Nalli Nihari is something that I cook every winter and yet I haven't written the recipe over the years. One of the main reasons was the pictures. I wasn't able to click the pictures over the years or whatever I captured I wasn't happy with those. I have eight sets of Nihari pictures available from 2017, 2018, and also from 2019. Even this year I captured the beauty of Nihari two times and I finally was satisfied with one set of pictures. It was weird that somehow, I wasn't able to capture the beauty of the winter special over the years. Now that I have the pictures, I think this is the right time to write down the recipe.
- Nalli Nihari, the winter favorite!
- History of Nihari!
- Mutton Nihari, cooking Tips!
- My Nihari preference! Kolkata's favorite winter delicacy, Nalli Nihari!
- Homemade Nihari Masala- a must for this recipe
- Instructions - step by step process of cooking nalli nihari at home
- Here's how I cook Nalli Nihari at Debjanir Rannaghar
- Recipe Card
- Mughlai Recipes from Debjanir Rannaghar!
- Have you tried the Gosht Nihari recipe from Debjanir Rannaghar!
- Here's the Mutton Nihari Pin for your Pinterest Board!
Nalli Nihari, the winter favorite!
Nihari is a slow-cooked and flavored stew cooked with shank meat and marrow bones. Beef, Lamb, Mutton, and even chicken are widely used in making Nalli Nihari. Shank is mainly round thigh meat. The muscles of the upper thigh of the animals due to their bone structure are tough and dry and also full of marrow. This particular type of bone is the source of gelatin. Gelatin is a degraded form of collagen and hours of cooking release the collagen into the stew.
History of Nihari!
The Mughals introduced Nalli Nihari to the Indian subcontinent. Initially, Mutton Nihari was favored by the noble lot, however, over the years other types of meats such as beef, buff, etc. were introduced. In Pakistan, Nihari is mostly cooked with beef. These days, Chicken Nihari is equally popular. In India, you can see different versions of Nihari cooked with Beef, Mutton, or Chicken. Nihari even is available in the villages during the winter. I have had hearty Nihari in Birbhum during the winter from the streetside shops.
Mutton Nihari, cooking Tips!
Traditionally Nihari is cooked with Ghee, a special mixture of spices, and obviously shank meat for around 8 hours. These days to cut calories people use oil instead of ghee or use a mixture of both. I prefer to use a mixture of both instead of skipping ghee completely. Ghee is having several medicinal properties and, in the winter, there is no harm in adding little ghee while cooking Nihari.
Though not 8 hours but I cook the meat for at least 6-7 hours. I start cooking it at 4 a.m. and finish cooking by 11 a.m. Nihari is derived from the Arabic word Naahar which stands for the morning. It is said that the Nawabs used to eat it as part of breakfast after the Fajr. I am not a religious person yet I prefer cooking it in the early morning. I somehow feel the early morning helps in making the Nihari subtle!
My Nihari preference! Kolkata's favorite winter delicacy, Nalli Nihari!
Homemade Nihari Masala- a must for this recipe
Talking about the process, I in general, do not add onion while cooking Nalli Nihari. I make the spice mix at home instead of purchasing the readymade Nihari Masala. Not that the store-bought spices are bad, however, I prefer certain blends and making the mix at home gives me that flexibility. In this post, I am sharing the recipe for Mutton Nihari as that is what I cook at home most.
We prefer eating beef Nihari from Sufia located at Zakaria Street and don't in general cook it at home. Chicken Nihari is not something I am very fond of. the dish after all calls for hours of cooking and that's what we can't do with chicken in general! However, for the sake of the readers, I will share the recipe soon. Some people add brain and chunks of mutton fat while cooking Nihari apart from the Marrowbone and I am one of those. I prefer to use a heavy-duty vessel with a lid to cook Nalli Nihari.
Instructions - step by step process of cooking nalli nihari at home
Here I am sharing the detailed process and the pictures of each step for slow-cooked Nalli Nihari. Hope these will help you to understand better the process of cooking Nihari at home.
Make the Nihari Masala by combining all the ingredients mentioned in the recipe card. You can store the nihari masala for future use as well.
A mixture of Shank pieces of mutton, lamb brain, and fat is a must for making perfect nalli nihari at home. See the recipe card for measurements.
Marinate the mutton chunks with salt, ginger and garlic, and nihari masala. See the recipe card for the process of making Nihari masala and for the measurements as well.
Fry the mutton chunks in a mixture of ghee and oil till it changes color. Check the recipe card for measurements as well as for the time needed.
Add Nihari Masala (see recipe card for measurement) and slow cook the mutton
Cook the mutton till it releases sufficient moisture
You need to add boiling water and slow-cook the mutton for hours to cook the perfect mutton nihari. See the recipe card for details.
Reserve Tehr (oil) which will be floating on the top of the Nalli Nihari while cooking
Add Slurry (check the recipe card for the slurry-making process) to make the gravy rich for Nalli Nihari.
When the Nihari is almost ready add the remaining Nihari Masala.
Top it with the oil separated in the earlier step, onion crisps, lemon juice, and julienned ginger while serving
You can see the texture of the Mutton Nihari. I cooked it for 6 hours. Check the recipe card for minute details.
A large Vessel with a proper lid is a must while you are cooking Nihari at home. I prefer using a heavy duty one.
