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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Nalli Nihari - When Hubby Cooks!

'When Hubby Cooks' was a random line I used for one of the first recipes I posted that my husband Roshan had prepared - now it has almost become a monthly series of recipes that he lovingly creates with his expert hands much to the delight of the mouths he feeds at home (and also the readers who end up trying his recipes). Well, thanks to Roshan for putting his passion to good use - our Sunday meals have become a lot more fun and our dining table is a place for great meal time conversations - all revolving around the dish of the day and cuisines of the world.



Well, although you may have heard of the Nalli Nihari did you know that this dish is the National Dish of Pakistan? Our neighbouring country that is always at logger heads with ours and is in the eye of a storm almost all the time is also a place where great food and great music comes from. Beautiful women too :-) Just recently we were introduced a little more to their food culture through an article in BBC Good Food magazine's September edition and that made us explore some more of Pakistan's food heritage via the internet. Being primarily a muslim country, Pakistan is famous for their delectable meat dishes especially mutton - which also happens to be our favourite (mine at least) and I am always up for a new experiment with this meat. Mutton is often synonymous with goat meat in India as that's what is available most times at our local butchers. So since the mister had picked up some extra portion of nalli (marrow bones) on his last visit, he began to search for a good recipe to put it to use.

Apparently Nihari was eaten early in the morning during the Mughal era and was a breakfast dish. The word Nihari is derived from the term 'Nihar' which means 'morning after sunrise'. Nihari was often cooked overnight or sometimes even buried underground while it cooked so the resultant dish would have very tender morsels of meat. Nihari was prepared with either beef or mutton although the leg of lamb is more popularly served today.


When Roshan started preparing the dish without using the pressure cooker I was rather tensed. Would we get our afternoon meal on time? I asked him, knowing that here in India the red meat available takes forever to cook without at least the partial use of a pressure cooker. But surprisingly the whole dish - from start to finish - was done under 50 mins or so and was devoured in less than 5 mins. A man who does not like too much of garam masala (blend of spices) in his food was actually making some from scratch - when I saw this, I rolled my eyes and made a quick exit out of the kitchen. You see, we are opposites in our nature and while I totally adore the aroma of fresh garam masala he detests it. Anyway, I waited for the final dish to make its appearance. It quickly got plated and a few hurried clicks later made it to the dining table. The combination of Nalli Nihari with piping hot plain parathas (we buy the ready to fry variety from Al-Kabeer) was out of the world. I wish we had some home made kuboos or a more traditional accompaniment to go with it. As each of us took bites of the paratha dipped in this luxurious curry, we were quickly transported into a different level of gastronomic bliss - nirvana, if you please. Succulent pieces of meat drenched in an aromatic spice rich gravy - a delicacy waiting to be experienced, enjoyed and loved.

The most mind blowing part was the subtlety of the garam masala - not overpowering in any way, yet bold enough to make its presence felt and lend that unique taste and aroma to the meat and make Nalli Nihari what it is.


Verdict: This whole dish was so melt-in-the-mouth and finger licking good that we didn't need any side dish or accompaniment to the meal. I am also sure that we may have even over eaten if we didn't run out of parathas that day. By the way, this dish tastes just as fabulous with simple steamed rice. If you wish you can use ready made Nihari masala powder available in stores. However, I strongly believe that a freshly made blend will lend so much more aroma and flavour to your dish. So go right ahead and make it and tell us how you liked it!

(And please don't ask me if you can make this with chicken - it would be in my opinion, sacrilege!)

