Nihari Recipe

Nihari is the most cherished dish not only in Indian subcontinent but throughout the world. It is one of those traditional dishes, which has names of restaurants on it, and also there are places famous only for their Nihari. What exactly Nihari means? So the word Nihari comes from an Arabic word “Nahar” which means morning. Therefore Nihari is a dish which is traditionally served at the daybreak. Introduced by the royal Mughal chefs in 18th century, Nihari was slow cooked the entire night and was served to the royals at the daybreak. In India the local restaurants known for their famous Nihari serves it at dawn. And people love to have it at the breakfast. During the holy month of Ramadan, Indian Muslims all around the world and especially in India, eat Nihari at the sehri (early morning meal) and keep the fast.

Nihari recipe calls for lots of spices. The more spices are added, the better nihari’s flavor will get. As Nihari is also slow cooked, which means if not overnight then definitely for 2-3 hours, the bones, mutton pieces, bone marrow and the spices are infused together and gives the most robust flavor. Nihari recipe is the simplest one and the spices are readily available in the kitchen. Those spices which are not in your kitchen for day to day cooking, can be easily available at your local Asian grocery store. Nihari though looks like the most difficult thing to cook because of the long list of spices, but the truth is it’s easiest to make and the slow cooking makes it even easier.

Nihari Recipe

What type of meat is best for Nihari?

Though Nihari can be made with chicken, mutton, beef and lamb, but Nihari meat needs bones in it as the bones imparts the best flavor. I personally prefer making Nihari with goat meat. The shoulder meat is the best for Nihari. Ask your butcher to prepare the pieces for Nihari. The Nihari mutton pieces are basically clean and round in shape. Bones also with bone marrow are added for enhancing the taste.

Ingredients needed in Nihari recipe

  1. Mutton – 2 lbs.
  2. Onion – 1 medium size. Finely sliced
  3. Ginger garlic paste – 2 tbsp.
  4. Red chili powder – 1 tsp
  5. Coriander powder – 1 tsp
  6. Cumin powder – 1/2 tsp
  7. Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  8. Kashmiri red chili powder – 1 tbsp.
  9. Salt – as per taste
  10. Oil – enough for cooking

Spices for making Nihari Masala

  1. Whole red chilies – 5 to 6
  2. Coriander seeds – 1 1/2 tbsp.
  3. Fennel seeds – 1 1/2 tbsp.
  4. Black cardamom – 3 to 4
  5. Green cardamom – 6 to 7
  6. Mace – 3 pieces
  7. Nutmeg powder – 1/2 tsp
  8. Bay leaf – 1
  9. Cinnamon sticks – 2
  10. Whole black pepper – 8 to 10
  11. Cloves – 5 to 6
  12. Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
  13. Ginger powder – 1/2 tsp

2 tbsp. of flour is also needed, this is for the thickness in the Nihari.

Garnishing

  1. lemon wedges
  2. Green chilies finely chopped(optional)
  3. Coriander leaves finely chopped
  4. Ginger juliennes

Preparation of a Nihari Masala

All the whole spices under the heading Nihari Masala needs to be dry roasted in a pan, make sure they don’t get burned. Let them cool down and the grind them in a fine powder. No water is used in this whole process.

Step by step guide for mutton nihari recipe

Step 1 – Heat oil in a deep heavy bottomed nonstick pot and fry finely sliced onions till golden brown. Once the onions are done, dish them out and keep it aside.

Step 2 – In the same oil, add the washed and cleaned mutton pieces, add ginger garlic paste and let them fry till brown.

Step 3 – Add all the powdered spices under the heading “ingredients needed in Nihari recipe” except for Kashmiri red chili powder. Kashmiri red chili powder will be added towards the end. Keep stirring the Masalas and the meat for 5 to 10 minutes, until the spices are cooked. Add little water so the spices don’t get burned while frying.

Step 4 – Now add all of the prepared Nihari Masala. Fry it for a couple of minutes and then add at least 8 cups of water.

Step 5 – Bring everything to a boil, and then reduce the flames to low. Cover the lid and let the Nihari cook for at least 2-3 hours.

Step 6 – Take half cup of Nihari gravy out and let it cool down. Once it’s at normal temperature mix the flour in it, make sure no lumps are formed. Gradually add the flour back in the Nihari while continuously stirring it.

Step 7 – Let it cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, also add the Kashmiri red chili powder at this step and let the Nihari cook to achieve the desired thickness and the color.

Step 8 – Nihari is ready to be served now. Dish it out and garnish it with fried onions, chopped fresh coriander leaves, chopped green chilies (optional) and ginger juliennes.

Lucky Masale Nihari spice mix.

Lucky Masale Nihari Mix is a delicious blend of finest Indian spices and dried herbs. It imparts the best flavor and aroma. The mutton is slow cooked with the Nihari Masala and the traditional Nihari is ready without much hassle. The taste of Lucky Nihari Mix is unparalleled. Some people like to add the readymade spice mix also while making mutton Nihari from the scratch just to enhance the flavor. The Nihari recipe using Lucky Masale is super easy. Here I’m sharing the recipe using Lucky Nihari Mix.

  1. Heat oil/ ghee in a pan, add garlic paste and stir.
  2. Add meat, bones, salt and Lucky Nihari mix. Fry for a few minutes.
  3. Add enough water in it and cover the lid.
  4. Let it slow cook, so the meat is soft and tender, and the marrow and spices are perfectly blended together.
  5. In a cup mix flour well and add this gradually in the mutton.
  6. Cook on high flame for 10- 15 minutes.
  7. Tempering – In a small pan add the remaining ghee and add onions. Fry till golden brown. Pour these fry onions and ghee over Nihari. Cover the lid and let it cook on low flames for another 15-20 minutes.

Nihari is ready to be served!! Garnish the Nihari with ginger juliennes, fresh chopped coriander leaves and finely chopped green chilies.

Tips to keep in mind while trying this easy Nihari recipe

  1. The shank portion of meat is preferred for making nalli Nihari.
  2. Don’t forget to add bones with the meat pieces as they release the much needed juice for the flavor.
  3. You can also make the chicken Nihari, though cooking time will be much less compared to mutton Nihari. Chicken is cooked pretty fast and Nihari with chicken would be done in 1 to 1.5 hours.
  4. For achieving the thickness in the gravy, cornstarch can be used too instead of flour.
  5. Mixing flour with Nihari gravy is my personal choice as I feel it enhances the flavor. If you want any you can mix it with water too.
  6. Try making Nihari in advance, as it releases the flavors.

Enjoy Nihari

Now that the most loved and delicious Nihari recipe is with you, don’t wait and do try this amazing royal dish. Nihari is best served with tandoori naans or roomali roti. For best results make Nihari at least a day or two in advance, and enjoy this flavorful dish.