Saturday, April 21, 2018

History Of Nihari

The word Nihari comes from the Arabic word Nahar which means morning, thus the very name Nihari implies it is to be consumed early in the morning. Nihari is rumoured to have taken birth either in the back alleys of the Jamia Masjid in Delhi, where the Dehliwallas hail from, or as most Lucknawi loyalist believe in the kitchens of the Nawabs of Awadh, in the latter part of the 18th century at the decline of the Mughal Empire. 

Nihari is a Pakistani breakfast dish popular with Muslims in India as well. Extravagantly spiced beef shanks are slow cooked, often overnight and eaten after early morning prayers. A jumble of tender meat and rich bone marrow is served in a thick, exuberant gravy topped with a slick of flavourful fat. Common accompaniments include green chillies and shards of pungent fresh ginger to cut the richness and add freshness. This rich curry is eaten with rounds of white bread, fresh from the tandoor, ever-so slightly sour from the leavening and pleasantly chewy, the perfect vessel to ensure you don’t miss any of the delicious sauce.

According too many sources: Nihari originated in Old Delhi (Jama Masjid and Daryaganj areas) in the late eighteenth century during the last throes of the Mughal Empire. The Muslim Nawab ate Nihari early in the morning after Fajr prayers and then took a long nap before going to Zhuhr (afternoon Muslim prayers). Later on, it became popular among the labor class as a regular breakfast item.

Nihari developed with the overall cuisine of south Asian Muslims. It has been an old popular delicacy in parts of Bangladesh, particularly Dhaka and Chittagong. People cooked it for one whole night and they got it in the early morning at sunrise. It is a popular dish and is regarded as the national dish of Pakistan. The dish is known for its spiciness and taste. It was originally more of a delicacy with myriad variations on spiciness

Nihari has a flavourful depth so deliberate that one can almost taste the unhurried and intentional consideration gone into putting the ingredients together. Therefore, the claim that Nihari is a derivation from the study ofHikmat (Eastern herbal medicine) comes as no surprise, not only was its consumption preventive against sinus, the common cold and the onset of fever in the winters of Delhi and Lucknow, it also gained popularity as a food that kept one warm during dropping temperatures. 
Nihari is a South Asian stew consisting of slow cooked beef or lamb garnished to taste and served with cooked brain or bone marrow.

Another story reveals that Nihari was cooked overnight in large volume to be served to the labourers. Whenever there were massive constructions involved and the kings served meals free to labour and also paid them. In some instances kings did not want to offer coins / currencies, they in turn offered free meals and accommodations to the labourers. Since the work had to be started in the morning, it was cooked in an earthern pot, sometimes even buried and served in the morning to ensure the supply of energetic labour force.
Alternative origins puts roots in the Muslim Nawab kitchens, having achieved fame via the storied royal kitchens of Lucknow in present-day Uttar Pradesh.

Legend suggests that the Empire and the ‘powers that be’ realised that this rich slow-cooked beef delicacy was the reason the Nawabs of Lucknow would take an indulgent nap between Fajr (morning) and Zohr (early afternoon) prayers. They ate Nihari for breakfast, especially in the winters and just slept it off.

And, since the rich have been known to come up with innovative ways to work the poor, they decided to feed this delicacy to the labour class at construction sites as regular breakfast in lieu of ujrat (earned daily wages), the otherwise precious earnings after a hard days work. The high protein meat allowed for a progressively slow increase in blood sugar and therefore resulted in decreased cravings through the day. This practice continues to date; the labourer still eats Nihari early in the morning to sustain him through the day, and the wealthy for a weekend breakfast or as an indulgent dinner.

Historically, Nihari was cooked through the night for six to eight hours, and was ready to be served at sunrise. It was most delectable when cooked with veal or beef shank, though now mutton and chicken Nihari is popular too. Another variation in Nihari is the extra kick of magaz (brain) and nail (marrow) this is a special edition of Nihari. Real foodies consider it sacrilege to have Nihari sans the spare parts.

The method to cook Nihari has survived and remains somewhat similar to the early days. At the time, the lid of the daigh (large rounded pot) was sealed shut with lai (flour glue) to maintain maximum heat and steam for slow cooking. The meat was braised and then left to simmer in the aromatic and delightfully spicy essence of masalas. Gently, the meat soaked the flavour of the masalas as the masalas infused the heartiness of the meat; it was almost like one seducing the other ... to create magic.