Nalli Nihari
Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time 45mins (approx - depends on the quality/tenderness of meat) | Serves 3-4

Ingredients -
  • 1 kg lamb/goat meat leg pieces (Nalli) 
  • 3 tbsp pure ghee
  • 2 medium sized onions
  • 2 cups lamb stock
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp lime/lemon juice
  • 1 inch ginger cut into thin strips (for garnishing)
  • 2 tbsp coriander leaves chopped (for garnishing)
  • salt to taste
To make the Nihari Masala powder:
  • 3 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1 1/2tsp fennel seed (saunf)
  • 3 long dried red chilies (laal mirch)
  • 8 black peppercorns (kali mirch)
  • 3 green cardamoms (elaichi)
  • 1 black cardamom (badi elaichi)
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg powder (jhaiphal)
  • 1/2 tsp dry ginger powder (sunth)
  • 1/2 bay leaf (or a small one) (tej patta)
  • 1 blade of mace (javitri)
  • 4 cloves (laung)
  • 1/2 inch stick of cinnamon or cassia bark (dalchini)
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds (khus khus)
  • 1 tsp roasted bengal gram (chana dal)
Method -
1. Dry roast all the each of the ingredients for the Nihari Masala powder and grind it to a fine powder.
2. In a large heavy bottomed pan heat the ghee and fry the onions till they are well browned. Remove and keep aside till required.
3. To the same ghee, add the lamb and fry along with half of the nihari masala power till the meat becomes nice and brown. Add half the fried onions, salt to taste and 4 cups of water and cook till the meat is tender (should take about 45 minutes).  
4. Add the lamb stock, remaining nihari masala and fried onions.
5. Make a thick paste of wheat flour with 5 tablespoon of water (make sure there are no lumps) and add this to the lamb and continue to simmer till the gravy thickens.
6. Sprinkle lemon juice and garnish with ginger strips and coriander leaves and serve hot with plain parathas (made of maida) or Kerala Parota/Plain Rice/Pulao/Bread

18 comments:

  1. Looks delicious...Was the lamb stock made at home or bought?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Swapna, you can make the stock by using stock cubes and water or make the stock at home by boiling lamb bone pieces

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nalli Nihari looks delicious and very tempting!!
    Nice and inviting clicks..

    Divya's Culinary Journey

    ReplyDelete
  4. bookmarked. this really looks perfect and my family would devour it in no time. thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hello Shireen! Firt time visitor to your space, and loving it! Love the versatality actually! :) Hope we stay in touch!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks so much Divya, Priya, Sayantani & Kajal Pavan & Oreo!! I hope we stay in touch too! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. That looks absolutely yummylicious. Shame I am on a self-imposed diet. Food porn like this keeps me going :-).
    Zany

    ReplyDelete
  8. hi shireen,

    can ur blog get better than this.this is my best favorite food from pakistani resturants in dubai, its simply awesome. in the first place i never expected to find it in ur blog.dont knw how many number of times i convinced my folks to try this one at home. will try ur version as well. mostly we bring the ready made powder mixture from shaan for nihari. anywys thnks a lots for the post on nihari

    love alwys, savi

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Savi! Thanks so much for the lovely compliment! So glad to know that the Nihari is your favourite too..yes I hope your folks try and enjoy it too. Not sure if my version is what you've enjoyed in Dubai, but I do hope the masala blend tastes better as it is home made :-) Will await your feedback! Love, Shireen

    ReplyDelete
  10. I love the idea of when hubby cooks and a monthly feature on your blog is a great idea. Hubs cook every weekend but his repertoire is only good for breakfast haha.

    We use goat meat too and we have a similar stew dish but the spices are quite different.
    Thanks and happy weekend.

    Malou

    ReplyDelete
  11. This looks super delicious and awesome clicks! glad to follow you. do visit my space in your free time
    http://www.indianhealthyrecipes.com/

    ReplyDelete
  12. dear shireen wonderful recipe i tried twise. Just mouthwantering but i used readymade masala shaan pakistani product i goted in realiance fresh. On packet little different steps of recipe. I followed ur recipe step ( most realiable ) and it turn just great. Thank a lot. He dear do u know buist cake recipe in pressure cooker? Why outside cake so sponge it is not dry when we eat them than the home cake. Pls reply with love sheetal

