Mutton Nihari
Mutton Nihari
5 from 60 votes
This easy nihari recipe uses homemade nihari masala to recreate that authentic taste of this spicy stew recipe. Succulent pieces of meat swimming in a thickened spiced soup. Each bite is loaded with layers of flavour.
Mutton Nihari

Mutton Nihari. Ah, the very name takes me back to the bustling streets of Old Delhi, where this dish was popularized during the Mughal period. Nihari, derived from the Arabic word ‘Nihar’, means ‘morning’, and rightly so, it was traditionally eaten as a breakfast dish by Nawabs and labourers alike, proving its wide appeal.

This dish, originally crafted to be eaten after morning prayers, has an exquisite blend of spices that are both aromatic and deeply flavourful. It’s fascinating how this dish bridges the gap between the royal courts and the common streets.

Now, you might wonder, how hard is it to make Mutton Nihari? Truth be told, it does require a bit of patience and meticulousness. But trust me, the result is totally worth every second of the effort.

There’s no single way to make Mutton Nihari, and while the essence remains the same, you can find countless variations across different regions. From the spicy kick of Karachi’s variant to the milder version in Dhaka, each brings its own unique twist to the table.

One of the distinguishing elements of this dish is its unique Nihari Masala, which combines ingredients like fennel seeds, cumin, coriander seeds, and more. These spices not only provide an unforgettable aroma but also lend a depth of flavour that’s unparalleled.

If you’ve never tried Mutton Nihari before, let me tell you, you’re in for a real treat.

Imagine soft, succulent mutton pieces that have absorbed all the goodness of the masala, waiting to be scooped up by a piece of fresh naan or dipped into crispy parathas. And those who’ve savoured this dish before? Well, you know the magic I’m talking about.

For those looking to experiment, there are multiple variations to the classic Mutton Nihari. Some love to add a touch of yoghurt for tanginess, while others swear by a hint of rose water. Whatever your preference, one thing’s for sure – a bowl of Mutton Nihari is comfort food at its best.

Lastly, while it might be a dish rooted in tradition and history, Mutton Nihari fits perfectly into our modern-day culinary landscape, proving that some classics never go out of style. So, whether you’re a seasoned chef or a newbie, dive into the world of Nihari and let its flavours take over your senses.

What Ingredients to Use & Why

Before we plunge into the culinary symphony that is Mutton Nihari, let’s talk about the role each ingredient plays.

You see, every element in this recipe has been chosen not just for its individual flair but also for its collective harmony in this gastronomic masterpiece.

The ingredients sing together in a way that elevates the dish to an experience, rather than just another meal. Now, let’s get to know each of them more intimately.

Lamb: The star of the show, lamb brings in the robust, meaty flavours that are quintessential to Mutton Nihari. Choose a good quality cut to ensure that the meat absorbs all the lovely spices and turns tender during slow cooking. An alternative? Beef is commonly used in various versions of Nihari.

Onion: Ah, the humble onion, a base in many a culinary creation. It provides a natural sweetness and complexity when sautéed, serving as the foundation for our dish. Shallots could work as a subtle alternative, though they’ll bring in their unique flavour profile.

Oil: Oil is the medium that brings all these flavours together. A neutral oil works best so as not to overpower the delicate balance of spices. Coconut or even ghee could be used for different aromatic outcomes.

Ginger and Garlic Paste: The dynamic duo in many Indian dishes, ginger and garlic offer pungency and warmth. They kick-start the layering of flavours. You could opt for fresh ginger and garlic if you don’t have the paste, but let’s not skip them, shall we?

Chilli, Turmeric, and Salt: These are your basic seasonings but are by no means basic in taste. They add colour, heat, and seasoning, creating a backdrop against which the more exotic spices can shine. Cayenne could substitute for regular chilli powder for an extra kick.

Wheat Flour: Slightly unconventional but essential, wheat flour acts as a thickening agent, providing the dish with its characteristic hearty consistency. Cornstarch could be an alternative, but be cautious; it’s more potent as a thickener.

Nihari Masala: A grand orchestra of fennel seeds, cumin, coriander seeds, peppercorn, cinnamon, and cardamoms. This unique blend provides the complex flavour profile Nihari is renowned for. If you can’t find some of these spices, garam masala is a lazy yet effective alternative.

