Nihari is a popular meat dish of Pakistan, Bangladesh and among Muslims in India. Its roots lie in the Muslim Nawab kitchens, having achieved fame via the storied royal kitchens of Lucknow in present-day Uttar Pradesh, long the seat of the Nawab of Avadh though it is also relished by non-Muslim foodies. The word Nihar originated from the Arabic word “Nahar”which means “morning” after sunrise prayers. This dish was usually eaten in the early morning (puritans would indulge in this delicacy before sunrise, right after the prayers). The dish is known for its spiciness and taste. It is originally more of a delicacy with myriad variations on spiciness and texture. [Source: Wikipedia]
This is a must try recipe from Lubna Bhatti. A person who stays in Switzerland but can teach many experts the best way to make Nihari. She says, “With Nihari, you have to have the right cut of the meat, and the bones. Can’t compromise on the amount of spices, and the time it takes to simmer. The taar (oil) on the top at the finished product is what’s is the ultimate perfect look. And lastly, you have to have it with naan or khameeri roti. Chapati chawal wont cut it.” She further adds, “Nihari is usually made with beef, though more and more people are trying to make it with Goat or Chicken for health reasons. If making it with mutton (goat or lamb), still use the shank meat which has the bone in the middle. I keep those knobby ends of the goat raan which is mostly bone with think layer of meat, after its cutup by the butchers, and freeze them. Those come handy in these situations to make the broth. I am sure your local Qasai may be able to give you choice bones.”
1kg- beef -ask for Nihari meat (shank) – cut in 3-4 inches long pieces.
1kg – bones with marrow (nail ki haddi)
1½ tsp. salt
1 tsp Lal Mirch powder
1 tsp. Kashmiri mirch powder
half teasp haldi
2 tbs. dhaniya powder
3 tsp adrak paste
2 tsp. lehsan paste
1 tsp saunth powder
½ tsp citric acid
1½ cup ghee
6 tbs. wheat flower – dry roasted lightly and keep aside
Masala potli (take the following spices, grind them fine in a spice grinder, make a bag with fine muslin and tie the spice powder securely.
4 tbs. saunf
1 tsp kali mirch
1 tsp. zeera
4-5 Chhoti Ilaichi
5 black cardamom
2 inch stick of cinnamon
2-3 bay leaves
½ tsp. nutmeg and mace
4 tbs. coriander seeds
2-3 aniseed flower
Chopped fresh coriander
Chopped green chilies
In a pressure cooker, add the bones with 1 tsp each of ginger and garlic paste, and 4 cups of water. Bring to steam on low heat. After 3 whistles, switch off the heat, and let it rest. Open after steam has settled. Takes about 30-40 mins.
Put ½ cup ghee in a pot. Add meat and fry it on medium heat till it has a nice color on all sides. Add remaining ginger garlic paste and fry till you get a nice aroma. Now add salt, lal mirch, haldi, dhaniya powder, saunth powder and citric acid. Fry lightly and add 4-5 cups of hot water. Add the spice bag at this stage, bring to a boil, and then cover and let simmer on lowest heat.
Once the steam settles in the pressure cooker, take the bone soup and marrow, and add to the simmering meat pot. I usually discard the empty bones at this stage. Else they take too much space and also scratch my non-stick pans. Let the meat simmer till the meat is tender. You want it soft, but not falling apart. Takes atleast 2-3 hours on slow heat.
When meat has softened, remove the bundle of spices in a deep bowl. Squeeze the juices out of the bag as much as you can and add that juice back to the meat.
Dissolve roasted atta in 2 cups of water, add to the meat and bring to boil. Check for salt and mirch levels. If you love rich colour, add ½ tsp of Kashmiri lal mirch at this stage.
Fry one onion (thinly sliced) in a cup of ghee till golden brown and add to nihari, and cover. Let it simmer for 7-10 minutes, till the taar (oil) comes to the top.
Serve with condiments and the hottest crisp khameeri roti or naan.
– Lubna Bhatti