Pakistan – Beef Nihari
by Dahiza Umar
INTRODUCTION TO THE DISH
This dish, Nihari has the uses specific meat parts and specific spices. This is the meat dish of Beef and Mutton but nowadays chicken is also used. This is the stew of thick consistency cooked by the use of meat parts like Shank or leg part of mutton 和 beef. In this stew, bone marrow is also added and this stew has the use of specific spices that are not common in usually routine stews and curries. Nihari is the most popular, traditional, and authentic dish of Punjabi cuisine, Pakistan. It is popular even in India and Bangladesh. This is cooked on low heat and it required more than 4 to 6 hours in cooking. In Punjab, Nihari is served as breakfast but it is served at any time.
It is like a ritual to set the fire for cooking nihari after Fajar Namaz (around 4 am) and then it is served in breakfast at around 10 am. There are famous shops all over Pakistan famous for Nihari. Nihari is served with some sort of bread like roti, Naan, paratha, etc. There are some famous dishes for traditional events like Eid, Shabrat, Milad, etc. This is a very important dish for the day of Islamic and traditional events.
Nihari-specific spices like cloves, nutmeg, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, black pepper cones, etc. There are some special condiments to serve with Nihari like lemon juice, green chilies, ginger slices, etc. Some ground masala is served on the top of Nihari. Lahori’s famous breakfast is Naan Nihari.
NAMING OF THE DISH
The name of this dish comes from the word, NAHAR. Nahar means, Morning. This is the dish served as breakfast in the morning so it comes to the name, NIHARI. Because this is the first meal of the day.
This dish was eaten by Mughals 和 Nawab. It is a famous breakfast of that time and even now it is eaten at the breakfast. This is more like Breakfast cum Lunch.
HISTORY OF NIHARI
This is the dish of the old Indian subcontinent. At that time, the Muslims of Pakistan, Bengali of Bangladesh, and Hindu of India lived together. The origin of this dish is from the time of the Mughal Empire. This dish was cooked as breakfast for Mughal Kings and their relatives, Nawabs, etc. This is the history of this dish that cooks were used to putting on the fire for Nihari as the main breakfast.
The meat of the special area was taken and used to be added into this dish for cooking. Mostly, the Shank area of beef meat is used for the Nihari. The use of pure ghee and fresh species were used for the king’s breakfast.
ORIGIN OF THE DISH
This dish was originated from the Indian Subcontinent at the time of the Mughal Empire.
This dish is popular in different regions of the world
- Thailand, etc.
PUNJABI CUISINE OF PAKISTAN
Punjabi cuisine is famous in Pakistan because of the use of its authentic spices and traditional ancient dishes. Most of the famous dish around the world is from Punjabi cuisine from Pakistan. The dishes of Punjabi cuisine are mostly meat-based dishes. There are some vegetarian dishes also popular in Pakistan.
The city of Punjabi, the Capital of Punjab in Lahore. This is the main city of Punjab, Pakistan which is known for its food. The use of beef in many famous dishes is common. Mutton is also used in different dishes but because it is expensive meat so mostly, beef is used in many dishes. There are also some vegetarian dishes, that are mixed with meat.
There are some dishes, cooked as the old dishes were cooked in the Clay pots and Stone oven. This is mostly known as TANDOOR.
FAMOUS PUNJABI DISHES
- Bong payee ( Trotter with meat stew )
- Naan Chany ( Chickpea gravy with bread )
- Nihari ( Beef stew )
- Halwa Puri
- Murgh Cholay
NIHARI IS THE NATIONAL DISH OF PAKISTAN
STREET FOOD OF PAKISTAN
The street food of Pakistan is very famous because it is cheap and very delicious. This dish, nihari is cooked with meat by the hawkers. This is more like the stew with beef meat and served with naan at the roadside.
If Nihari is served as breakfast it is served with the Halwa Puri in Lahore. Halwa Puri is another breakfast of Punjab. Both the delicacies are served side by side. There are different spots in Lahore in which Nihari is served in breakfast. As the Punjabi cuisine, it is served with the drink, Lassi. This is very heavy and full of calories because of the high-fat content. In Punjabi street food the use of authentic pure ghee is common. The use of a large amount of oil, ghee, and pure fats are used like beef fats, mutton fat, etc.
Below is the picture of pure Lahori Nashta :
- Halwa with puri and chollay
- Nihari with Naan
COMPONENTS OF NIHARI
This is purely a meat dish, any other vegetable cannot be added to this dish. This is the dish that is cooked with Beef and Mutton meat. The use of bones with bone marrow is also a main part of the meat. Because when bones are cooked with meat on low heat, the bone marrow, juices, and stews are moved out of the bones and mixed into the gravy. There is some special part of beef meat used in making Nihari.