Spices: These are your finishing artists. Freshly chopped, they add bursts of flavour and vibrant pops of colour as a garnish. Parsley could stand in for coriander, and red chillies for green, but why mess with perfection?

And there we have it! Each of these ingredients comes together to form the culinary masterpiece that is Mutton Nihari.

Understanding the purpose behind each ingredient not only makes you appreciate the dish but also opens the door to your own kitchen experiments. But remember, while experimentation is good, the original is a classic for a reason. Happy cooking!

Unlocking the Secrets of Nihari Masala

Nihari Masala, the soul of Mutton Nihari! You might think it’s just a bunch of spices thrown together, but oh, you’d be so wrong.

This aromatic blend of spices is what takes the dish from “yum” to “oh my heavens, what is this culinary magic?” Yes, the selection and proportion of spices in Nihari Masala are of utmost importance. After all, it’s what gives Mutton Nihari its unique identity.

Fennel seeds or “Saunf” offer anise-like sweetness that’s balanced out by the earthy notes of cumin seeds, also known as “Jeera.” These two spices are the base upon which the rest of the Nihari Masala is built.

Then you have peppercorns for that subtle kick, not overwhelming, but just enough to let you know they’re there.

Coriander seeds, ah, my personal favourite! They lend a lemony, citrusy tang to the mix. Cinnamon or “Dalchini,” adds that little hint of sweet spice that makes you go “Hmm, what’s that?” The combination of black and green cardamoms adds a floral note that elevates the entire masala.

Don’t even get me started on cloves and bay leaves! Their pungent and aromatic properties are like the cherry on top of this spice cake.

And if you can’t find one of these spices? Substituting with pre-made garam masala is like reading the summary instead of the entire novel. You get the gist, but you miss out on the nuances.

Why Slow-Cooking is Essential for Mutton Nihari

Let’s get one thing straight: good things take time, and Mutton Nihari is no exception. Slow cooking is not just a technique; it’s a philosophy that makes Mutton Nihari the culinary marvel that it is.

There’s something about the slow infusion of flavours and the tenderization of the meat that makes you appreciate every single bite.

Lamb is a meat that comes alive when cooked slowly. The collagen-rich cuts transform into melt-in-your-mouth goodness, the type that leaves a lasting impression.

If you’re in a hurry, you could use a pressure cooker, but you’ll be sacrificing a lot. It’s like watching a movie on fast-forward. Sure, you’ll get to the end, but will you enjoy it? Highly unlikely.

The slow-cooking process allows the spices, especially the Nihari Masala, to merge beautifully with the meat. It’s akin to a well-orchestrated symphony where each ingredient gets its moment in the spotlight while contributing to the collective masterpiece.

When you slow cook, the spices have time to infuse into the meat, creating layers upon layers of flavour. The oil, onion, ginger, and garlic serve as the base, and they, too, benefit from slow cooking.

If you’re the experimental type and think of tossing in a slow cooker, go right ahead. But the traditional method involves cooking it in a heavy-bottomed pot, preferably overnight. The process can’t be rushed, and that’s not a bug; it’s a feature.

Hope you find these articles insightful and packed with the kind of detail you’re looking for! Looking forward to writing more. Would you like to proceed with the next set of articles?

The Importance of Meat Quality in Mutton Nihari

Ah, let’s get this straight, shall we? The quality of lamb in Mutton Nihari isn’t something to skimp on. Trust me, the cut and quality of meat can make or break this dish.

I like to go with a mix of bone-in and boneless cuts. Why? Well, bone-in cuts offer a deep richness to the broth, while boneless cuts offer meaty bites that soak up all the luscious spices.

Now, some might say, “Can I use beef instead?” Sure, go ahead, but know this: each type of meat offers its unique taste and texture. Beef is denser, while lamb is more tender and has a distinct flavour profile that melds well with the spices of Nihari.

Choosing high-quality, fresh lamb ensures you don’t end up with a dish that has a gamey smell. Fresh meat absorbs the spices better, cooks evenly, and delivers a final product that makes you go “Ah, so this is what all the fuss was about!”

Wheat Flour, the Unsung Hero of Mutton Nihari

Yes, you heard that right, wheat flour isn’t just for baking cookies or making rotis; it’s the unsung hero in our beloved Mutton Nihari.

