Friday, April 27, 2007

Mutton Rezalla- The original Mughlai lamb stew.

Maybe, those of you who grew up in Calcutta, will be familiar with the Delhi Durbar off Park Street. It was a ginghy place with dirty ceramic tiles, flies and eternally playing “Sun saga sun, Pyare ke dhun”. The place served great Biriyani & Chicken Chap but its claim to fame was the Mutton Rezalla. No winter morning excursions, whether to the zoo, or the museum or the Birla Industrial Museum would be complete without lunch at Delhi Durbar. Even so many years later, every time I hear Mutton Rezalla, I can almost taste the milky creaminess of that Rezalla

All this was before our dear friend Mr. Rashid Khan, who owned the place got hauled up for blowing up a whole building on Chowrungee Avenue in 1993. Here’s my attempt to conjure up that Rezalla.

Ingredients (Serves 4):

400 gms mutton or lamb in small pieces

200 gms beaten curd or plain yogurt

3 tbsp butter or white oil

2 large cloves of garlic shredded

2 inch cinnamon sticks

3 small cardamom pods

4 roasted peppercorns.

Salt to taste

Sugar to taste if you prefer a slightly sweet taste


Boil the lamb/ mutton till tender with the garlic and salt (Normally it takes three whistles in my pressure cooker). Once the meat is tender, heat the butter in a pan at low heat and add cinnamon, pepper and cardamoms. Stir till light brown and then add the mutton. Once the fats left the sides add the stock in small portions.

Cover and let it stew in its own juices for fifteen odd minutes before turning down the flame to simmer. Add the beaten curd while stirring continuously otherwise the curd tends to coagulate. Add a small stick of cinnamon for aroma and cover for ten minutes. Before taking down add salt and sugar to taste.


  • Best enjoyed hot with roomali roti’s or naan. The whole taste of the Rezalla is very light and sweet with the smell of the whole roasted spices being the key to the experience. Hence would recommend that you do not serve a highly spicy dish containing a lot of garlic/ onion as in the same meal.
  • Ideally, Mutton Rezalla was originally cooked by frying the mutton directly in ghee. However, cut short time and due to my initial mishaps in trying to cook Mutton Rezalla in the traditional manner has necessitated this approach.
  • Best accompanied by Ghulam Ali and maybe a red wine.


Kim said...

WOW a blog for Bengali recipes. I have found a source other than Penguins Calcutta Cookbook & I'm hooked :)

Ricercar said...

where is the stock in your ingredients? confused. achha whats the priginal recipe with ghee? i have loads of time - was thinking of trying that

Prometheus_Unbound said...


No I didn't mention stock separately in the list of ingredients. But, when you boil the mutton retain the water (i.e. the stock). You can use this for increasing the volume of gravy later on. Using this instead of fresh water saves water and the nutrients.

Sorry for overlooking this point.

ThinkTank said...

This is a great blog! Really nice to see bengali recipes...

Saikat Ray said...

My try with goat meat kind of turned into a dish more like "mansef" (I think I put a little too much yogurt which made it a bit sour). It was tasty enough, though ;)