It has been claimed that Nihari (beef stew) has actually been derived from hikmat (eastern herbal medicine), so its consumption is preventative against sinus, cold and the onset of fever in the winters. It also keeps the body warm during dropping temperatures.

Nihari comes from the Arabic word nahar, meaning morning; hence it is consumed during breakfast. It is known as a Nawabi dish and has been known to be served to the Nawabs (fuedal lords) as breakfast.

Historically, it was cooked on slow heat with veal or beef and stock of the shank all night long and served in the morning. Meat is slowly braised and then left to simmer in the masalas (spices). The meat is then infused with the masalas.

We have made homemade masala in this recipe and once prepared, it can be stored and used multiple times. This step by step recipe will make this recipe simpler for you.

The quantity of the masala can be reduced to half and used once. Citric acid is just added to keep the masala fresh. It can be omitted and the masala can be prepared and kept in a clean airtight bottle in a fridge. If it is difficult to prepare, boxed masalas can also be used.


Nihari masala:

  • Daigi mirchain 4 tbsp
  • Cloves 1 tbsp
  • Fennel seeds 3tbsp
  • Dried ginger 1tbsp (ground)
  • Citric acid 1 tsp level
  • Nutmeg 1 piece
  • Mace 5-6
  • Black pepper 1 tbsp
  • Cardamom 12
  • Black cardamom 5-6
  • Cinnamon 4 (1” pieces)
  • Star anise 3whole
  • Black cumin seeds 1tbsp
  • Cumin seeds 1 tbsp
  • Kachri powder 2 tsp
  • Bay leaves 5-6

For Stock:

  • Shank ½ kg
  • Garlic 4 cloves
  • Dried ginger 1 (1 inch piece)
  • Star anise 2 whole
  • Cinnamon 1 large piece
  • Fennel seeds ½ tbsp.

For Nihari meat:

  • Beef 1 ½ kg
  • Oil ½ cup
  • One small onion chopped
  • Garlic paste 3 tsp
  • Yougurt 4tbsp
  • Salt: to taste (less salt is needed if using boxed masala)
  • Nihari masala 5 tbsp (according to taste)
  • Chaat masala 1 ½ tsp
  • Flour sifted ¼ cup
  • Wheat flour sifted ½ cup
  • Preparation time : 10 mins
  • Cooking time : 2 hrs
  • Number of servings (yield) : 6 – 8 persons


Put shank in a pan and cover it with water. Add all the masalas and let it boil. After one boil, strain the top of the pan and take out the residue of the deposits on the top. When the water has reduced to half the quantity, strain and keep the stock aside. Take the inside maghaz (offal) of the bones and keep it for tarka (seasoning).

  • Fry onion in the oil and when it turns pink and garlic, brown the onion and the garlic.
  • Add the meat and fry it. After the meat changes color, add yogurt and fry.
  • Add the masala (2tbsp) first and the chat masala half of it. Add the stock instead of water to tenderize the meat.
  • Keep frying and adjust the spiciness accordingly.
  • If the smell of the meat hasn’t gone away, add more garlic paste and fry in it for a bit.
  • Now add the stock, cook it on slow heat for an hour so the masala lends taste to the meat.
  • To tenderize the meat, give it pressure for 5 mins or according to the meat tenderness, provide more pressure if it’s hard.
  • Add the mixture of flour+wheat flour with ¼ cup water and blend to ensure there are no lumps.
  • Add this slowly in the boiling nihari and adjust the thickness accordingly, do not add all of this together.

For tarka:

  • Onion finely chopped 2 tsp
  • Chat masala ½ tsp
  • Maghaz from bones
  • Oil ¼ cup
  • Haldi (tumeric) pinch
  • Red chilli powder ¼ tsp

Fry the onion in oil, when it turns a little brown, add the masalas and then the maghaz and put this on top of the nihari while serving. Serve with green chilies, thinly sliced ginger, fried onion, chopped coriander and chat masala as condiments.

I am a stay at home mom and in the future want have my own cafe or restaurant. I am a Punjabi and Kashmiri so when it comes to being a food lover it runs in my blood. My mother is an amazing cook and is a huge inspiration for me.