You see, it acts as a thickening agent, adding that desired velvety consistency to the dish. Now, if you’re scratching your head wondering why flour in a meat dish, let me enlighten you.

In the culinary landscape, thickness often equates to richness. When you dig into a bowl of Nihari, that luxuriously thick gravy is what ties everything together.

It’s the canvas upon which the meat and spices dance. Wheat flour is gently cooked with the meat and spices, giving the dish its characteristic body without altering the taste.

“But what if I don’t have wheat flour?” you might ask. Cornstarch is a viable alternative, but tread cautiously; it has twice the thickening power of wheat flour and can turn your Nihari into goo if you’re not careful.

There you have it, two more articles that delve into the intricacies of Mutton Nihari. Each ingredient, each technique, and each choice you make in the kitchen plays a role in creating this gastronomical marvel. Let me know if you’re ready for the next set!

The Art of Layering Flavours in Mutton Nihari

It’s often said that cooking is an art, but when it comes to Mutton Nihari, it feels more like an orchestration where each element plays its role to the fullest.

Sure, there are those bold spices like chilli and turmeric that jump right at you, but then there are the subtle undertones brought by the likes of green cardamom and cloves. It’s this fascinating interplay that defines Mutton Nihari for me.

First off, I start with the onion, ginger, and garlic paste sautéed in oil. This forms the foundational layer of flavour that complements the lamb. The sautéing also releases those essential oils that make spices come alive.

And speaking of spices, the Nihari Masala, oh, that’s a performance in itself. It follows the initial layer and brings depth to the dish with its robust, aromatic personality.

Adding the lamb next isn’t just a random step; it’s crucial. The meat absorbs the spices better when it’s added at this stage, giving each bite a burst of flavour.

And the slow cooking, ah, let’s not forget that. It allows the meat to release its juices into the broth, creating a flavour profile that’s just mesmerizing.

The Beauty of Garnishes in Mutton Nihari

Oh, the unsung heroes of many a dish, garnishes! When it comes to Mutton Nihari, garnishes aren’t just a visual afterthought; they add a whole new layer of texture and flavour. Take coriander leaves, for example.

Fresh, aromatic, and with a hint of citrus, they balance out the rich, deep flavours of the meat and spices. The green also provides a nice colour contrast, making the dish not only delicious but photogenic as well.

Let’s not forget about ginger. Thin slices of fresh ginger are a revelation. They add a kick and freshness that breaks the monotony of a meat-heavy dish. Plus, ginger has this innate ability to bring its own zing while amplifying the flavours around it. Genius, right?

And for those who love a little heat, green chillies are a must. They add an element of surprise and excitement. A bite with a bit of green chilli is like a little flavour explosion that wakes up your taste buds. But remember, these babies are potent, so unless you’re someone who loves the spice, less is more.

Garnishes in Mutton Nihari are like the accessories to a great outfit. They might not be the main event, but they definitely complete the look. So the next time you serve up a bowl of this delectable dish, don’t skimp on the garnish; it’s more than just a pretty face.

The Role of Slow Cooking in Perfecting Mutton Nihari

Patience is a virtue that not everyone has but a skill that’s crucial for making Mutton Nihari shine.

Slow cooking isn’t just a cooking method; it’s a philosophy that allows the dish to marinate in its own brilliance. Trust me, when that lamb has been luxuriating in a bath of rich spices and herbs for hours, it reaches a level of tenderness that makes every bite feel like a culinary hug.

So why slow cooking and not a quick stir-fry? Simple. Slow cooking allows the collagen in the meat to break down, which in turn enriches the broth. It’s like the meat is willingly giving up its essence for the greater good of the dish.

Not to mention, the gradual melding of spices creates layers of flavours so complex they could write novels.

Some might argue that a pressure cooker could do the job faster. While that’s true, let’s remember that shortcuts often bypass the scenic route. There’s a distinct taste that comes only from letting time do its work. So, let’s not rush perfection, shall we?

The Secrets Behind Nihari Masala

If Mutton Nihari were a blockbuster movie, then Nihari Masala would undoubtedly be the director—setting the tone, bringing together various actors (read: ingredients), and ensuring that the end product is nothing short of spectacular.

It’s no ordinary spice mix; it’s a line-up of flavour-packed elements designed to make the meat shine and the broth sing.

