khoobsurat" meaning beautiful. In reality the beauty of this highly popular Mughal dish Rezala [lamb or goat meat in a thin yogurt sauce] can only be understood by those who have tasted it from the menu of Sabir's Hotel. This eatery situated at 3 and 5 Biplabi Anukul Chandra Street, Chandni Chowk metro station, kolkata acquainted the Bengali cuisine in the year 1948.
Said Sabir Ali from the state of Uttar Pradesh came to Kolkata in search of earnings. While working for a daily meal eatery where he used to make tikia and paratha he conceived the idea of introducing the mughal cuisine in Bengal. The only few restaurants dedicated to this cuisine then were Royal of Chitpur, Nizam's of Hogg St, New Market, and Amzadia itself. Along with the general mughlai items served he inaugurated the rezala in his "Sabir's Hotel and restaurant". There goes the story behind the famous Sabir's rezala and the uniqueness it holds. It started out at 10 paise per plate and was charged 23 INR then when this recipe information was published in Bengali Magazine "Sharadiya Bartaman" and now it is priced at 120 rupees per plate.
Due to its obnoxious location, a corner shop on a very congested area of Chandni Chowk and lack of ambience this eatery is barred of much of the attention it deserves. Hence this is my effort to reconstruct the similar experience of Sabir's Rezala at home following the recipe shared by Sabir's. According to Anis Ahmed, the partner to the owner of the famous restaurant, secret of the taste lies in the preparation. However, he disclosed the recipe. The ingredients are simple. Made out of mutton breast, the spices include dahi, ghee, posto or poppy seeds, zafran, and jaitri. The proportionate mixing of the spices gives it the right taste. "This is where most people go wrong," said Ahmed. Even if you are closely correct in the proportion you will never get the right taste at home. The trick, he said, is in the fuel. "You can never get the taste unless you cook it in charcoal fire," said Ahmed. he had given the recipe to many customers, but they all failed to get the Sabirian taste and came back to Sabir. Then there is the paratha to go with the mutton delicacy. The rust coloured flour, that has the typical Sabirian mark in it, melts in the mouth as you chew it along with the rezala. The flour kneaded in milk, malai and sugar gives it the unconventional sweet taste and that's haunting. Nothing matches the duo — rezala and paratha. Please do try out and share how much it resembles the original one.
Prep time: | Cook time: | Total time: | Yield: For 4
Serving size: 2 pieces | Calories per serving: 325
- Slight fat reyaji meat from ribs Goat meat: 1 kg,
- Onion paste 1/4 cup
- Ginger and garlic paste 2 tsp
- Curd 400g
- Fresh lime juice 1 tsp
- Ghee or white oil for marination 2 tbsp
- Dry roasted spices powder
White peppercorn 1 tsp, Mace 1 petal, Nutmeg 1/4 from a whole nut, Caraway seeds 1 tsp, cinnamon 1/2 inch, cardamom 2 to 3 : for marination, 3 tsp mix powder
- Soaked cashew nuts 5 to 6 and 1 pinch saffron [optional] in 1 tbs warm whole milk : Make a paste and make it 1/4 cup by adding required warm milk.
- Soaked poppy seeds in a little warm water 2 tsp
- Salt to taste
- Bay leaves 5 to 6
- Fried whole dried red chilies 8 to 10
- Fried whole black peppercorn 2 tsp
- Panadanas Syrup or keora water 2 tsp
- Roasted makhana or lotus seeds in 2 tsp ghee 1/4 cup
- Mitha attar 4 to 5 drops
2. Keep the marinated meat covered in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
3. In the mean time make a paste of poppy seeds and mix with cashew nut paste.
4. Though meat will be best marinated after keeping overnight or for at least 6 to 8 hours in the refrigerator, one may cook after at least half an hour. Cook the marinated meat in a tightly covered pot on a low flame for about half an hour. Then open the lid check salt and add mitha atar, stir the meat well, cover again until meat cook well and ghee visible.
5. Now add cashew and poppy seeds paste with milk, fried black peppercorns, whole red chilies, and lotus seeds and close the heat. Cover the pot, give a resting period for 5 minutes.
6. Khasir Rezala dish from Sabir's recipe is ready to be served. Serve with hot paratha or tandoori roti.