Chicken rara is a delectable and flavorful chicken dish. It originates from a region between Punjab and Himachal Pradesh in India. Tender pieces of chicken get cooked with minced boneless chicken. Its gravy has a unique texture due to the use of minced meat. This recipe uses a number of spices, which give it a nice aroma and deep flavor. It has a spicy and tangy taste. You should definitely try this murgh rara dish at home if you want to try something new.
Chicken forms the protein-rich foundation of chicken rara. It provides a tender and succulent texture while absorbing the flavors of the ingredients. It adds depth to the dish, making a satisfying and wholesome meal.
Choose fresh chicken from a reputable source to ensure quality and safety. Select pieces with high-quality cuts.
Onions play an important role in murgh rara. They provide a savory and slightly sweet base for the gravy. They are caramelized and cooked, with the meat giving a brown tint to the gravy. They help to make the gravy thick and leave a hint of sweetness in the taste.
Curd is used as the main acidic agent for marination. It helps to thicken the rara gravy. It gives a bit of soft texture to the gravy and enhances the umami flavor of the meat.
These are the main aromatic ingredients in this recipe. Ginger gives a warm and slightly spicy flavor, while garlic brings its distinct pungent aroma. Together, they infuse the dish with a rich and robust taste.
Green chilies are used to make this dish hot and spicy. Choose fresh green chilies. You can vary their amount based on your preference and tolerance for hot flavors. Don’t add them in too much amount. If the dish becomes too hot, you won’t be able to enjoy the amazing flavors added by other ingredients.
Tomatoes lend a tangy and slightly acidic note to the gravy of rara. They add to the red color of the gravy and help to thicken it. They add a hint of sourness to the gravy.
The spices used in making the rara masala are the base of the overall taste. Start cooking the actual dish only after making rara masala. Don’t add powdered masala directly, and definitely not before making rara masala. First roast the spices, then make rara masala, and then make the dish.
Whole coriander seeds:
When cooked, coriander seeds spread a nice aroma and add an earthy taste.
Cumin seeds are used for their strong aroma and flavor that gets transferred to the gravy of rara.
Green cardamom and black cardamom:
Green cardamom adds freshness to the spices with its menthol-like notes. It adds a blend of sweet, pungent, and menthol-like tastes to the spice mix.
Black cardamom has a strong, spicy flavor. It adds a smoky and camphor-like flavor to the spice mix.
Clove enhances the hot flavor of the spice mix. It contains natural oil, which gives depth and flavor to the dish.
Nutmeg adds a nutty, earthy, and slightly sweet flavor to the curry.
Star anise (optional):
It is used as a flavor enhancer in broths, soups, and curries. It has an intense, licorice-like aroma with a distinct and robust warm, sweet, and spicy flavor. Its flavor has prevalent notes of anise, mint, and clove. This ingredient is optional, but I’ve used it in my recipe.
Powdered spices are used during the marinating of the chicken.
This is used for its anti-bacterial properties to marinate the raw meat. It adds a warm, earthy, and slightly bitter flavor to the dish. It has a vibrant yellow color, which helps enhance the color of the dish. It has a unique aroma and flavor.
Red chili powder and Kashmiri red chili powder:
This is used to add heat to the raw chicken. Kashmiri red chili adds a red color to the curry, making it deeper red.
Kasuri methi and coriander leaves:
These are used to enrich the aroma and flavor of the rara curry. Coriander leaves are also used to garnish the dish. They are added at the end.
How to make chicken rara:
Marinating the chicken:
I’ve marinated both bone-in pieces and keema separately. Some chefs avoid marinating the keema. In my experience, marinating the keema (mined chicken) gives it better flavor and prevents the keema from drying. If you want to get the best taste, marinate the keema separately.
Bone-in pieces marination:
You need to give a good amount of time to marinating the chicken to get better flavors and textures. At the very least, you should marinate it for half an hour.
If you forgot to marinate or don’t have that much time, make it the first step when you start preparing for the dish. This’ll give the chicken some time for marination while you’re preparing other ingredients.
Keema (ground chicken) marination:
As mentioned earlier, marinate the keema separately. There is a reason to marinate keema separately. It takes a lot less time to marinate the keema than to marinate regular chicken pieces. It takes a lot more time to penetrate the flavor into the meat pieces than to penetrate minute pieces of keema. So, 15 minutes are more than enough to marinate the keema.
