Delhi Style Nihari Recipe – Beef Curry

7 hours Cook
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Here’s an easy Nihari recipe that calls for 1 pot and much less than half-hour of prep time. This recipe consists of stovetop & cooker instructions for gentle red meat shank (or stew) meat.

You can also try my recipe of these curries Punjabi Cholay, Pakistani Style Keema Kareley or Butter Chicken.

Delhi Style Nihari is very famous in all over Pakistan and India. People eat Nihari in breakfasts with some hot bread which called Naan or Kulcha.

Ramsha Baig

Nihari and It’s Origins

Nihari developed with the overall cuisine of the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent. It remains a popular delicacy, especially in parts of Old Delhi, Lucknow, Dhaka, and Chittagong. The dish is known for its spiciness, taste, texture, and gravy.

The phrase “nihari” comes from the root Arabic word “nahar”, meaning “day” or “morning”. This dish is referred to as Nihari because at the beginning, it was eaten in the morning. The history indicates that it began in vintage Delhi, in which it become eaten by Mughal nawabs and workmen to gas them at some point of the day.

Nihari is a rich, sluggish-cooked meat stew flavored with spices and thickened with atta, or Pakistani & Indian-fashion durum entire wheat flour. Pakistani variations of Nihari are generally made with beef, but Nihari may be made with lamb, goat meat, or chicken.


What’s Nalli Nihari?

The phrase nalli manner pipe or tube, which conveys the pipe-like bones which are used to make nihaari. Nalli Nihaari is made with beef bones (normally humerus or femur), which include yellow bone marrow. This gives Nihari a wealthy, buttery flavor. now and again, the bone marrow is extracted and brought to the Nihaari.

This recipe doesn’t require bones, but the use of bone-in meat or bones alongside the beef will decorate the flavor (it’s more crucial within the instant Pot version). if you do use bones, you would need round 1/three lb extra weight in bones.

Nihari Ingredients

Aside from an unapologetically lengthy list of spices, Nihaari requires simple substances normally observed in Pakistani cuisine:

  • Atta – historically, atta flour, which is typically used to make rotis, is brought to thicken the curry. I especially advocate you use this for an genuine flavor.
  • replacement: All-motive flour. I haven’t tried it myself but have heard from many who’ve. For added complexity, dry-roast it on a nonstick pan for 6-7 mins on low-medium warmth. It’ll turn a deeper, golden coloration.
  • Spices – This recipe requires either shop-offered or homemade Nihaari Masala Powder (recipe beneath!) along with a few other complete & ground spices. As constantly, if you’re missing a spice (or 3!), don’t let that deter you from making it.

What Cut of Meat to Use for Nihari

Nihari is typically made with boneless red meat shanks, also referred to as red meat shins. Halal grocery stores will regularly have it labeled Nihari cut. you may also use pre-reduce beef stew meat, which is essentially boneless red meat that comes from the the front shoulder (chuck) or rear muscle (round). If the kind of stew meat is certain, I search for shoulder, as I’ve found it to be greater smooth.

also, try and find precise high-quality red meat. The greater marbled-looking it’s far, the better.

Nihari Masala

Using Pre-made Nihari Masala

Because Nihaari needs so many spices, I at the beginning created this recipe using half a tablespoon of pre-made Nihari masala powder. Use an excessive amount of of the powder (just like the complete packet as the field suggests) and also you’ll come to be having Nihari that tastes a piece synthetic and loads like your fellow Pakistani neighbor’s Nihari because they used the same powder. Use simply a bit and it’ll provide your dish an additional oomph and accurate coloration.

Additionally, I’ve had many questions on the use of simply the spice mix. I’m not above using pre-made spice mixes, but I decide on now not to apply the counseled quantities due to the fact it could flavor quite harsh. Plus, the flavors are simply more suggested whilst you operate sparkling spices. keep in mind that you’ll need to alter the salt/spice level relying on which brand and how much masala you use.

Homemade Nihari Masala

As always, I prefer to use fresh, homemade spices when I can. It took me a while, but I finally created a Nihaari Masala Powder that works with this recipe.