Here's how I cook Nalli Nihari at Debjanir RannagharPrint
Nalli Nihari aka Mutton Nihari is a heritage Mughlai winter delicacy where shank meat is cooked with selected spices for hours to reach the level of perfection
- 1 kg Mutton Shank Meat (cut into pieces with the marrowbone)
- 100g Fat from the portion near to liver of the mutton (cut into chunks) (optional)
- 100g lamb brain (optional)
- 2 Tbsp. Garlic Paste
- 2 Tbsp. Ginger Paste
- 3 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
- 3 Tbsp. Whole Wheat Flour
- 1 Tbsp. Red Chili Powder
- 1 Tbsp. Turmeric Powder
- 1.5 Tsp. Salt or to taste
- 150ml Vegetable Oil (1 Cup)
- 2 Tbsp. Ghee
- 4.5 Tbsp. Nihari Masala (see below)
- 2 Star Anise
- 1 Nutmeg
- 3 Bay Leaf
- 3 pieces Cinnamon Stick (1" each)
- 20 Black Pepper
- 15 Green Cardamom
- 1 Tbsp. Coriander Seed
- ½ Tbsp. Cumin Seed
- 1 Tbsp. Fennel Seed
- 10 Cloves
- 1 Tbsp. Dry Ginger (Powder)
- 1 Tbsp. Red Chili Powder
- 1 Tbsp. Turmeric Powder
- 3 Tbsp. Ginger (Julienne Cut)
- 50g Cilantro (chopped)
- 4 Lemon Slice
Making Nihari Masala
- Take all the whole spices mentioned under "Nihari Masala" in a blender and make a coarse powder of the spices.
- Now add 1 tablespoon each of dry ginger powder, red chili powder, and also turmeric powder to the spice mix.
- You can store this mixture in an airtight container.
- From the Nihari Masala prepared, you will need 4.5 Tbsp. Nihari Masala to make nihari with 1 Kg meat.
Marinating the mutton
- Wash and pat dry meat chunks.
- Marinate meat with 1 Tsp. Salt, and 2 Tbsp. each of ginger and garlic paste and 1 Tbsp. Nihari Masala as well. (step mentioned above).
- Let the mutton marinated for 30 minutes.
Slow-cooking Mutton Nihari
- Boil around 2 liters of water in a vessel.
- keep this available for the mutton; it will be added as and when needed.
- Heat oil and ghee in a deep bottom vessel.
- This vessel should have a tight lid.
- Once the ghee and oil mixture is properly heated add mutton chunks and fry for around 5 minutes on low flame.
- Now add 3 Tbsp. of the Nihari spice powder to the meat and mix well.
- Keep the flame low and cook for 5 more minutes.
- The meat by this time will release moisture.
- Now add the boiling water and keep the flame low.
- Add salt to taste and chili powder if needed.
- Cover the pan with a lid and cook on low flame for 5 hours without stirring the meat.
- In between if needed add boiling water to keep the curry runny.
- You may need to add 500ml water in between.
- After 4 hours the meat will be properly cooked and oil will start floating on the top of the curry.
- Strain the oil from the top with the help of a spoon.
- Keep the oil reserved in a bowl.
- Now mix 3 Tbsp. whole wheat flour with 1 cup of hot water to make a semi-runny mixture or slurry.
- Strain this slurry through a strainer and mix with the curry lightly from the side.
- Nihari does not call for overmixing.
- Now cook for 1 more hour without stirring the curry.
- After around 6 hours of cooking the meat in total, switch the flame off.
- Add ½ Tbsp. spice mix followed by lemon juice and mix lightly.
- Top it with the reserved oil and ghee mixture.
- While serving garnish with ginger julienne, lemon slices, and chopped cilantro.
- I don't believe in the shortcut method of cooking Nihari. This dish calls for hours of cooking.
- The pieces of meat have to be chosen carefully. Shank is a must. Brain and fat are, however, optional but make it way better.
- You can for sure go for a quick cooking option by using a pressure cooker; however, the end product will be anything but nihari.
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Cook Time: 6 hours
- Category: Mutton
- Method: Cooking
- Cuisine: Mughlai
- Serving Size: 225g
- Calories: 818
- Sugar: 0.8g
- Sodium: 758mg
- Fat: 63.4g
- Saturated Fat: 20.3g
- Carbohydrates: 10.5g
- Fiber: 2.7g
- Protein: 50.6g
- Cholesterol: 463mg
Keywords: Nalli nihari recipe, winter nihari recipe, mutton nihari recipe. kolkata nihari recipe, debjanir rannaghar
Mughlai Recipes from Debjanir Rannaghar!
- Kolkata Style Mutton Rezala (Also known as Mughlai Gosht Rezala)
- Kolkata Mutton Biryani (also known as Calcutta Biryani)
- Kolkata’s Mutton Tikia (Also known as tikia Kebab)
- Hyderabadi Haleem (also known as Mutton Haleem)
- Awadhi Vegetable Tehri (also known as Tahiri)
- Mutton Handi Kebab (also known as Handi Kebab)
- Restaurant Style Chicken Malai Kebab (also known as Chicken Reshmi Kebab)
- Chicken Chaap (also known as Kolkata style Chicken Champ)
- Tandoori Chicken (Also known as Tandoori Murg)
- Restaurant Style Navratan Korma (also known as Navaratan Korma)
- Shahi Paneer Korma (Also known as Shahi Paneer)
- Malai Kofta (also known as Paneer ke Kofte)
- Sheer Khurma (also known as Seviyan)
- Hyderabadi Double ka Meetha (also known as Sahi Tukda)
Have you tried the Gosht Nihari recipe from Debjanir Rannaghar!
Do let me know how it came out. Also, I would love to see a picture of the same which you can share here at email@example.com. Meanwhile, on Instagram, you can use my hashtag #debjanirrannaghar and in addition, you can tag me at @foodofdebjani.