Nihari is one of the most relished and delightful dish of Old Delhi.
The word “Nihari” comes from the Arabic work “Nahar” meaning morning. Historically, it is said that the dish was originally consumed by Nawabs in the Mughal Empire after their morning prayers. Its origin dates back to 17th to 18th century.
Precisely, it is a stew-based dish prepared by slow cooking meat with bone marrow.
Well, to let you know, Am eating Nihari since my childhood but while writing this blog, I get to know of its origin. 😀
Most of you must be knowing the recipe well, here is my attempt to it. It’s mostly made with red meat but as we prefer to eat chicken more, I am making it with the same.
Let’s get started 🙂
You can always use readymade of any good brand but I like it homemade.
Peppercorns – 1 tsp
Black cardamom- 1 piece
Green cardamom- 4 to 5
Cinnamon- 2 inch piece
Cloves- 10 to 15 pieces
Bay leaves- 4 to 5 leaves
Mace- 2 pieces
Dry pomegranate seeds- 1 tsp
Nutmeg- 1/4th tsp
Fennel seeds- 1 tbsp
Coriander seeds- 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
Ginger powder- 1 tbsp
Red chilly powder- 1 tbsp
Kashmiri red chilly powder or paprika powder – 1 tbsp
Coriander powder- 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder- 1 tsp
Salt- 1 tbsp or as per your taste
1. Leaving aside all the powdered spices, grind all the other ingredients into a fine powder.
2. Add all the powdered spices and mix well. This masala can be stored in an air-tight container for a long time.
** Above quantity of ingredients will yield you much more than required for the recipe. You an always store it for your next use.
Chicken- 1 kg
Onion- 2 large-sized, finely sliced
Tomato- 2 large-sized, roughly sliced
Lemon juice- 1 to 2 tbsp or as required
Turmeric powder- 1/4th tsp
Red chilly powder- 1/2 tsp
Dry roasted Cumin seed powder- 1 tbsp
Salt- 1 tsp or you can always adjust as per your taste
Ginger garlic paste- 2 tbsp
Wheat flour- 2 tbsp
Ginger julienne cut- 1 tbsp
Green chillies – 3 to 4 finely cut
Coriander leaves- a small bunch
Cooking oil- 1 cup (Nihari requires a bit more oil)
1. Wash the chicken and keep it dipped in water and salt (1/2 tsp) for about 10 to 15 minutes.
2. In a pressure cooker, add the Sliced onions, ginger garlic paste, sliced tomatoes, salt, Turmeric powder, roasted Cumin seeds powder, red chilly powder, Nihari Masala powder (half of the masala you have prepared), lemon juice and oil.
2. Mix everything well and add about 100 ml of water. Pressure cook till 2 to 3 whistles or until the onion and tomato blend well together on a high flame.
3. Now add the chicken, mix well and again pressure cook for 2 whistles. If you find the need of adding little more water, if it has been dried up, do add about half a cup more and then pressure cook. Flame should be high.
4. Open the lid of the cooker and on a high flame continue to mix and stir well.
5. Add ginger juliennes, green chilly and Coriander leaves.
6. Add 1 to 2 tsp Nihari Masala and Mix well (taste your gravy, if it’s already spicy then avoid adding more). After 2 minutes, add wheat flour and stir everything well to avoid lumps.
7. The water released by the chicken should be completely dried up and oil should come to the surface. The chicken should be tender enough. Keep stirring otherwise the Masala/gravy will burn. The chicken in Nihari is very soft and tender.
8. Lastly, add water according to the consistency you prefer. It’s neither very thick nor runny. Around 250 to 300 ml water would be enough. The gravy thickens further when kept for a while. Keeping the flame slow now, cover and cook for another 8 to 10 minutes.
** If you find the gravy runny, add more wheat flour and if thick, add water.
9. Your Nihari is ready, garnish with ginger, Coriander, lemon and green chillies.
***You can add a tempering of butter at the time of serving the dish as it enhances its flavor more.