1 Sep



Nihari (Urdu: نهاری‎) is a Pakistani, Indian,and Bangladeshi dish. It is a stew consisting of slow cooked beef or lamb, and served with cooked brains or bone marrow. The word Nihar originated from the Arabic word “Nahar” which means “day” (opposite to night) or the light between sunrise (Fajr) and sunset. The Nihari was usually eaten in the early morning (puritans would indulge in this delicacy before sunrise, right after the Fajr prayers).


Nihari originated as a dish of the Muslim of the upper class society in northern India. It passed to other classes as Muslim ascendancy and power declined. Its combination of deeply flavored, earthy meat, the fresh zest of the toppings, and the perfection of a proper tandoori naan is one of the greatest bites to make you feel royal taste. Do try this royal delicacy of the Nawabs and enlighten your palates with this rich spicy and delicious dish.
Traditional Nihari recipes call for 6–8 hours of cooking time, in addition to the preparation of the ingredients. This is much less common today with the use of tenderer cuts of meat and using pressure cooker. Best enjoyed during winter or when down with a cold and best eaten with Naan or Phulka.Nihari is considered to be the National Dish of Pakistan along with biryani.

ImageRecipe tweaked from pukkapaki

Serves:  6-8 people
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 3 hrs

Garam masala mix for Nihari:
Grind together in a spice or coffee grinder:

  •     1  tbsp aniseed or fennel
  •     2 large black cardamom
  •     1 large cinnamon quill
  •     10-12 green cardamoms
  •     2 star anise
  •     1 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
  •     1 tbsp cumin seeds
  •     2 pieces of mace
  •     1/2 tsp of nutmeg
  •     2 tbsp poppy seed paste
  •    10 cloves
  •     3/4 tbsp black peppercorn


  •     4 tbsp sunflower oil
  •     2 tbsp ghee
  •     1 inch fresh ginger, grated finely
  •     1/2 tbsp fresh crushed garlic
  •     1 cup – yoghurt
  •     1 1/2 tbsp Kashimri red chilli powder
  •     1 tsp red chilli powder
  •      salt  to taste
  •     1/2  kg lamp/ beef
  •     1 kg lamp shanks or nalli gosh
  •     1 tbsp plain flour, sifted
  •     1 tbsp wholemeal flour, sifted (Atta flour, used to make chappati’s)
  •     water – about 8-10 cups, enough to cover the meat
  •     2 tsp rose water
  •     1 tsp saffron


  •     2 cups chopped coriander leaves
  •     2 inch piece of ginger, julienned
  •     4 thin green chilli’s, chopped finely
  •     2 cups of deep fried onions
  •     4 large lemons, made into wedges


1.Take a pressure cooker, heat (on medium heat/flame) oil and ghee. Fry the finely chopped ginger and garlic for a minute. Add in the lamb and lamp shanks and fry until the meat is sealed. Add red chilli powder, salt, yoghurt and the garam masala (save 3 tsp ) as prepared with above ingredients.


2. Fry until the masala is fragrant and if it sticks to the pan add a splash of water as  you go. Now add the Kashimiri chilli powder, mix and saute , till the meat is coated evenly with all the masalas. Top the meat with about 8-10 cups of water or until the meat is submerged.

3. Turn the heat to medium low and pressure cook , for about an hour according to the toughness of the meat.  After about an hour, take about a cup of the liquid out of the meat and add the sifted plain flour(atta) to this. Now pour it into the main saucepan and stir in evenly. Stir in rose water and saffron.  Add about 1 cup of water, cover and cook on a very low fire ( not pressure cooked) for 2 hours, or until the meat is tender and falls off the bones.
4.  Serve hot topped with coriander, remaining garam masala and finely julienned ginger – also serve with additional chopped coriander leaves, julienned ginger, chopped green chillies, lemon wedges and deep fried onions  in small bowls! – or  enjoy with naan or tandoori rooti …etc.



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