Beef Nihari

Large chunks of beef pieces, slow-cooked in a mild, flavourful stew, until absolutely tender

  • Cooking time
    6 hours
  • Calories
Recommended by
members who rated this recipe on Youtube

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.

Books in this recipe

No items found.
Like the work we do? Help keep this site ad-free by making a donation.


5 servings
  • 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


  • 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


  1. Cut the meat in 8–10 cm chunks.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Heat oil in a heavy pot. Add the beef pieces and fry on medium heat for 8 minutes.
  5. Add bay leaves, salt, and hot water. Let it simmer gently for around 4 hours, or until meat falls off the bone.
  6. In a small mixing bowl, mix atta with water until lump free.
  7. When meat is cooked, collect the oil (rogan) and set it aside. We will use it later.
  8. Drizzle the mixture of atta and water slowly.
  9. Scrape the soft bone marrow out of the bones and mix it with the stew.
  10. 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.

Recipe discussion

Did this recipe help you cook something that made you happy?

At Bong Eats, we are working to standardise Bengali recipes, and present them to the world in a way that anyone, anywhere will be able to cook Bengali food with confidence—even if they have never tasted it before. We want the world to know that there is Indian food beyond tikka masala.

A lot of time and money goes into creating precise recipes such as this one. We don't want to depend on advertisements that track our viewers' activities through third-party cookies; we do not want take sponsorship money from companies that don't make subpar products.

You can help us make this a sustainable venture that can employ talented local writers, editors, photographers, recipe-testers, and more. Donate to keep us going.

Make a One-time donation

Help us keep Bong Eats free and open for everyone by making a one-time contribution. You can donate as much as you want. No amount is too little.

Become a member ⭐️

Join to get access to a vibrant private community of people who full of people who love to cook, feed and eat. Get answers to your questions about recipes, techniques, where to find ingredients from fellow members. If you love cooking, this is the place for you.

Monthly LIVE cookalongs
Shiny new private forum
Adda after every video release
Personalised recommendations
✨ See Membership Perks ✨

🧣 Winter 🫛

Bakes & Roasts

Posted on
December 21, 2023
Bong Eats

Winter is here. It is time to get baking. Here are some ideas, both savoury and sweet.

Read More »

✨ What's new?

View all »

Palong Shaak Bhaja

Stir-fried spinach

  • 30 mins
  • 79
Viewers liked this

Christmas Fruitcake without Alcohol

A festive, rich, spiced cake with dried fruits and nuts

  • 4 hours
  • kcal
Viewers liked this

Niramish Mangsho

Mutton cooked without onion or garlic

  • 2 hours
  • 640
Viewers liked this

Jolpai diye Chaltar Chutney

A seasonal chutney with elephant apple and Indian olives, made during autumn

  • 40 mins
  • 69
Viewers liked this
See all New recipes »
View all »

Shami Kabab

Boiled and ground red meat, pan-fried into round meat patty— A Ramzan or Eid speciality

  • 3 hours
  • 260

Mutton Haleem

Mutton pieces slow-cooked with an array of dals and spices—a Ramzan speciality.

  • 4 hours
  • kcal

Bohri Keema Samosa

Deep-fried pastry of thin, whole-wheat wrappers filled with mince meat or lentil mixture—a Bohra Muslim speciality

  • 2 hours
  • kcal