    ReplyDelete
  13. hi shireen, Nice recipe i tried twice. Just wonderful, but i used ready-made Shaan Masala ( Pakistani product) i gated from Reliance Fresh. On that pack recipe is different i follow your recipe (most reliable always) Thanks a lot for perfection. Do you know biscuit chocolate cake in pressure cooker recipe. pls share. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thanks a lot Sheetal! So glad to know that you tried this recipe twice! Regarding your query - no I haven't tried a cake in a pressure cooker - if and when I do, I will definitely share the recipe! Also, commercially sold cakes usually have preservatives in them to make them long lasting. How dry it is depends largely on the recipe. If you get a good recipe you can try the sponge cake at home, but you may not be able to keep it for many days as it may spoil. Did you try my butter cake recipe? I think you should! Let me know how it turns out!

    ReplyDelete
  15. very tuff high resolution picture good for technology minds.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hey Shireen,
    I wanna thank you for this amazing recipe. I have always been a vegetarian but my husband's family LOVES mutton. They have been cooking their traditional recipe all these years (which is great..irresistable)..
    I love to cook, wanted to make mutton for my husband andhis dad (who are so passionate about mutton) and i thought i ll try this Nihari reipe of your (with a little twist from my side ...though)
    It came out really really well... They LOVED IT...
    Thanks Shireen!

    Just wanna add a little to the recipe, the ghee is very important for the taste of nihari.. I cooked nihari and then just before serving added another short of hot ghee to the curry and cooked it over simmer for 10 mins...it made the mutton silk smooth..

    ReplyDelete
  17. @ Richa Sharma: Thanks so much for your lovely feedback! I am so happy to know that your inlaws enjoyed it so much :) Thanks for your tip, I will update my post with it :)

    ReplyDelete

I'd love to hear what you have to say about this post!

If you are unable to post a comment, please write to me at ruchikrandhap@gmail.com

Last but not the least, my name is Shireen & not Ruchik :-)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Nalli Nihari - When Hubby Cooks!

'When Hubby Cooks' was a random line I used for one of the first recipes I posted that my husband Roshan had prepared - now it has almost become a monthly series of recipes that he lovingly creates with his expert hands much to the delight of the mouths he feeds at home (and also the readers who end up trying his recipes). Well, thanks to Roshan for putting his passion to good use - our Sunday meals have become a lot more fun and our dining table is a place for great meal time conversations - all revolving around the dish of the day and cuisines of the world.



Well, although you may have heard of the Nalli Nihari did you know that this dish is the National Dish of Pakistan? Our neighbouring country that is always at logger heads with ours and is in the eye of a storm almost all the time is also a place where great food and great music comes from. Beautiful women too :-) Just recently we were introduced a little more to their food culture through an article in BBC Good Food magazine's September edition and that made us explore some more of Pakistan's food heritage via the internet. Being primarily a muslim country, Pakistan is famous for their delectable meat dishes especially mutton - which also happens to be our favourite (mine at least) and I am always up for a new experiment with this meat. Mutton is often synonymous with goat meat in India as that's what is available most times at our local butchers. So since the mister had picked up some extra portion of nalli (marrow bones) on his last visit, he began to search for a good recipe to put it to use.

Apparently Nihari was eaten early in the morning during the Mughal era and was a breakfast dish. The word Nihari is derived from the term 'Nihar' which means 'morning after sunrise'. Nihari was often cooked overnight or sometimes even buried underground while it cooked so the resultant dish would have very tender morsels of meat. Nihari was prepared with either beef or mutton although the leg of lamb is more popularly served today.


