Nalli Nihari

Nalli Nihari is a classic lamb delicacy from Pakistani cuisine and is usually served in the morning!

Nalli NihariI got to know about nalli nihari from one of the cook books in my collection. Nalli Nihari is a very popular traditional dish from Pakistan and is also enjoyed in various parts of India. The picture on Nalli Nihari given in the cookbook looked quite tempting and not deceptive at all which I realized only after making it on my own.

It requires a little bit of effort as you need to make the Nihari masala at home which is not readily available in the super markets. But I always love to make things from scratch and it’s totally worth it; so, I wasn’t worried at all.

Nalli NihariNow about this dish – Nalli Nihari is quite different from what I generally have as mutton curry/gravy, but I still liked it a lot. The taste is very strong and hits your mouth immediately. Be little careful while adding the Nihari masala to the dish.

It would be best eaten with roti or naan. Don’t be skeptical about trying it first time, you may find your all-time favorite mutton recipe in it – you never know!

Nalli Nihari

Nalli Nihari
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Pakistani
Serves: 2 servings
For Nihari Masala
  • Cumin seeds – 4 tbsp
  • Fennel seeds – 4 tbsp
  • Whole dried red chilli – 12 to 15 [reduce if you can’t stand too much heat]
  • Cloves – 2 tbsp
  • Green cardamoms – 5
  • Black cardamoms – 3
  • Black peppercorn – 25 to 30 [reduce if you don’t want too spicy]
  • Poppy seeds – 4 to 5 tbsp
  • Bay leaves – 2
  • Mace – 1 blade
  • Dried ginger powder – 2 tbsp
  • Nutmeg powder – ½ tbsp
  • Cinnamon sticks – 4 to 5 one inch pieces
  • Roasted chana dal powder – 4 to 5 tbsp

For the gravy
  • Lamb marrow bones – 500 gms [Though this should be ideally done with marrow bones (nalli) as the name suggests, I couldn’t get only nalli, so I made my version with mixed pieces]
  • Nihari masala – 2 tbsp
  • Onions – 2, medium
  • Ginger – ½ inch piece
  • Whole wheat flour – 2 tbsp
  • Lemon juice – 1 tbsp
  • Oil/clarified butter (ghee) – 2 tbsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh coriander leaves – 2 tbsp
  1. To make the nihari masala, dry roast all the ingredients listed under Nihari Masala till fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Once cold, grind to a fine powder. Sieve the mixture and store in the refrigerator in an airtight jar.
  2. Heat the oil or ghee in a pressure cooker or a heave bottomed pot. Add the lamb pieces and the nihari masala and sauté for 2 minutes.
  3. Add four cups of water and fit the lid of the pressure cooker tightly. Cook under pressure till 6 to 7 whistles. If cooking in a pot, cook covered till the meat is soft and tender.
  4. Slice the onions and deep fry them till golden brown. Set aside. Cut the ginger into thin strips.
  5. Remove the lid when the pressure is completed reduced and pour the content into a wok.
  6. Bring the mixture to a boil, stir in half the fried onion and half the ginger strips. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. Combine the whole wheat flour with 6 tablespoons of water and mix well till smooth. Add this to the sauce and continue to simmer till the gravy thickens.
  8. Add salt and stir in the lemon juice. Mix well.
  9. Serve hot, garnished with the remaining fried onions, ginger strips and chopped coriander leaves.

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