Nihari – Delicious Slow Cooked Meat Curry

nihari nihari recipe

Nihari – Delicious Slow Cooked Meat Curry 

Nihari is a delicious, slow cooked meat curry made of Mutton, Beef and sometimes even Chicken. The word Nihari ‘نہاری’ is derived from the Arabic work Nahar ‘نهار‎ ‘ which means ‘day’. Perhaps it is named so because in the olden days, it was cooked through the night and served to the Kings after the early morning prayers on the next day.

In Pakistan and Northern India, Nihari is often served for breakfast, especially on weekends. It is also a popular item during Ramadan.

Nihari  is said to have been developed in the Royal Kitchens of Lucknow, and thereby  gained popularity is the Kitchens of the Muslim Nawabs as well. After independence, the dish migrated to Pakistan and became hugely popular there. Similarly it is also popular in parts of Bangladesh. In modern times, Nihari is synonymous with Pakistani cuisine more-so than Indian cuisine. It is still however, very popular in New Delhi.

I love how tender the meat actually gets from the delicate slow cooking. Served with hot fluffy naan or chapati, it is effortlessly tender to devour.

nihari authentic recipe

Nihari – Delicious Slow Cooked Meat Curry 

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Recipe Name: Nihari – Delicious Slow Cooked Meat Curry 
Cuisine:  Pakistan / Delhi
Author: Shana c/o Recipes ‘R’ Simple
Prep time: 
Cook time:
Total time: 
Yield: ( 6-8  servings)


  • 1 kg Shank Meat (Beef or Mutton) – large cubes
  • ½ kg bones / bone marrow
  • 2 generous Tbsp ginger paste
  • 2 generous Tbsp garlic paste.
  • ½ cup plus 3 Tbsp ghee (ghee is more traditional and boosts flavor, but oil may be used instead)
  • 1 cup yoghurt, beaten (should not be too sour)
  • ½ cup wheat flour
  • 2 purple onions, chopped finely
  • 2 tsp salt or to taste

 For Nihari Spice Mix: to be ground  together:

  • 1 Tbsp kashmiri chilli powder – use a bright red chili powder
  • ¼ Tbsp cayenne pepper powder – adjust to suit taste
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp dry ginger powder
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp mace
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 7 cardamom
  • 7 cloves
  • 16 black pepper corns
  • 1 bay leaf

For garnish:

  • 2 Tbsp ginger, julienned
  • 1 gree chilli chopped
  • fresh coriander leaves, chopped


  • Rinse the meat and bones throughly. Keep drained.
  • Grind all the spices together to a powder. No need to heat the spices before hand.
  • In a large stock pot, heat ½ cup ghee.
  • Add the ginger and garlic pastes and stir till aromatic, without any change in color.
  • Add the meat and bones now, along with the prepared spice grind.
  • Toss together on high heat till the meat is seared in the spices.
  • Add salt and mix well. (Add about 1 tsp now, you can add more later after tasting the gravy).
  • Turn off the heat and add the yoghurt. Stir well to incorporate.
  • Now add 8 cups of water and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low.
  • Cover and continue to lightly simmer, till the meat is very tender. (5-6 hours for beef and 3-4 hours for mutton).
  • Check occasionally. The meat should be incredibly tender.  Once the meat is tender there should be around 3 cups of gravy left. Add salt if needed.
  • Mix the wheat flour with a cup of water to make a slurry.
  • Add this to the Nihari and cook for 7 minutes on high heat. Stir occasionally to prevent any scorching. (You need to watch this, according to the type of cooking vessel you are using).
  • Add the remaining ghee to a separate pan and heat.
  • Add the chopped onion and sauté till golden brown.
  • Add to the simmering nihari, cover and cook for another 15-20 minutes on low heat.
  • Garnish with ginger julienne, coriander leaves and sliced green chili.

Nihari – Delicious Slow Cooked Meat Curry 

nihari pakistan

  • In many places, you can ask your butcher to give you Nihari meat. They will give you the best shank and cut into large cubes for you.

Key Ingredients: Beef/Mutton, Marrow/Bones, Spices, Onion, Ginger, Garlic, Salt, Ghee, Yoghurt, Coriander leaves.

Leave a comment if you tried the Nihari – Delicious Slow Cooked Meat Curry. Comments from you provide motivation to keep up the driving force behind this blog, bringing you more delicious and perfected recipes regularly. Please do leave a comment. We love to hear from you.

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About Shana Shameer

Love Cooking and discovering the very Best recipes out there.

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