Cooking Method No -1
Beef: 1 kg large cuts
Marrow Bones: 1 kg
Salt: as required
Crushed Red Pepper: 2 tbsp (as required)
Kashmiri Chili: 2 tbsp
Turmeric Powder: 1/4 tsp
Dry Ginger: 2 large pieces
Long Pepper: 4 pcs
Star Anise: 2 pcs
Carom Seed: 1/2 tbsp
Ground Nutmeg: 1/4 tsp
Ground Mace: 1/4 tsp
Black Pepper: 1/2 tbsp
Black Cumin: 1/2 tbsp
White Cumin: 1/2 tbsp
Cardamom (Large): 2 pcs
Green Cardamom: 5 pcs
Fennel Seeds: 3 tbsp
Cloves: 6 pcs
Cinnamon: 2 sticks
Whole Coriander: 4 tbsp (make pouch)
Bay Leaves: 2 pcs
Oil: 2.5 to 3 cups
Crushed Ginger Garlic: 3 tbsp
Flour: 1/2 cup
Water: as required
For Garnishing:
Ginger (sliced): as required
Green Chili (sliced): as required
Green Coriander: as required
Lemon: as required
For Nihari Special Garam Masala:
Long Spice: 3 pcs
White Cumin: 2 tbsp
Black Pepper: 1 tbsp
Large Cardamom: 1 to 2 pcs
Cloves: 8 pcs
Cinnamon: 1/5 inch long stick
Method for Making Nihari Special Garam Masala:
Grind long spice, white cumin, black pepper, large cardamom, cloves and cinnamon fine together and store in a bottle.
Whenever you serve nihari, sprinkle a hint. It will enhance the taste and flavor.
Method for Nihari
Wash meat and marrow bones.
Heat oil in pan, put meat, marrow bones, and also ginger garlic.
Roast for 3 to 4 minutes. 
Then grind salt, red pepper, turmeric, Kashmiri chili, dry ginger, star anise, carom seeds, nutmeg, mace, black pepper, black cumin, white cumin, large and green cardamom, fennel seeds, cloves and cinnamon stick and mix in the pan.
Cook for 3 to 4 minutes and add water.
Add enough water to submerge meat pieces. Also add coriander pouch and bay leaves. 
First cook at high flame; lower the flame when boiled and cook covered (for around 4 hours).
When meat is tender, and tari (oil layer) comes up, remove tari in another pot and discard coriander pouch and

Cooking Method No -2
Saunf (Fennel seeds) 3 tbs
Zeera (Cumin seeds) ½ tbs
Dhania (Coriander seeds) 2 tbs
Pipli (Long pepper) 3
Hari elaichi (Green cardamom) 3-4
Kala zeera (Caraway seeds) 1 & ½ tsp
Baadiyan ka phool (Star anise) 1
Darchini (Cinnamon sticks) 2
Javatri (Mace) 1 whole
Jaifil (Nutmeg) ¼ piece
Laung (Cloves) 7-8
Badi elaichi (Black cardamom) 1
Ajwain (Carom seeds) ¼ tsp
Sabut kali mirch (Black pepper corns) ½ tbs
Haldee powder (Turmeric powder) 1 tsp
Kashmiri lal mirch (Kashmiri red chili) powder 2 tbs
Sonth (Dried ginger powder) 1 tbs
Namak (Salt) ½ tbs or to taste
Lal mirch powder (Red chili powder) 2 tbs
Ghee 1 & ½ Cups
Tez paat (Bay leaf) 1
Beef mix boti 1 kg
Haddi guddi (Soup bones) ½ kg
Adrak lehsan paste (Ginger garlic paste) 2 tbs
Pani (Water) 2 liters or as required
Pani (Water) ½ Cup
Atta (Wheat flour) ½ Cup
Pani (Water) 2 Cups
Haldee powder (Turmeric powder) ½ tsp
Gaye ka maghaz (Beef brain) 1
Namak (Salt) to taste (if required)
Hari mirch (Green chilies)
Adrak (Ginger)
Hara dhania (Fresh coriander)
In spice mixer,add fennel seeds,cumin seeds,coriander seeds,long pepper,green cardamom,caraway seeds,star anise,cinnamon sticks,mace,nutmeg,cloves,black cardamom,carom seeds,black pepper corns and grind to make a fine powder.
In bowl,ground spices,turmeric powder,kashmiri red chili powder,dried ginger powder,salt,red chili powder and mix well.Nihari masala is ready.
In pot,add ghee and let it melt,add bay leaf,beef mix boti and soup bones,mix well until color changes.
Add ginger garlic paste and mix well for 2 minutes.
Add nihari masala,mix well and cook for 5 minutes.
Add water,mix well and bring it to boil,cover & cook on low flame for 3-4 hours and keep stirring in between.
Switch off the flame,remove tarri and set aside.
Remove bay leaf & discard it.
In water,add wheat flour and whisk well.
Add half quantity of wheat flour mixture in nihari and mix well,cover and cook on low flame for 30 minutes.
In saucepan,add water and bring it to boil,add turmeric powder and beef brain.
Switch off the flame and rest it for 3-4 minutes,set aside and devein it.
Now add beef brain in nihari,cover and cook on low flame for 30 minutes.
Take out cooked beef brain & set aside.
If required add salt and mix.
Add remaining wheat flour mixture in nihari and mix well,cover and cook on low flame for 30 minutes.
In serving bowl,add nihari,cooked meat,cooked beef brain,tarri,green chilies,ginger,fresh coriander and serve.