When Roshan started preparing the dish without using the pressure cooker I was rather tensed. Would we get our afternoon meal on time? I asked him, knowing that here in India the red meat available takes forever to cook without at least the partial use of a pressure cooker. But surprisingly the whole dish - from start to finish - was done under 50 mins or so and was devoured in less than 5 mins. A man who does not like too much of garam masala (blend of spices) in his food was actually making some from scratch - when I saw this, I rolled my eyes and made a quick exit out of the kitchen. You see, we are opposites in our nature and while I totally adore the aroma of fresh garam masala he detests it. Anyway, I waited for the final dish to make its appearance. It quickly got plated and a few hurried clicks later made it to the dining table. The combination of Nalli Nihari with piping hot plain parathas (we buy the ready to fry variety from Al-Kabeer) was out of the world. I wish we had some home made kuboos or a more traditional accompaniment to go with it. As each of us took bites of the paratha dipped in this luxurious curry, we were quickly transported into a different level of gastronomic bliss - nirvana, if you please. Succulent pieces of meat drenched in an aromatic spice rich gravy - a delicacy waiting to be experienced, enjoyed and loved.

The most mind blowing part was the subtlety of the garam masala - not overpowering in any way, yet bold enough to make its presence felt and lend that unique taste and aroma to the meat and make Nalli Nihari what it is.


Verdict: This whole dish was so melt-in-the-mouth and finger licking good that we didn't need any side dish or accompaniment to the meal. I am also sure that we may have even over eaten if we didn't run out of parathas that day. By the way, this dish tastes just as fabulous with simple steamed rice. If you wish you can use ready made Nihari masala powder available in stores. However, I strongly believe that a freshly made blend will lend so much more aroma and flavour to your dish. So go right ahead and make it and tell us how you liked it!

(And please don't ask me if you can make this with chicken - it would be in my opinion, sacrilege!)

Nalli Nihari
Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time 45mins (approx - depends on the quality/tenderness of meat) | Serves 3-4

Ingredients -
  • 1 kg lamb/goat meat leg pieces (Nalli) 
  • 3 tbsp pure ghee
  • 2 medium sized onions
  • 2 cups lamb stock
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp lime/lemon juice
  • 1 inch ginger cut into thin strips (for garnishing)
  • 2 tbsp coriander leaves chopped (for garnishing)
  • salt to taste
To make the Nihari Masala powder:
  • 3 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1 1/2tsp fennel seed (saunf)
  • 3 long dried red chilies (laal mirch)
  • 8 black peppercorns (kali mirch)
  • 3 green cardamoms (elaichi)
  • 1 black cardamom (badi elaichi)
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg powder (jhaiphal)
  • 1/2 tsp dry ginger powder (sunth)
  • 1/2 bay leaf (or a small one) (tej patta)
  • 1 blade of mace (javitri)
  • 4 cloves (laung)
  • 1/2 inch stick of cinnamon or cassia bark (dalchini)
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds (khus khus)
  • 1 tsp roasted bengal gram (chana dal)
Method -
1. Dry roast all the each of the ingredients for the Nihari Masala powder and grind it to a fine powder.
2. In a large heavy bottomed pan heat the ghee and fry the onions till they are well browned. Remove and keep aside till required.
3. To the same ghee, add the lamb and fry along with half of the nihari masala power till the meat becomes nice and brown. Add half the fried onions, salt to taste and 4 cups of water and cook till the meat is tender (should take about 45 minutes).  
4. Add the lamb stock, remaining nihari masala and fried onions.
5. Make a thick paste of wheat flour with 5 tablespoon of water (make sure there are no lumps) and add this to the lamb and continue to simmer till the gravy thickens.
6. Sprinkle lemon juice and garnish with ginger strips and coriander leaves and serve hot with plain parathas (made of maida) or Kerala Parota/Plain Rice/Pulao/Bread

18 comments:

  1. Looks delicious...Was the lamb stock made at home or bought?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Swapna, you can make the stock by using stock cubes and water or make the stock at home by boiling lamb bone pieces

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nalli Nihari looks delicious and very tempting!!
    Nice and inviting clicks..