Chopping the onions:
This recipe needs more onions. They keep the chicken from burning when it is continuously cooked for a longer period of time. Onions slowly caramelize with chicken and get mashed together with it. It gives a nice flavor to the chicken and the overall dish. Onions help to thicken and soften the gravy.
Chop onions finely into tiny pieces, but not so minute that they’ll appear like a paste. We don’t want to make onion paste out of it. Don’t chop them into strips either, just tiny little square pieces. This’ll make the presence of onions subtle and prevent them from dominating the taste in every bite. Small onion pieces are mixed well with the chicken.
Making the rara curry:
This dish is cooked for a long time while mashing the chicken hard with your hands. Mustard oil suits perfectly for this purpose. It’s quite popular in the area where this dish originated.
Cook the chicken well on a high flame for approximately 5–10 minutes. Stir it continuously while it’s cooking so that the spices get well mixed.
Cover the pot with the lid. This will make the ingredients release their natural juices and oils. As vapor gets trapped in the pot due to the covered lid, the vapor, in turn, cooks the dish. Don’t add water immediately after this. Let everything cook for some time in the same manner.
Add minced chicken after this. Don’t add keema too early, as it may get overcooked.
- When making murgh rara for a meal, start by marinating the bone-in chicken. Do it before any other step. Make it your first step. This will give the chicken sufficient time for marination. It’ll absorb the flavors while you’re preparing other ingredients for cooking.
- Marinate bone-in chicken and keema (ground chicken) separately.
- Don’t use flat-bottomed utensils. Use any utensil with good depth.
Rara chicken is traditionally served with roti, naan, tandoori roti, or rumali roti. You can serve it with chapatti, phulkas, or rice if you like. For an authentic experience, serve it with the earlier-mentioned Indian breads. You can use side dishes like raita or salad to enhance the experience.
Chicken rara recipe | Chicken rara masala recipe
- 550 g chicken
- 125 g boneless chicken minced
For chicken marination
- 4 tbsp curd or yogurt
- 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- ½ tsp salt
For minced chicken marination
- ½ tsp ginger-garlic paste
- 1 tbsp curd or yogurt
- ¼ tsp salt
For rara masala
- 1½ tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 inch cinnamon
- 1 small mace
- 3 green cardamoms
- 1 black cardamom
- 4 cloves
- 1 small piece of nutmeg
- 12 whole black peppers
- 1 small star anise
- 1 bay leaf
For rara gravy
- 4 tbsp mustard oil
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 inch cinnamon
- 2 green cardamoms
- 1½ cup onions, chopped
- 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
- 2 green chilies
- 1 tsp kashmiri red chili powder
- ½ cup tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tsp kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp coriander leaves
- 1 cup water
- In a mixing bowl, add 550 g of chicken, 4 tbsp curd, and 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste. Then, add 1 tsp red chili powder, ½ tsp turmeric powder, and ½ tsp salt. Mix well with the chicken and let it marinate for 30 min.
- In a small mixing bowl, add the minced chicken, ½ tsp ginger-garlic paste, 1 tbsp curd, and ¼ tsp salt. Mix well and let it marinate for 20 min.
- Heat the pan on low heat. Add all the spices mentioned for rara masala. Stir and roast for 3-4 min.
- Transfer the roasted spices to a plate and let them cool down. Add spices to a mixer jar and grind till you get a fine powder.
- Heat 4 tbsp mustard oil in a kadai on medium heat. Once the oil is hot enough, add 1 bay leaf, 1 inch of cinnamon, and 2 green cardamoms. Stir well and fry for 15 seconds.
- Add 1½ cups chopped onions and stir well. Fry for 8-10 min till the onions turn golden brown. Add 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste and mix well. Fry for 2 min .
- Add 1 tsp kashmiri red chili powder, 2 green chilies, and ½ cup chopped tomatoes. Mix well and cook for 4-5 min until the oil starts to separate from the mixture.
- Next, add the marinated chicken to the kadai and mix well. Cook for 5 min on high heat and then turn the heat to medium. Cover with a lid and cook for 10 min.
- Add the marinated minced chicken and mix well. Cover the lid and cook for 5 min on medium heat.
- Add ½ cup warm water and stir well. Cover with a lid and cook for 20 min. Open the lid and stir continuously for 2 min.
- Add ¼ tsp salt, 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves, and 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves. Stir and mix well for 1 min. Turn off the heat.
- Serve hot with rumali roti, paratha, naan, or rice.
- Use bone-in chicken pieces for better taste.
- Adjust the spice level as per your taste.
- Whisk the curd well to make it lump-free before using.