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Nihari is a an ultimate meaty curry (made from beef bong/beef shanks). It is a very traditional dish of Pakistan. It is served on special occasions like Pakistani weddings, Eid celebrations etc. Eat this awesome dish with sprinkles of fresh lemon juice, coriander leaves (cilantro), and fine julienne slices of fresh ginger. Also it is best to eat nihari with hot breads like tandoori naan or chaptis, and also don't forget yogurt sauce (raita) and/or chutney!

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  • 2 pounds beef shank, traditionally Pakistani beef bong, 1 kilogram
  • 1 pound beef bone marrow, 1/2 kilogram
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • 4 to 5 cups water
  • 5 to 6 tablespoons dry ginger powder
  • 3 black cardamom
  • 3 teaspoons aniseed
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole spice powder
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, julienne cut
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 to 4 fresh green chilis, chopped finely, if desired
  • 1 hand full fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice, more if desired
  • 1 1/2 cups cooking oil


Servings 3
Preparation time 20mins
Cooking time 315mins


Step 1

Heat oil in a large cooking pot, and fry the onion till golden brown.

Add ginger-garlic paste (any Indo-Pakistani stores will have this ready made paste). Add red chili, turmeric, salt, and coriander powder.
Add yogurt and mix well, you will have gravy consistency.

Add meat. beef shanks (beef bong) should be cut into very large pieces, size of your palm, so meat doesn't take too long to cook. Add bone marrow (you can buy bong meat and bone marrow at any Pakistani store that sells fresh meat products).

Combine aniseed, black cardamom, and dry ginger in a muslin cloth (if you don't have muslin cloth, you can use any thin clean cotton cloth like cheesecloth, size of a large handkerchief, but use it only for cooking!), add then place it in the pot.

Cover the pot with lid, and cook on low heat.

When the meat is tender, take out the muslin cloth.

Spoon out the oil from the gravy surface, and reserve it in a bowl.

In a saucepan, add a little water (about 1/4 cup), mix the flour in it well, then add it to the gravy, and cook for 5 minutes.Add 1/2 teaspoon whole spice powder, and let it simmer on low-medium heat for 15 minutes. Pour the reserved oil back in the gravy, and turn off the heat (if the fat/oil seem too much on the top of the gravy, skim it off).

Add chopped green chili, finely chopped coriander (cilantro, fresh julienne ginger, and some fresh lemon or lime juice when serving the nihari in a large serving dish.

Serve hot with tandoori naan or chapati (you can get these awesome traditional breads from Indo-Pakistani stores, some come fresh or frozen, just heat them up in the microwave or conventional oven). I hope you will love this dish as my family and I do!


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