Mutton Nihari
Half cup Cooking Oil
1-1/2 Onion
1 cup Yogurt
1 tbsp Ginger Paste
1 tbsp Garlic Paste
700g Mutton
As per taste Salt
1 tbsp Red Chili Powder
1 tsp Turmeric Powder
3 tbsp Nehari Masala (prepared)
1 tbsp Garam Masala Powder
2 cup Hot Water
10g Ginger
10g Green Coriander
4 Green Chili
3 tbsp Wheat Flour
For garnishing Lemon
Nehari Masala
3 tbsp Cumin
4 Star Anise
1 tbsp Cinnamon
1 tbsp Coriander Powder
6 Black Pepper Powder
½ tsp Citric Acid
1 tbsp Bay Leaf
1 tsp Turmeric
½ tsp Ginger Powder
4 Cardamom
6 Black Cardamom
½ tsp Nutmeg
½ tsp Mace
2 tbsp Fennel Seeds
Note: Blend all above ingredients to prepare Nehari Masala
Cooking Method
1- In a pan, add cooking oil, onion and cook until golden brown
2- In a blender, add yogurt, brown onion and blend them. Onion mixture now ready
3- In a another pan, add ginger paste, garlic paste, mutton and cook for 2-3 minutes
4- Now, add salt, red chili powder, turmeric powder, nehari masala, onion mixture and mix them then cook for 5 minutes
5- Now add hot water and simmer for 30-35 minutes
6- In a pan, add wheat flour and cook for a while then add water. After that add it in the mutton
7- Simmer for 5 minutes, then use green coriander, green chili, lemon for garnishing
Your tasty Mutton Nihari now ready to serve
I have made homemade masala for every day used, it can be stored and used multiple times.
The quantity of the masala can be reduced to half and used once. Citric acid is just added to keep the masala fresh. It can be omitted and the masala can be prepared and kept in a clean airtight bottle in a fridge. If it is difficult to prepare, boxed masalas can also be used.

Nihari masala:
Daigi/Kashmeri mirchain 4 tbsp
Cloves 1 tbsp
Fennel seeds 3tbsp
Dried ginger 1tbsp (ground)
Citric acid 1 tsp level
Nutmeg 1 piece
Mace 5-6
Black pepper 1 tbsp
Cardamom 12
Black cardamom 5-6
Cinnamon 4 (1” pieces)
Star anise 3whole
Black cumin seeds 1tbsp
Cumin seeds 1 tbsp
Kachri/Raw Papaya powder 2 tsp
Bay leaves 5-6
For tarka:
Onion finely chopped 2 tsp
Chat masala ½ tsp
Maghaz/Lamb Brain from bones
Oil ¼ cup
Haldi/Turmeric pinch
Red chili powder ¼ tsp

Tuesday, April 17, 2018



An exotic plant that produces a miniature watermelon-like fruit has been launched in Britain for the first time and is set to transform the traditional salad.
The Cucamelons looks like a tiny version of the juicy football-sized fruit but when eaten it has the distinctive taste of a cucumber with a hint of lime.
They are used in salsa, can be pickled, or eaten on their own and have been used in Mexico for centuries.
Despite being stocked by some supermarkets the unusual crop is rarely seen in British gardens.
However, Devon-based Suttons Seeds has now begun selling seeds to the Cucamelons plant for people to grow at home.
Despite their exotic origins, they are actually easier to grow than regular cucumbers