Let’s dissect it a bit. Fennel seeds, or saunf, bring a slight sweetness that balances the heat from the peppercorns and chilli.

The cumin seeds, ah, provide a smoky, earthy aroma that’s like a warm embrace for your senses. Coriander seeds add a certain depth and complexity that’s hard to put into words but easy to appreciate when you taste them.

The choice of cardamom is interesting. Green cardamom is floral and fragrant, while black cardamom is bold and smoky.

Together, they create an aromatic blend that permeates the meat and elevates it to celestial levels. And then there’s cinnamon, cloves, and bay leaf; these ingredients don’t merely sit in the background. They’re the supporting cast that elevates the whole production.

Nihari Masala isn’t just a sidekick. It’s the cornerstone that determines whether your Mutton Nihari is just good or “can I have some more, please” amazing.

Exploring the Health Benefits of Mutton in Nihari

Sure, we all love Mutton Nihari for its mouth-watering flavours and succulent meat, but let’s not overlook its nutritional merits.

Mutton is a protein-packed powerhouse, and boy, does it know how to make a grand entrance in this dish. Protein is essential for muscle building and repair, and let me tell you, after a bowl of Mutton Nihari, even my biceps feel happier.

Rich in essential amino acids, mutton adds more than just flavour. These amino acids help in various bodily functions ranging from metabolism to, well, making you feel like you could climb a mountain—or at least a small hill.

Also, let’s not forget that mutton provides iron, a critical component for those red blood cells that love to zoom around your body delivering oxygen.

But what about the fat? Alright, let’s clear the air. Mutton does contain fat, but it’s the good kind, containing omega-3 fatty acids. These are the heart-friendly fats that can help manage cholesterol. So, not only does Mutton Nihari taste like a dream, but it’s also a dish you can feel good about eating.

Why Wheat Flour Makes a Difference in Mutton Nihari

Now, you may wonder why a spoonful of wheat flour is added to Mutton Nihari. I mean, it’s a meat dish, right? Well, my friend, that seemingly insignificant scoop of flour is a game-changer. It serves as a thickening agent that gives the broth its sumptuous, velvety texture.

When wheat flour combines with the broth, something magical happens. It binds to the liquid and enhances the mouthfeel, giving you that rich, luscious consistency that makes you want to savour each bite—or slurp, depending on how you roll.

And let’s not overlook how it works in harmony with the spices, kind of like a conductor ensuring every musician hits the right notes.

You might think of substituting it with cornflour or arrowroot but hold that thought. Wheat flour brings a certain nutty aroma that’s unique and irreplaceable. It’s like the understated character actor who steals the show with a minor but unforgettable role.

Check Out These Other Recipes

You enjoyed my Mutton Nihari recipe, didn’t you? The velvety texture of the mutton and the harmonious symphony of spices must have taken your taste buds on a delectable journey.

Well, I’ve got more for you, trust me! If you find that to be a soul-stirring experience, then my other Indian recipes will not disappoint.

Imagine digging into Lamb Karahi—a dish that celebrates tender chunks of lamb simmered in an iron wok, fragrantly spiced and garnished with fresh cilantro. The aroma alone can make you salivate. It’s almost as if you’re letting a piece of the Indian subcontinent melt in your mouth.

Or maybe you’re hankering for another chicken dish? Chicken Biryani is what you need. This isn’t just rice and chicken; it’s an event!

Every grain of rice is a flavour-packed gem, and the chicken just falls apart in your mouth, succulent and infused with spices. Eating it is like attending a royal feast, except the banquet hall is your dining room.

Craving more mutton? Oh, the Mutton Pulao has your name written all over it! Envision a pot full of aromatic Basmati rice and succulent mutton pieces, every bite offering a new layer of complexity. You’d think you’ve reached the pinnacle of comfort food, but you’re still ascending.

And you can’t talk about Indian cuisine without mentioning curries. Chicken Tikka Masala will have you contemplating whether you should drink the gravy or savour it in modest spoonfuls with naan bread. Your spoon will undoubtedly hover in mid-air as you make this life-altering decision.

To round off your Indian culinary journey, why not delve into something sweet like Rice Kheer? It’s not just pudding; it’s an heirloom of tastes, a delicate concoction of creamy milk, tender grains of rice, and aromatic cardamom. Your sweet tooth will thank you, and so will your soul.