Nihaari Masala – makes ~1 tbsp, all of which you’ll use

  • ½-1 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder or paprika, for color
  • 1 small black cardamom pod
  • 1 small (1- inch) mace blade (or piece of mace)
  • 3/4-inch peepli (long pepper)
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1/4 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp caraway seeds (shah zeera)
  • 1/8 tsp nigella seeds (kalonji)
  • pinch cane sugar

How to Make Nihari

the important thing to a first-rate nihari is intentional intensity of flavor. Deeply brown onions, fresh spices infusing the oil, meat that’s properly braised..all this contributes to the respected flavor of nihari.

Step 1: Brown the onions & meat. Deeply brown onions (check with the video rather than the % for reference) give taste, body, and depth to Nihaari. Like with most stews, searing the beef so that it browns is critical, but don’t sear for too lengthy as it may cause tough meat.
Step 2: Bloom Spices. add spices and permit them to cook dinner in the warm oil. in case you’re concerned approximately them burning, you may constantly add a dash of water.
Step 3: cook. For stovetop, allow it to come back to a boil before lowering the heat to a simmer. For sluggish cooker, transfer the combination to a gradual cooker, add water and mix to mix.
Step 4: Thicken. if you try and thicken the gravy by way of including in flour, it’s going to bring about clumps. To keep away from this, remove some of the nihari liquid (I continually determined using water dilutes the taste) and allow it to chill. Then stir it into the atta flour. add this slurry to the nihari while stirring to prevent clumps. permit this to cook and thicken.

How to Get the Oil (Tari) on Top of Nihari

Once a curry is cooked, the fats and oil naturally surface to the top. Typically with Nihari, the oil releases once meat has cooked and also once the atta is cooked. Since I don’t use as much oil as some traditional recipes, it won’t appear as oily as most restaurant Niharis.

To to get oil to rise to top, allow to simmer uncovered on low heat for 5 minutes after you’re done cooking. You can also either reserve oil before adding the atta or add a tarka (tempering of oil) with spices to give Nihaari its distinct layer of oil on top.

More Tips for Making Nihari

  • Nihari meat should be very tender. It’s not done once cooked, but when it’s practically shredding to the touch.
  • The end result should be like a thick soup or gravy. If it gets too thick, simply add (preferably boiling) water to thin it out. Sauté again to desired consistency.
  • If using a slow cooker and the end result is too thin, transfer to the stovetop to thicken to your desired consistency.
  • Restaurants will often keep the pieces very large (~3-4 inches). Kenji López-Alt points out that large cuts keep the meat more tender. I typically go for smaller sized cubes because it’s easier to eat & serve than a handful of large chunks.
  • Variation: For more body and slight tang, whisk in 1-2 tbsp yogurt to the atta slurry before adding it to the Nihari.

How to Make Gluten-free Nihari

After several experiments, I discovered the way to make the quality gluten-loose model of nihari. You certainly dry roast brown rice flour or sorghum flour for 3-four minutes on low-medium warmness and use it as an alternative for atta flour. Dry roasting it enhances the taste and replicates the earthy flavor of atta. strive it with my gluten-unfastened no-yeast naan!

What to Serve With Nihari

Nihaari is typically served as a chief dinner course or brunch dish. It’s commonly served with naan or sheermal, a slightly sweet flatbread. in case you are searching out greater beef dishes, take a look at out this spherical up of my fine Pakistani beef Recipes!


How to thicken Nihaari:
To thicken Nihaari, permit it to cook exposed so that it reduces down. you can additionally add greater atta than is referred to as for in the recipe.

Can Nihari be frozen?
Sure! because it’s a stew and not using a vegetables or water-based totally substances, Nihaari is certainly freezer-friendly. It’s excellent reheated on the stovetop with a few extra water. keep in mind with stirring so the pork doesn’t spoil.

Can i make this Nihari with chicken in preference to beef?
I haven’t attempted making with chicken yet, so i can’t say what changes it’ll want in terms of spices & stability. in case you’re wanting to use chicken, you’ll cook dinner for an awful lot less time (bone-in chook pieces have a prepare dinner time of round half-hour over low heat).

how to double the recipe:
To double the recipe, double the entirety however the water. A tough estimate: If the usage of a gradual cooker, use 2 cups according to pound of beef in preference to three or three 1/2. If making it over the stovetop, use 6 cups instead of 9 cups according to pound.

