The word Nihari is derived from the urdu word Nihar meaning morning, and true to its name, Nihari was a breakfast food eaten in the early morning traditionally before sunrise. It is a delicious meat stew (almost always beef) that is nowadays a popular dish (made with lamb, beef or mutton) eaten just about anytime, more so in the evenings for dinner. The origins of this dish are hazy and though some say it is a part of the avadh cuisine, Delhi seems to be the birthplace for Nihari Gosht. From Delhi it travelled to Pakistan and other parts of India with the settlers and was taken to a new level. There are streets serving Nihari in Lahore and Karachi and though I have never been there, the taste of the Nihari seems heavenly going by word of mouth of some who have tasted it. I have feasted on Nihari in Hyderabad and also in Delhi near Jama Masjid and they did not seem to disappoint me either.
Traditionally Nihari is cooked overnight to make the meat tender and just fall off the bone. Also, there can be various garnishes or assortments that can be served alongwith Nihari ranging from fried onions, sliced radishes, green chillies and lemon slices to bheja fry (no pun intended).
I made Nihari the other day for breakfast. I took it easy on the ghee and other ingredients but the taste was still good.
Lamb/Mutton - 500 Gm
Desi Ghee - 100 Gm
Onions, Sliced - 1
Onions, finely chopped - 2
Cloves - 4
Green Cardamom - 4
Bay Leaf - 1
Cinnamon Stick - 1
Coriander Powder - 1.5 Tsp
Red Chili Powder - 1 Tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 Tsp
Ginger Garlic Paste - 3 Tblsp
Yogurt - 1/2 Cup
Gramflour - 1/2 Tsp
Flour - 1/2 Tsp
Garam Masala Powder - 1/2 Tsp
Green Cardamom Powder - 1/4 Tsp
Mace Powder - 1/4 Tsp
1. Heat 80 gm ghee in a thick botommed vessel. Add in the sliced onions are fry till they turn golden brown.
2. Add in the lamb/mutton pieces, chopped onions, cardamom, cloves, bay leaf and cinnamon. Saute for 5 minutes or till it becomes dry.
3. Add in the red chili powder, coriander, turmeric and salt. Mix well.
4. Add in the ginger garlic paste and stir. Fry till oil leaves the masala.
5. Add in yogurt and bring to a boil.
6. Add in 2 cups of water and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
7. Take the vessel of the heat. Separate the lamb/mutton pieces from the gravy.
8. In a separate pan add in the remaining ghee and heat.
9. Add in the gramflour and flour. Keep stirring till the flours turn golden brown.
10. Add in the gravy and stir well to ensure no lumps remain. Wash the original handi (in which the gravy was).
11. Pass this gravy through a strainer into the original handi.
12. Add in the meat pieces and return to the flame.
13. Add in the mace powder and green cardamom powder. Cook for 10 minutes.
14. Add in the garam masala and cook for another 10 minutes.
15. Serve hot.