    Divya's Culinary Journey

    ReplyDelete
  4. bookmarked. this really looks perfect and my family would devour it in no time. thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hello Shireen! Firt time visitor to your space, and loving it! Love the versatality actually! :) Hope we stay in touch!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks so much Divya, Priya, Sayantani & Kajal Pavan & Oreo!! I hope we stay in touch too! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. That looks absolutely yummylicious. Shame I am on a self-imposed diet. Food porn like this keeps me going :-).
    Zany

    ReplyDelete
  8. hi shireen,

    can ur blog get better than this.this is my best favorite food from pakistani resturants in dubai, its simply awesome. in the first place i never expected to find it in ur blog.dont knw how many number of times i convinced my folks to try this one at home. will try ur version as well. mostly we bring the ready made powder mixture from shaan for nihari. anywys thnks a lots for the post on nihari

    love alwys, savi

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Savi! Thanks so much for the lovely compliment! So glad to know that the Nihari is your favourite too..yes I hope your folks try and enjoy it too. Not sure if my version is what you've enjoyed in Dubai, but I do hope the masala blend tastes better as it is home made :-) Will await your feedback! Love, Shireen

    ReplyDelete
  10. I love the idea of when hubby cooks and a monthly feature on your blog is a great idea. Hubs cook every weekend but his repertoire is only good for breakfast haha.

    We use goat meat too and we have a similar stew dish but the spices are quite different.
    Thanks and happy weekend.

    Malou

    ReplyDelete
  11. This looks super delicious and awesome clicks! glad to follow you. do visit my space in your free time
    http://www.indianhealthyrecipes.com/

    ReplyDelete
  12. dear shireen wonderful recipe i tried twise. Just mouthwantering but i used readymade masala shaan pakistani product i goted in realiance fresh. On packet little different steps of recipe. I followed ur recipe step ( most realiable ) and it turn just great. Thank a lot. He dear do u know buist cake recipe in pressure cooker? Why outside cake so sponge it is not dry when we eat them than the home cake. Pls reply with love sheetal

    ReplyDelete
  13. hi shireen, Nice recipe i tried twice. Just wonderful, but i used ready-made Shaan Masala ( Pakistani product) i gated from Reliance Fresh. On that pack recipe is different i follow your recipe (most reliable always) Thanks a lot for perfection. Do you know biscuit chocolate cake in pressure cooker recipe. pls share. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thanks a lot Sheetal! So glad to know that you tried this recipe twice! Regarding your query - no I haven't tried a cake in a pressure cooker - if and when I do, I will definitely share the recipe! Also, commercially sold cakes usually have preservatives in them to make them long lasting. How dry it is depends largely on the recipe. If you get a good recipe you can try the sponge cake at home, but you may not be able to keep it for many days as it may spoil. Did you try my butter cake recipe? I think you should! Let me know how it turns out!

    ReplyDelete
  15. very tuff high resolution picture good for technology minds.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hey Shireen,
    I wanna thank you for this amazing recipe. I have always been a vegetarian but my husband's family LOVES mutton. They have been cooking their traditional recipe all these years (which is great..irresistable)..
    I love to cook, wanted to make mutton for my husband andhis dad (who are so passionate about mutton) and i thought i ll try this Nihari reipe of your (with a little twist from my side ...though)
    It came out really really well... They LOVED IT...
    Thanks Shireen!

    Just wanna add a little to the recipe, the ghee is very important for the taste of nihari.. I cooked nihari and then just before serving added another short of hot ghee to the curry and cooked it over simmer for 10 mins...it made the mutton silk smooth..

    ReplyDelete
  17. @ Richa Sharma: Thanks so much for your lovely feedback! I am so happy to know that your inlaws enjoyed it so much :) Thanks for your tip, I will update my post with it :)

    ReplyDelete

I'd love to hear what you have to say about this post!

If you are unable to post a comment, please write to me at ruchikrandhap@gmail.com

Last but not the least, my name is Shireen & not Ruchik :-)