Delhi Style Nihari Recipe - Beef Curry

Delhi Style Nihari Recipe - Beef Curry

Here’s an easy Nihari recipe that calls for 1 pot and much less than half-hour of prep time. This recipe consists of stovetop & cooker instructions for gentle red meat shank (or stew) meat.
prep time
30 mins
cooking time
7 hours
total time
7 hours 30 mins



  • Whole Spices

  • 1/2 piece of a small star anise

  • 1-2 small bay leaves

  • 1 inch piece cinnamon stick

  • Ground Spices

  • 2-3 whole cloves, ground into a powder

  • 2-3 green cardamom pods, seeds ground

  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds, ground into a powder

  • 1/2 tsp paprika powder

  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder

  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder

  • 1/4 tsp turmeric

  • 1/4-1/2 tsp red chilli powder or cayenne

  • 1/4 tsp crushed red chilli flakes

  • 1/4 tsp black pepper powder

  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder (optional)

  • pinch nutmeg

  • 1 tbsp Homemade Nihari Masala (recipe in post),

  • Nihari

  • 1/3 cup canola or other neutral oil

  • 1 tbsp ghee, or butter

  • 1 large (250-270 g) onion, thinly sliced

  • 5-6 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 3/4 inch piece ginger, crushed

  • 1 1/4 tsp salt (sea salt or table salt)

  • 1/4 cup (35 g) durum atta flour

  • 9 cups water for stovetop, 3 1/2 cups for slow cooker

  • 1 lb (454 g) boneless beef shank meat, 2-inch cubed

  • Garnishing

  • 1 tsp garam masala

  • crispy fried onions

  • 1 inch piece ginger, julienned

  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges

  • 1/4 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped

  • 1-2 green chili peppers, chopped




heat oil and ghee in a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or pot over medium-excessive heat. add the whole spices and onion, and sauté until the onion turns golden, about 10 mins.
If wanted, deglaze with 2 tbsp of water. as soon as the water dries up, add the garlic and ginger and keep to sauté for 30 seconds. add beef and sauté for approximately 5 minutes, or till it changes coloration.
lower the heat and add the powdered spices and salt and sauté for about 20 seconds. right now pour inside the water and stir to mix.
Improve the heat to excessive and produce to a boil (cover with lid to make it boil faster). Then lower the heat to low/low-medium so that the nihari is gently simmering. cowl and allow to cook dinner for six hours for red meat shank meat (or ~four hours for stew meat). flip off the heat. the meat have to be smooth enough that it breaks easily while pressed with a wooden spoon. get rid of the entire spices, if preferred.
Take out a cup of the liquid of the Nihari onto a bowl or measuring cup. allow it cool a touch by way of including an ice cube to it. area the atta in another small bowl. bit by bit, whisk the Nihari liquid into the atta to shape a easy slurry (small clumps are okay). Slowly stir this slurry lower back in to the Nihari pot to save you clumps. If the combination is too thick, add (preferably boiling) water to attain desired consistency.
Improve the heat to high to bring to a simmer. Then decrease the heat to low/low medium. cover and allow the nihari to simmer for some other 30-45 minutes. The consistency should be like a thick soup. Serve warm with the garnishing and naan or sheermal.

Slow Cooker

Heat a medium pot over medium-high heat. heat oil and ghee and add the entire spices. add onion and sauté until golden, approximately 10 mins.
If wanted, deglaze with 2 tbsp of water. as soon as the water dries up, add the garlic and ginger and continue to sauté for 30 seconds. add beef and sauté for approximately 5 minutes, or till it changes shade.
lower the heat and add the powdered spices and salt and sauté for approximately 20 seconds.
carefully pour this beef mixture into your Crockpot or slow cooker.
ADD the water and stir to combine. cook on low for eight (for stew) to 10 hours (for shanks) or excessive for six-7 hours, or until the beef is fall-aside tender. Cooking instances will vary depending to your meat and sluggish cooker.
in the direction of the cease of your cooking time, get rid of your whole spices and take out a cup of the liquid of the Nihari right into a bowl. let it cool a touch by way of including an ice cube to it. place the atta acquire some other bowl. step by step, upload the Nihari liquid to the atta to form a smooth slurry.
Slowly add this slurry returned into the crockpot while stirring to save you clumps. let it cook for every other 30-45 minutes. Serve warm with the garnishing and naan or sheermal.
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