Nihari or meat stew

I’ve been married to my muslim husband for close to 15 years. I had heard stories about the traditional nihari which is a gravy made from a special cut of beef with large bones. Traditionally this dish is cooked for hours by the women of the family that take turns to stir the meat. The result is a delicious gravy with melt in your mouth meat that is served on special occasions.

I must have heard "why don't you make Nihari" many many times but never tried it for fear of failing. Then the inevitable happened. I opened the refrigerator and saw a bag marked "Nihari meat". I then realized that it was time for me to sink or swim. I immediately called my good friend Lubna who translated a recipe from her family cookbook and written in Urdu. For that I am truly grateful. I've amended the recipe to make it easier, if you're brave like I had to be that day, give it a try.

This is an absolute favorite in my household and over the years I've changed this recipe a bit to make it my own. What once seemed like a Herculean task, I can now prepare wih my eyes closed and I hope that the video makes this easy for you to tackle.

5 pounds Nihari meat - Marinated in 2 tbsps ginger and garlic paste, lemon juice & salt
(Nihari meat is cut in big chunks and contains large pieces of bone. You need these bones for the gravy, you can remove these later. You can also use bone in mutton or lamb)
2 tbsps ghee
2 medium red onions sliced
3 black cardamoms
3 star anise
5 cloves
2 tsps each turmeric, chilli powder, garam masala, cumin powder and fennel powder
1/2 cup tomato paste

For the garnishes
Julienne of ginger and garlic
Sliced chillies
Chopped Coriander
Lemon and/or lime wedges
Fried onions

Heat a few tbps of ghee or clarified butter in a saute pan bit enough to hold all the meat. Add the onions and then the whole spices and saute till the onions are nice and golden brown. Remove from the pan to make room for the meat. Sear the meat on both sides and then add all of the powdered spices. Add the tomato puree, salt and  some water and cook for about a half hour. You can continue cooking this on a low flame for about 6 hours or like me, transfer this to a crock pot and leave it on low for 6 hours to overnight. The result is this delicious intense flavour and is fall of the bone delicious. Serve with an assortment of garnishes and let your guests pick and choose what they like to top their Nihari with. You can eat this with rice, but it's best eaten with rotis or naans.

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