Easy & Delicious Beef Nalli Nihari Pakistani Food Recipe

Ready for a spicy flour-based beef stew? I know the description of the Pakistani beef nihari recipe is really unique and difficult to imagine. But I can tell you this will be best the curried beef stew you ever had. This Easy & Delicious Beef Nalli Nihari Pakistani Food Recipe is a tribute to my love of Karachi Nihari.

Nihari comes from the Urdu word Niharwhich means morning. In those times Nawabs would have Nihari in breakfast. There is no particular word for nihari in English but it is basically a smooth flour-based spicy beef stew.

After the Partition of India and Pakistan, the dish got extremely popular in Pakistan, especially in Karachi. Karachi foodies love spicy food and Karachi Nihari is all about spices.

Traditionally, Nihari was cooked overnight for at least 5-6 hours and served in the morning. Today, when people move to healthier and easier options for breakfast, Nihari is eaten more frequently as the main course than breakfast.Easy & Delicious Beef Nalli Nihari Pakistani Food Recipe

Which Is The Best Meat For Nihari Recipe?

Nihari is best made with beef shin or shank and bone marrow. ‘Nalli’ is an Urdu word that means bone marrow. So a beef or lamb nihari is cooked with beef or lamb bone marrow. Bone marrow and bones are key to the flavor of nihari while tough beef shank meat is perfect for long hours of cooking.

What Is The Beef Nalli Nahari Recipe?

After nihari is cooked, bone marrow is taken out of nihari and added to the serving bowl. Like, you serve nihari in a bowl, then add soft fatty extract of bone marrow (bone is discarded) on top, and finally, you add garnish and tempering. This is called Nalli nihari. So Nihari with Nalli (bone marrow extracts) is Nalli Nihari. Similarly, the cooked brain is also served over the Nihari, it is called Maghaz nihari. ‘Maghaz’ means brain in Urdu.

With innovations in cooking and growing consumption of chicken. People also make quick and easy Chicken Nihari at home.

Let’s Share The Tips Of Beef Nihari:

Nihari masala tips:

You can always substitute whole spice for grounded spice and grounded spice for whole and so adjust the recipe to available pantry supplies. Like, if you don’t have whole Kashmiri chili, you can also use ground Kashmiri chili. Always remember whole spices ( when grounded) are stronger in flavor than store brought ground spices. Just like freshly crushed pepper is strong than store-bought ground black pepper.

Nihari Tips:

Lastly, try to make Beef Nihari 4-6 hours ahead and let it sit for several hours for enhanced flavors. People usually prepare it a day ahead and store it in the fridge until the next day.Easy & Delicious Beef Nalli Nihari Pakistani Food Recipe

How To Make Easy & Delicious Beef Nalli Nihari Pakistani Food Recipe Step By Step Instructions:


Whole Spices:Easy & Delicious Beef Nalli Nihari Pakistani Food Recipe

  • Cumin seeds 2 tbsp
  • Coriander seeds 1 & 1/2 tbsp
  • Fennel seeds 2 tbsp
  • Cinnamon stick 1 inch
  • Black cardamom 1 piece
  • Cloves 5 to 6

Powdered Spices:

  • Kashmiri chili powder 1 tbsp
  • Red chili powder 1 tbsp
  • Turmeric powder 1/2 tbsp
  • Salt to Taste

Beef Nihari Ingredients:

  • beef, plus 2 large bones, preferable bones with bone marrow 500 grams
  • Bones and bones marrow 5oo grams
  • Oil 1/3 cup

Nihari Spices:

  • Finely sliced onion 1 large
  • Nihari Masala 3 to 5 tbsp
  • Ginger and garlic paste 3 tbsp
  • Green chili paste 1 tbsp

Other ingredients For Nihari:

  • Plain yogurt, whipped 1/2 cup
  • Wheat flour or all-purpose flour for thicker 1/2 cup
  • Water as needed in it
  • 4 to 6 cups of water to cook

For Garnishing:

  • Ginger cut into the julienne 2 inch
  • Lemon wedges 4 to 5 lemon
  • Chopped green chilies 4 large
  • Coriander leaves

Cooking Procedure:

For Nihari Masala:

  1. Take whole spices in a pan and dry roast for a minute on medium heat.
  2. Add powdered spices, and roast another for 2-3 seconds. Remove from heat and transfer to a food processor. Grind into a fine powder.
  3. Sieve the spice mix through a fine strainer. Grind the remains left in the strainer once again. Sieve once more and discard the remains.
  4. You’ll need only 2.5 tablespoons of this spice mix for the recipe below.Easy & Delicious Beef Nalli Nihari Pakistani Food Recipe

Let’s Make the Nihari Recipe:

  1. In a large pot and fry sliced onions on low until lightly golden.
  2. Add beef and bones. Fry beef on medium-high heat for 2-3 until color changes and it is slightly golden. Now add all the ingredients to the spice list and stir further for 1 minute.
  3. Now, add 4 cups of water that is enough to cover the beef completely. Bring it to boil then reduce heat to slow and cook for 4 hours or overnight (on very low heat). Make sure the lid is tightly closed. (If using instant pot or pressure cooker, cook time will be 45 minutes.)
  4. Once the meat is tender, remove the bones. Carefully extract the bone marrow from hot bones and aside in a bowl. (if using bones with marrow)
  5. Make flour slurry by mixing flour with cold water until smooth. Add flour slurry and whipped yogurt to the beef stew.
  6. Adjust water as needed and bring it to a boil. Keep stirring so the flour slurry doesn’t form lumps. Once the nihari starts boiling. Reduce heat and let it simmer slowly for 15 minutes until a thick layer of oil rises naturally.
  7. Now add extracted bone marrow to nihari (if using) and serve hot Nihari with garnish and lemon wedges. Fill extra garnish in a plate and serve along nihari.

Notes About The Nihari Recipe:

Beef Cut:

The right beef cut is key to perfect nihari. Use boneless beef from beef shank and bones with bone marrow. Other options are tough stewing beef like chuck and round cuts. Bones are necessary for nihari so make sure you add some bone with or without bone marrow.


If you wish to make nihari with lamb or mutton. Use lamb leg cuts and bones with bone marrow. The method remains the same, cooking time will reduce to 1hour and 20 minutes or less. (Cooking time in the instant pot or pressure cooker is 25 minutes.)

For Gluten-free or Keto Nihari:

Substitute wheat flour with almond flourEasy & Delicious Beef Nalli Nihari Pakistani Food Recipe

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