Nihari

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Nihari
Nihari.JPG
Nihari with garnish in Pakistan
Type Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Region or state South Asia
Serving temperature Hot
Main ingredient(s) Beef shank, lamb and mutton
Other information Served with Kulcha

Nihari (Urdu: نهاری‎) is a Indian Muslim[1], Pakistani and Bangladeshi dish. It is a stew consisting of slow cooked beef or lamb garnished to taste and served with cooked brains or bone marrow.

Etymology[edit]

The word Nihar originated from the Arabic word "Nahar" (Arabic: نهار‎) which means "morning" after sunrise Fajr prayers. This dish was usually eaten in the early morning (puritans would indulge in this delicacy before sunrise, right after the Fajr prayers).

History[edit]

According to many sources: Nihari originated in Old Delhi (Jama Masjid and Daryaganj areas) in the late eighteenth century during the last throes of the Mughal Empire. The Muslim Nawab ate Nihari early in the morning after Fajr prayers and then took a long nap before going to 'Zhuhr' (afternoon Muslim prayers). Later on, it became popular among the labor class as a regular breakfast item.

Another story reveals that Nihari was cooked overnight in large volume to be served to the labours. Whenever there were massive constructions involved and the kings did not want to offer coins / currencies, they in turn offered meals to the labour. Since the work had to be started in the morning, it was cooked in an earthern pot, sometimes even buried and served in the morning to ensure the supply of energetic manforce.

Alternative origins puts roots in the Muslim Nawab kitchens, having achieved fame via the storied royal kitchens of Lucknow[2] in present-day Uttar Pradesh.

Nihari developed with the overall cuisine of south Asian Muslims. It has been an old popular delicacy in parts of Bangladesh, particularly Dhaka and Chittagong. People cooked it for one whole night and they got it in the early morning at sunrise. It is a popular dish and is regarded as the National dish of Pakistan. The dish is known for its spiciness and taste. It was originally more of a delicacy with myriad variations on spiciness and texture.[3][4]

Popularity[edit]

Nihari is a Muslim dish from Delhi and after the independence of Pakistan many cooks migrated to Karachi and other cities in the eastern wing (now in Bangladesh), and established restaurants. In Karachi, Nihari became a roaring success[1] and soon all over Pakistan. Now Nihari is available in Pakistani restaurants around the world. Nihari[5] is considered to be the National Dish of Pakistan along with Biryani.[6]

Preparation[edit]

Nihari is cooked overnight in various vessels, sometimes even buried underground while it cooked, as Shab Deg (cooked overnight) is, which results in extremely tender morsels of meat, including the flavourful bone marrow. It is served with a number of side dishes. The Baghaar is lightly fried in ghee to reduce the heat of chilis and the tarka is an additional oily chilli to spice up the flavour. Cooked brains and bone marrow are served alongside the stew. The Nihari is garnished according to individual tastes with coriander leaves, fried onions, green chillies, strips of ginger, lemons and sliced white radishes. In addition, garam masala, a blend of powdered spices is sprinkled over the stew. Salt is added to taste. In restaurants many of the garnishings are already added to increase customer turnover.

Traditional Nihari recipes call for 6–8 hours of cooking time, in addition to the preparation of the ingredients. This is much less common today with the use of tenderer cuts of meat, sirloin or shank. Traditionally the dish is eaten in the early hours of the morning. Because the stew is so rich, one is supposed to have an extended nap till the afternoon Muslim Zhuhr prayers which occur after midday.

Nihari is now cooked by pressure cooking in order to save time. The Nihari ingredients are now also available ready-mixed and packaged.

Here is a version of Nihari popular in Hyderabad (India): prepare the broth by boiling water along with goat or beef shanks (sometimes chicken) or vegetables (if you want to make a vegetarian version of it) along with some salt. If you are using mutton paya, then the process takes longer.

Grind onions, Shahi Zeera (Black cumin), Cloves and Cardamom together. Once the broth is ready, heat oil in a large pan, add the spice paste and let it fry till the raw smell of Onion disappears, then add Ginger and Garlic paste. Fry for a few more minutes, add salt, chili powder and the broth and let it cook over medium heat till all the spices have blended well into the soup. The Nihari is ready. Best enjoyed during winter or when down with a cold and best eaten with Naan or Phulka.

Variations[edit]

The Hyderabadi version of the Nihari contains lamb bones and tongue. Another version of Nihari, popularised by the spread of quick-cooking spice recipes from brands like Shan and National Foods of Pakistan, uses chicken to make a sort of thick chicken broth.

Nihari with multilayered Kulcha is a famous cuisine of Old Lucknow. It is available at Gole Darwaza, Chowk Area, near the famous shop of Tunde Kababi.

Nalli nihari is a variation made with marrow bones.[7]

Harissa is a very popular meat preparation made for breakfast in Kashmir Valley, it is slow cooked for many hours, with spices and hand stirred.[8] Harissa has different texture Nihari, and is much milder in taste, it resembles Nihari in its method of cooking and the base ingredients used.

Medication[edit]

Nihari is also used as a home remedy for Common cold, Rhinorrhea and Fever.[9] According to a legend, it was concocted at least a hundred years ago in Delhi by a Hakeem.[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]