Intrigued? I thought so! Go on, give these recipes a whirl and let me know how you find them. Drop your feedback in the comments section; I always love hearing from you!

Mutton Nihari

Mutton Nihari

by Nabeela Kauser
This easy nihari recipe uses homemade nihari masala to recreate that authentic taste of this spicy stew recipe. Succulent pieces of meat swimming in a thickened spiced soup.
5 from 60 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Pakistani
Servings 6
Calories 677 kcal



  • 1 kg Mutton Or Lamb
  • 1 Onions
  • 100 ml Oil
  • 1 tsp Ginger Paste
  • 1 tsp Garlic Paste
  • 1 tsp Chilli Powder
  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 50 g Wheat Flour
  • 100 ml Water
  • Coriander
  • Ginger
  • 2 Green Chillies

Nihari Masala

  • 1 tbsp Fennel Seeds Saunf
  • 1 tbsp Cumin Seeds Jeera
  • 1 tbsp Coriander Seeds
  • 1 tbsp Peppercorn
  • 1- inch Cinnamon Dalchini
  • 2 Black Cardamom Bari Elaichi
  • 5 Green Cardamoms Elaichi
  • 7 Cloves
  • 2 Bay Leaf


  • In a pan heat up the oil on medium heat until hot
  • Add the ginger paste and garlic paste then sauté for a few minutes on medium heat
  • Add the lamb or mutton and cook until the colour changes
  • While the lamb/mutton is cooking, grind the fennel seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, cinnamon, black cardamom pods, green cardamom pods, cloves and bay leaves until a fine powder is formed
  • Add the nihari masala powder, chilli powder, turmeric powder, and salt then cook the spices for 5 minutes
  • Add the water and cook for a further 2 hours on low heat until the meat is tender
  • In a separate bowl, mix the wheat flour and 100ml of water to form a smooth paste – this flour mixture acts as a thickening agent, if you want to thicken it more then add more flour
  • Add the flour mixture into the pan then cover with a lid and cook for 30 minutes on a low heat
  • In another pan, heat up the olive oil on medium heat until hot
  • Add the sliced onions and fry the sliced onions until browned and caramelised
  • Add the browned onions to the lamb along with the chopped coriander, julienned ginger, and finely diced chillies
  • Serve with homemade naan and enjoy!



Nutritional facts:
The provision of nutritional information is done merely as a courtesy and should not be taken as a guarantee.


Calories: 677kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 30gFat: 56gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 122mgSodium: 548mgPotassium: 521mgFibre: 3gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 125IUVitamin C: 4mgVitamin D: 0.2µgCalcium: 83mgIron: 5mg
Keyword Cooking, Curry, Food, Mutton, Nihari, Pakistani, Ramadan, Recipe, Spicy
Tried this recipe?Mention @CookwithNabeela or tag #CookwithNabeela!

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1 year ago

5 stars
First time making Nihari. Recipe is great so far however my wheat flour doesn’t mix smoothly like yours in the video. Can I use cornflour? Please advise..

1 year ago

5 stars
Thank you for this recipe! Came out delicious 🙂

11 months ago

Is the 807 kcal in one serving?

Vic r
Vic r
5 months ago

5 stars
Great recipe. Simple instructions and so delicious!

I added small doses of water during the cooking process to prevent the spices burning at the bottom of the pot.

A bit more salt and a dash of lemon juice to taste at the end. Thanks a lot for sharing.

This went down a treat at my household.

3 months ago

When do you add the onions

Belinda Skauge
Belinda Skauge
2 months ago

What do you serve besides bread with mutton nihari, as side dishes? Thank you

farzeen hashmi
farzeen hashmi
2 months ago

Made this many times. Love the Indianing English in the the text, so sweet.

Akanksha Antil
Akanksha Antil
1 month ago


Thank you for the recipe. There seems to be an error in the recipe card. For Nihari masala you have mentioned 1tbsp peppercorn and in video you have used 1tsp. Which one is correct? I think my Nihari became too spicy because of that.

24 days ago

make it shorter

24 days ago


24 days ago


11 days ago

Do I use the full quantity of the masala spice mix, seems excessive for the quantity of other ingredients?


Hi, I’m Nabeela and I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family-friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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