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Nihari is a flavorful and aromatic slow-cooked stew that originated in the Indian subcontinent, specifically in Delhi, India. This dish is a true culinary delight, known for its rich, spicy, and hearty flavors. Traditionally enjoyed as a breakfast dish in many regions, Nihari has gained popularity worldwide as a comforting meal that can be savored at any time of the day.
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The Story

Nihari, with its tender chunks of beef or mutton shank, simmered in a blend of spices and aromatic herbs, is a celebration of traditional South Asian flavors. This recipe will guide you through the process of creating an authentic Nihari that will transport your taste buds to the bustling streets of Old Delhi.


500g beef or mutton shank, cut into pieces
2 onions, finely sliced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2-inch piece of ginger, grated
1/4 cup cooking oil or ghee (clarified butter)
2 bay leaves
4-5 green cardamom pods
4-5 cloves
2-inch cinnamon stick
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp red chili powder (adjust to taste)
Salt to taste
6-8 cups water
2 tbsp wheat flour (for thickening)
Fresh coriander leaves and green chilies for garnish
Sliced ginger for garnish
Lemon wedges for serving
4 Servings

Prep Time:

0 Hrs 15 Mins

Cook Time:

3 Hrs 0 Mins

Total TIme:

0 Hrs 0 Mins



Heat oil or ghee in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add sliced onions and cook until they turn golden brown.


Add minced garlic and grated ginger. Sauté for a couple of minutes until the raw smell disappears.


Add beef or mutton shank pieces and sear them until they are browned on all sides.


Add bay leaves, green cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon stick, cumin seeds, and fennel seeds. Sauté for a minute or two to release their flavors.


Sprinkle turmeric, coriander powder, red chili powder, and salt over the meat. Stir well to coat the meat evenly with the spices.


Pour in 6-8 cups of water, enough to submerge the meat completely. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 2.5 to 3 hours. The meat should become tender and fall off the bone.


In a separate small pan, heat 2 tbsp of wheat flour over low heat, stirring continuously until it turns golden brown and releases a nutty aroma. This is known as "roux."


Slowly add the roux to the simmering Nihari, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Let it simmer for an additional 15-20 minutes until the gravy thickens to your desired consistency.


Taste and adjust the salt and spice levels if necessary.


Serve hot, garnished with fresh coriander leaves, sliced ginger, green chilies, and lemon wedges. Nihari pairs perfectly with naan or steamed rice.

Tips for this recipe

For an extra layer of flavor, you can add a pinch of garam masala powder just before serving. This will enhance the aromatic profile of your homemade Nihari.

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