In the world of comfort food nothing tops the art of slow cooked meat for me. Whether its the beautiful smoky flavors of American Barbecue or the slow cooked curries of India , if its meat falling off the bones I am in a very happy place! Nihari Gosht is such a preparation originating in medieval India . The word Nihari traces its root to the Arabic word “Nahar” meaning day, historians suggest the dish was named as such because it was served to laborers during the day. The Mughal emperors who ruled Medieval India were admirers of arts and architecture and undertook massive construction projects , such as the Taj Mahal. Both historians and local folklore suggest this dish was made by the chefs employed by the nobility for the working class who started their day with a good hearty meal to provide them energy required to get through the day.The dish traces its origin to the city of Lucknow , known for its Biryanis, kebabs and slow cooked dishes such as the Nihari. Lucknow specializes in “dum” style cooking which involves sealing dishes with a pastry dough and letting them simmer over slow wood fire. In this dish I did not use a seal, as I have seen it prepared both with and without the pastry seal, however should you wish to use it you can check out how in my recipe for Hyderabadi Lamb Biryani
This dish typically uses tougher cuts of meat such as the shanks, historically goat or lamb was used but nowadays it is also made with beef and chicken. The advantage of slow cooking is , it tenderizes tougher cuts of meat and once the dish is set you do not have to worry or keep and eye on it for 4-6 hrs! Pro tip: This recipe uses a rather complex mixture of spices, if you wish to skip a few steps and make life a bit easier consider buying a “Nihari Spice Mix” from any South Asian grocery store. I have tried it with the spice mix and without both work equally well.
- 500 leg of goat or lamb shank included ( chopped into pieces bone in )
- 1 large onion finely sliced
- 4 green cardmom pods
- 1 black cardmom pod
- 6 cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 bay leafs
- 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
- 1/2 tea spoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon rose water
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon fennel powder
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- A pinch of saffron
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
- Vegetable oil
- Julienned Ginger, lemon and chopped mint and coriander for garnish
- Season the meat with salt and pepper. In a cast iron pan heat the oil and sear the meat on both sides for about 4 minutes each side and set aside.
- To the oil containing rendered fat from the meat add the cardmom pods, cloves bay leaf and then add the ginger garlic paste
- Now add the fennel powder, garam masala, chilli powder, salt, pepper and sugar and stir for 10 minutes till the oil starts separating
- Transfer the mixture to a deep dish pan and cover the meat with water and add the rose water and saffron. Bring to a boil and let it simmer over low heat for 4-5 hrs. Cover the pan with it's lid.
- In a separate pan fry the onion till golden brown and add it to the stew. Cook for a further ten minutes.
- The nihari is now ready, garnish with chopped cilantro and mint, julienned ginger and lemon and serve with hot basmati rice or naan