Nihari (Indian Beef Stew)
September 30th, 2012 25 Comments

Nihari (Indian Beef Stew)

Nihari (Indian Beef Stew)
Nihari (Indian Beef Stew) pictures (2 of 4)

Fall is the season for hearty stews so I invited my friend Reem at Simply Reem back for a fabulous beef stew recipe. Nihari is a beef stew popular in the northern region of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Nothing tastes better than aromatic and spice-laden beef stew where the meat is so tender it falls off the bone. If you love spices in your cooking, hop over to Simply Reem for more delicious recipes. You can also check out her Indian chicken curry recipe.

Thank you Bee, for giving me an opportunity once again to share a recipe on your wonderful blog. I know you liked this Nihari, or beef shank stew and hopefully the readers on Rasa Malaysia will like it too.

The best way to celebrate and welcome Fall/Winter is with a bowl of hot slow cooked beef stew, comforting and assuring in the chilly evenings or a fleeting sun-kissed fall afternoon. Although in the current fast-paced lifestyle, slow cooking is not something we look forward to, but fall is the season to enjoy the pleasure of warmth and fill the home with the aromas of wonderful spices.

Today I am sharing with you all a very delicious and traditional slow cooked Beef Shank Stew, also known as Nihari. Traditionally this beef stew is cooked slowly over night and eaten as breakfast in early chilly mornings but you can enjoy it over lunch or dinner. This is a spicy stew with wonderful flavors and aromas of different spices, which give the much needed warmth in cold season.


The best part about Nihari is that it is not at all difficult to prepare and makes a perfect cook-ahead item as the flavors develop with time. You may also choose to make it with lamb, chicken or even other cut of beef; just adjust the cooking time according to your preference.

Try this Nihari recipe and enjoy fall (and soon winter) with a healthy and warming stew on your dinner table.

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25 comments... read them below or add one

  1. yuefung says:

    Bee, what if I use the regular Masala, would that be different?

    • You can use regular Nihari Masala from brands like Shan etc. Every packaged spice mix has different flavor due to the difference in spices used so the taste may differ. Also I won’t recommended using chili powder if using packaged masala, as it is included in it most of the time.

  2. Very delicious looking stew, and perfect for the season! I am loving those mouthwatering pictures, very tempting!

  3. Zee says:

    The recipes on your blog are so versatile.. Love it!

  4. Thank you for posting, this looks so good! The cooler weather of fall and winter make this a great thing to make! Must try! You post wonderful recipes!

  5. Thank you BeeYinn Low, it is an honor and absolute pleasure to be able to share this on Rasa Malaysia… Thanks you!!

  6. Nala says:

    Im very interested in trying this stew. Its interesting that it is usually eaten for breakfast, after being slow cooked during the night. I think I will try this method, sounds delicious.

  7. Hi Bee! Really excited to see Reem’s beef stew here. She takes amazing photography and it was fun seeing her feature on your site! Her beef stew looks so comforting and it looks and sounds like a wonderful flavor! Have a great week!

  8. Jessica says:

    From the first look at this, I thought it was “oxtails” for the meat. Either way, this looks quite delicious.

  9. Julia | says:

    I love Indian cuisine. This stew looks very appetizing on your photos.

  10. Great recipe, and Reem’s photos are stunning as always!

  11. Great recipe! I love Rheem’s stuff, and this recipe is among her best! Great guest post – thanks.

  12. Rosanna says:

    This looks amazing! I was wondering what size pieces do you cut the meat into if using boneless beef instead of beef shanks? Thanks!

  13. Agnes Ma says:

    Do I cut the shank before or after cooking. What size do I cut the meat? tks.

    • Get the shank cut from the butcher if you can in big chunks, like about 2/12 -3 inch size or even bigger. You can use smaller size or boneless if you like but larger piece of meat works well for this stew.

  14. Brittany says:

    Hi Reem!

    Thanks so much for posting! I’ve been researching online for the best nihari recipe and yours definitely looks like it’s the easiest to follow. One thing that attracts me to nihari is the slow cooking which allows for access to the luscious bone marrow. All the other recipes I saw instructed to simmer for five to eight hours. Seeing as yours only calls for three, I’m wondering if that’s enough time to allow for marrow access?

    Thanks for your help!

  15. netty says:

    I reckon this would be fantastic using oxtail.

  16. Zeenath A. Rahim says:

    Hi. Love your recipe. However you forgot to mention how much oil you use in this recipe? I think it needs quite a bit. Please include the amount in your ingredient list.
    Thanks Zeenath

  17. hebintn says:

    I made this with pork instead of beef. It worked fine, but beef would be better. I did add a teaspoon of Better Than Boullion beef base. I cut the red pepper in half and it was about right for me, but my wife would say it should be cut to 1/4 or less. Nihari in our favorite place in Milwaukee, Tandoori, downtown, was delicious but way to hot for our American tastes. I didn’t have cinnamon sticks so I used powdered cinnamon guessing at the amount. A taste test indicated that it needed more of the masala so I put in an additional teaspoon. I also substituted finely diced fresh garlic and ginger for the paste, since I didn’t have it on hand. Overall, an excellent recipe.

  18. Chris says:

    Hi Bee, can you use a make nihari with half an amount of beef and half lamb?

  19. Jane says:

    Hello Bee,
    We have just tried the Nihari recipe and although it is delicious it does not look at all like your picture as ours had no red in it. Does this mean that there is an error in the recipe? We followed it exactly. What I am thinking is that maybe that we should have used Chile paste instead of chile powder, and/or maybe that it should be 1 tablespoon instead of 1 teaspoon?

    • AsianCookinMama says:

      Hi Jane. Reem’s Nihari is really very well photographed – as a Nihari connoisseur and cook, I can tell you that it looks perfect! I have been cooking Nihari and other Indian curries for years and although many recipes call for a lot of chili powder (cayenne NOT chili powder blend), I cook for milder palates, so I tend to cutdown the quantity of cayenne pepper by a lot. In order to achieve the same beautiful reddish-brown curry I will add paprika. Usually 1/2 – 1 tsp will do, but I will add more if needed.

    • Rose says:

      Try using kashmiri red chili powder. Its gives color without giving too much heat..

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