Nihari is a slow cooked meat stew. It is traditionally cooked with mutton, lamb or beef shank and has a flour based sauce unlike other curries which have a tomato or yogurt base.

There’s always a dispute about the origins of Nihari, some say it dates as far back as the 18th century during the last days of Mughal empire, others say it originated in the royal kitchens of Awadh.

Wherever it came from, it is such a treat and my favourite dish of all time. Traditionally, the meat would be cooked overnight for 6-8 hours and served in the early hours of the morning. For some reason, it always tastes better the next day!


  • 4 lamb shanks or beef shanks (cut up in large pieces)
  • 2 large onions finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp garlic paste
  • 2tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp red chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp coriander powder
  • 2 tbsp fennel powder (saunf powder)
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • Salt to taste

For the garnish

  • Sliced ginger
  • Handful chopped coriander
  • Finely sliced green finger chillies
  • Lime or lemon chopped into quarters


    1. In a large pot, add a large splash of oil and fry the onions until golden brown (be careful not to burn them).
    2. Remove the onions from the pan and put them onto a separate plate for garnishing later.
    3. Add the meat until browned and add the ginger and garlic paste and stir for 2 minutes.
    4. Add all red chilli powder, coriander powder, fennel powder and salt and stir thoroughly for 2 minutes.
    5. Add water, enough to cover the meat and bring to boil.
    6. Once the stock starts to boil, reduce the heat to the low and let it cook for 1 1/2 hours.
    7. Check the meat to see if it is soft and almost falling off the bone.
    8. The oil would have separated at this point.  Using a spoon, take some of the oil out and pour into a separate bowl (you will need this for later).
    9. In a dry frying pan, add the flour and heat until it’s got a slight golden colour to it. Then remove it from the pan and pour into a separate bowl. Add some water to create a flour paste.
    10. Add the flour paste to the lamb and turn up the heat to let it thicken slightly.
    11. Once it has started to thicken, add the separated oil on top.
    12. Serve in a wide bowl (like a pasta bowl) and garnish with lots of fried onions, coriander, sliced ginger, lemon and garam masala if you have any!


(It’s best to eat it with naan or roti).

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