Nihari is a slow-cooked and flavoured flour based stew cooked with the shank meat and marrow bones. Beef, Lamb, Mutton, and even chicken are widely used in making Nihari. Nalli Nihari is made with bone-in mutton pieces from the lamb shank & bone marrow added to nihari, which makes the stew very rich. It is flavoured with long pepper (pippali), a relative of black pepper.
Nihari comes from the Persian nâhâr via Arabic nahâr, respectively meaning “lunch” and “daytime”. It was originally eaten by Nawabs in the Mughal Empire as a breakfast item after their Islamic morning prayer of Fajr.
Traditionally Nihari was cooked all night and then served to the Mughal Kings of Delhi in breakfast after the morning prayers. According to many sources, Nihari originated in the late 18th century during the last throes of the Mughal Empire 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.
Nihari is a traditional dish of Muslims of Lucknow, Delhi and Bhopal in India. After the Partition of India and creation of Pakistan in 1947, many Urdu speaking Muslims from northern India migrated to Karachi and Dhaka, and established restaurants. In Karachi, Nihari became a roaring success and soon was found all over Pakistan. Now Nihari is available in Pakistani restaurants around the world.
Nihari has traditionally been made with large shank pieces.Nihari revolves around the cut of the meat, the slow cooking process and the end result of whole tender pieces of meat that comes off the bone at a touch. It is best cooked very slowly on low heat and if possible overnight.
Mutton Nihari tastes best when served with Naan, Sheermal or Khamiri Roti and a Raita. Lemon wedges, julienned ginger, chopped cilantro and chopped green chilli peppers are essential accompaniments for Nihari.