Mostly the SHANK 和 SHIN portion of the beef meat is used in making Nihari. This portion is used because it has the bone part, Tibia. This bone is important in making nihari for the bone marrow and bone infuses juices.
This is the meat portion of the legs below the Knee. This is the TIBIA PORTION of beef or mutton meat with bones and Marrow.
Meat used in nihari
- Beef meat
- Lamb meat
- Goat meat
- Chicken ( very rare )
The stew in nihari is not so thick or thin. This is medium consistency of the stew and thickened by adding slurry. The slurry of wheat flour with water is made and used to make it thick. There are some vegetables like onion, tomatoes, garlic, and ginger are used to make gravy of nihari. There is a special mixture of spices used to add to the nihari stew for the different aroma.
MASALA VEGETABLES OF NIHARI
- Green chilies
SPICE MIX OF NIHARI
- Cinnamon stick
- Bay leaves
- Star anise
CONDIMENTS OF NIHARI
Green chilies are served as the salad with this dish with other more vegetables. Green chilies are cut either into small pieces or chopped to be added according to the taste. In Pakistan, everyone has addicted to spicy food. Spices are added according to the taste. But green chilies are served on separate plates for more addition of spices. This is the representation way of the way to serve chopped chilies and some other items. Green chilies in different forms are served like :
- Chopped green chilies
- Whole green chilies
- Fried green chilies
- Green chilies pickle
Fresh green cilantro leaves are also served with nihari. This is not garnished on the top of the plate but served on a separate plate with ginger and lemon. This is very refreshing to add green color in the form of coriander leaves to any dish. The taste and color of coriander leaves when added to any dishes makes it very aromatic and nice at first look.
Mint leaves are also very refreshing with the leaves of cilantro. These leaves are more aromatic with very amazing taste. But the more mint taste can make the dish slightly bitter. So minimal amount of mint leaves are chopped and added to the nihari for aroma and color with cilantro leaves. This is added as the condiment that’s an addition to your plate depending on the choice.
Thin ginger slices have an amazing taste when eaten with any spicy traditional dish. Juliene cut-thin ginger slices are added into the nihari for garnishing and enhancing the taste.
Lemons are not added directly into the nihari bowl or nihari plate but this is served with the nihari if you want more tanginess you can add lemon juice direct squeeze from the lemon served with nihari.
This is a dish served with bread:
- Sada roti
- Khameeri roti
- Roghani roti
- Sada Naan
- Roghani Naan
- Butter Naan
COMPLEMENTARY SIDE ITEMS
- Green chili chutney
- Mint chutney
- Green chilies salad
- Onions rings
- Preparation time : 20 minutes
- cooking time: 1hour and 45 minutes
- Total time : 2 hours minutes
- Calories : 320
- protein : 30 grams
- carbohydrates : 22 grams
- Fat : 28 grams
INGREDIENTS OF BEEF NIHARI
- Beef shank piece : 500 grams
- Beef trotters : 200 grams
- Onions : 2 large slices
- Tomatoes : 4 large slices
- Ginger paste : 3 tbsp
- Garlic paste : 6 tbsp
- Desi ghee : 1 cup
- Yogurt : 250 grams
- Green chilies : 6
- Wheat flour : 4 tbsp
NIHARI SPICE MIX
- Salt : 2 tbsp
- Red peppers powder : 1 tbsp
- Cumin powder : 2 tbsp
- Coriander powder : 2tbsp
- Fennel seeds powder : 1 tsp
- Cloves powder : 1/2 tsp
- Cinnamon stick : 1/2 tsp
- Star anise : 1
- Blackpepper powder : 1/2 tsp
- Nutmeg powder : 1/4 tsp
- Turmeric powder : 1 tbsp
- Ginger slices : 2 tbsp
- Lemon : 3
- Cilantro : 4 tbsp
- Mint leaves : 4 tbsp
- Green chilies : 4 tbsp
- Take all the vegetables and cut them into slices like onions, tomatoes, green chilies.
- In a Large cooking pot, add oil and heat it up for 3 minutes, than add onions slices into oil and fry them. Fry onions into oil until they changes their color to light brown.
- Than add garlic and ginger paste into the light browned onions and mix them. Then after 5 minutes of frying, add tomatoes slices into the onions paste and add beef meat with it.
- Its the time to fry onions, with beef meat on high flames to lock the mositure into the beef. We need to fry the meat on high flames until the color of the beef changed to brown color.
- Add 6 glass of water into the beed with the spices prepared before, the Nihari mix.
- Now let this meat cooked with spices on low heat while simmering for 1 hour.
- When the meat is cooked to tenderized after 60 minutes, add yogurt into it and cook the stew for 20 more minutes. The water content of stew is not too much thin, we need to make it thick enough to eat with bread.
- This is the stew of beef ready to served with condiments and bread.
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