Nihari, the breakfast meal of kings in South Asia, is a beef stew slow cooked over eight hours so the meat is fork tender and is spiced up to make a hearty meal during the fall or winter.

According to many sources, Nihari either originated in Hyderabad or Old Delhi in the late 18th century during the last throes of the Mughal Empire or in the royal kitchens of Awadh, in modern-day Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India. It was originally meant to be eaten as a breakfast dish, especially in cold mornings, on an empty stomach.



  • 2.2lbs beef chuck roast,
  • 2.2lbs beef meat bones,
  • 1.5 liters water,
  • 1 packet of Nihari Masala,
  • 250 grams ghee,
  • 1 large onion – finely chopped,
  • 3 tbsp heaped ginger/garlic paste,
  • 1tbsp salt,
  • 2tbsp Garam Masala,
  • 1 cup flour (whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour),
  • Chopped Green Chillies (garnish for serving),
  • Julienne ginger (garnish for serving).


1.    Put the bones in a large vessel and add the water. Turn on the gas and bring to boil on high-heat. Once boiled, reduce to medium heat and cook for one hour.
2.    Once done, strain the broth into another container and keep aside. Keep the bones handy. While boiling a lot of gunk gets built up, discard those after straining.
3.    In the same vessel, on high heat, add the ghee and let it become hot.
4.    Add 3 tbsp of the Nihari Masala and stir for 20 seconds till the masala is completely mixed with the ghee.
5.    Add the onions to the ghee and cook till golden brown. Do not over brown it.
6.    Once the onions are light brown, add half the broth, the meat and ginger garlic paste and salt. Mix well.
7.    On high heat, let it cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not cover.
8.    Add 1tbsp Nihari Masala and the remaining broth. Mix well and bring to a boil on high heat.
9.    Once the broth boils, reduce the heat to medium and let it cook covered for 1.5 hours, covered.
10.    While that’s happening – take the flour and add water to it slowly, keep stirring so as to not form lumps. Be careful here, if you get lumps – the nihari will have those lumps and you’ll end up eating uncooked flour. So add waster slowly, keep stirring till all the flour has dissolved and you have a milky white liquid.
11.    After 1.5 hours are complete, turn to high heat, slowly add the flour water into the vessel, slowly and continuously stirring to mix it into the main dish.
12.    Keep stirring so that the flour mixes well with the liquid. You don’t want it to settle.
13.    Add the bones and cook on high heat for 20 mins.
14.    Add the remaining Nihari masala, mix well and cook on medium-low heat for another 1.5 hours. Covered. Put a heavy object on top of the lid.
15.    After 1.5 hours, switch off the gas.
16.    Check the meat, it should flake off when you touch it with a spoon or fork. If not, let it cook on the low heat, covered and with a weight on the lid till meat is fork tender. Switch gas off.
17.    Once fork tender, do a taste test and add salt as needed.
18.    Add the garam masala, stir and leave it covered for an hour.
19.    After an hour, remove the top layer of ghee and put into a separate container. You can use the ghee to cook other dishes – the flavors will be amazing!
20.    Serve the nihari in smaller bowls with ginger, green chillies and lemon wedges.


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