Nihari is a breakfast stew in which beef or mutton shank, containing all the good fat, marrow and bones, is slow-cooked all night with spices. The result is a silky, flavourful, warming shorba (soup) with the rich rogan (rendered fat or oil) floating on the surface. It is ideally had with a thick bread such as naan, which soaks up the shorba. While making nihari is a time-consuming affair, if you look at the recipe, it requires very little work or active participation on part of the cook. The hardest part is assembling the long list of spices. After that it is just a matter of setting the pot on the stove or in an oven, and letting it cook until the meat is soft and falls off the bones.
This nihari spice mix was adapted from Delhi-UP-Karachi-Khaane's YouTube channel, run by Mahmood Babar Ahmed. His channel is a treasure trove of reliable recipes.
Nihari is a Mughlai dish that most likely originated in Delhi or Lucknow (some even say Hyderabad) towards the end of the Mughal rule. After Partition it has become very popular in Pakistan and Bangladesh where it is often sold as Delhiwali nihari. In Calcutta, nihari is almost exclusively sold in the winter, sometimes with dal puri.
- 1 kg beef
- ½ kg bones
- 10 g turmeric
- 3 g red chilli powder
- 8 g kashmiri red chilli powder
- 10 g ginger powder
- 12 g ginger paste
- 8 g garlic paste
- 100 g oil
- 4 pcs bay leaves
- 18 g salt
- 2 L hot water
- 30 g atta
SPICE MIX (ONLY 10 G NEEDED)
- 6 pcs green cardamom
- 1 pc cinnamon
- 5 pcs cloves
- 4 pcs black cardamom
- 1 pc star anise
- 3 g peepli (long pepper)
- 2 g peppercorns
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp mace
- 7 g fennel seeds
- 5 g coriander seeds
- 4 g cumin seeds
- ½ tsp shah jeera (caraway seeds)
- ½ tsp jowan (carom seeds)
- ginger (thinly sliced)
- green chillies
- coriander leaves
- Cut the meat in 8–10 cm chunks.
- In a pan, toast green cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, black cardamom, star anise, peepli, peppercorns, nutmeg, mace, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, shah jeera, and jowan on low heat for 4 minutes. Grind to a powder and sift.
- In a large mixing bowl, coat meat with the spice mix, as well as with turmeric, red chilli powder, kashmiri red chilli powder, ginger powder, ginger paste, and garlic paste.
- Heat oil in a heavy pot. Add the beef pieces and fry on medium heat for 8 minutes.
- Add bay leaves, salt, and hot water. Let it simmer gently for around 4 hours, or until meat falls off the bone.
- In a small mixing bowl, mix atta with water until lump free.
- When meat is cooked, collect the oil (rogan) and set it aside. We will use it later.
- Drizzle the mixture of atta and water slowly.
- Scrape the soft bone marrow out of the bones and mix it with the stew.
- While serving, place the meat and stew in a bowl. Warm up the oil (rogan) that you had set aside earlier and layer it on top. Garnish with thinly sliced ginger, green chillies, and fresh coriander leaves.