Melothria scabra is a vine grown for its edible fruit. Fruit are about the size of grapes and taste like cucumbers with a tinge of sourness. Vernacular names include mouse melon, Mexican sour gherkin, Cucamelons, Mexican miniature watermelon and Mexican sour cucumber.
This plant is native to Mexico and Central America, where it is called sandita (little watermelon). It is believed to have been a domesticated crop before western contact began.

Doll’s house-sized ‘watermelons’ that taste of pure cucumber with a tinge of lime. These little guys are officially the cutest food known to man & oh-so-easy to grow even for real beginners. Let me show you how to get started…

How to grow
Cucamelons can be grown in pretty much the exact same way as regular cucumbers, only they are far easier. They don’t need the cover of a greenhouse, fancy pruning or training techniques and suffer from very few pests. Sow the seed from April to May indoors and plant out when all risk of frost is over. Give them a support the scramble over, keep well watered and that’s pretty much all you will need to do!
Harvest them when they are the size of a grape, but still nice and firm.

They make pretty, high-yielding vines that can be planted really close together to get the most out of a small space – as little as 15cm between plants around a trellis.

Finding the seeds
Want to know where you can get your hands a little plant?
I have teamed up with the lovely plant geeks at Suttons Seeds to sell Cucamelons Seeds as part a brand new ‘Homegrown Revolution’ range of weird and wonderful edibles. Why now check ‘em out?

How to eat
The fruit can be eaten straight off the plant, or tossed with olives, slivers of pepper and a dousing of olive oil. Perfect for a quirky snack with drinks – or even popped like an olive in a cheeky martini.

Pickle the Cucamelons with dill ad mint
To preserve their virtues right in to the depth of winter, you can even make Cucamelons dill pickles. Fantastic in a simple ham sandwich or with a fancy cheeseboard.

They can be pickled whole, however slicing these little fruit in half and pre-salting them will result in far more crisp result – not to mention that fact that they will be ready in half the time.

Pre-salting simply involves sprinkling the sliced fruit with a really generous amount of sea salt in a colander (about 1 tbsp per cup of Cucamelons) and setting them over a bowl for 20 minutes or so. This will draw out the excess water from the fruit, which prevents the fruit from diluting the vinegar during the pickling process.
After the 20 minutes are up give them a good rinse, pat dry with some paper towels and you are ready to go!

You can flavor the pickling vinegar with anything you fancy. My favorite mix combines dill, mint, pickling spice and a sprinkling of pink peppercorns. Add a generous sprinkling of sugar and salt and stir the mix to combine.

Adding an (optional) scrunched up vine or oak leaf will further help ensure a crisp result, as the tannins in the leaves will inhibit natural enzymes within the fruit that can cause softness.

Top up with a good quality vinegar to cover the fruit, seal the jar and give it a good shake.

 Cucamelons bloody Mary salad
100g Cucamelons
120g baby plum tomatoes
3 Red chills 100ml vodka
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 handful celery leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Slice the Cucamelons, baby plum tomatoes and chills and place in a bowl with the vodka. Allow to rest in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours, but preferably overnight (this depends on how strong you would like the alcohol; overnight soaking will provide quite a kick!). Drain the vodka-soaked vegetables, add the rest of the ingredients and mix gently.

This salad can be served as a side dish or, since the flavors (and alcohol) are quite strong, it can be served as a canapé or a palate cleanser at a dinner party served in spoons or shot glasses.

This salad seems to go through a sequence of flavors as it is being eaten. It begins with fresh flavors and crunchy textures (especially from the Cucamelons), followed by the warmth of the alcohol which slowly develops into quite a kick at the end with the deeper, more 'Bloody-Mary-like' flavors of the celery seeds and leaves near the end. It is certainly different from most other salads and causes quite a stir!

I'm, actually, not a huge fan of vodka, but decided to stick with vodka in this recipe so that it wouldn't be too unusual. The vodka can easily be substituted for a different alcoholic spirit, such as tequila, and name the salad "Bloody Maria" instead of "Bloody Mary" (I regret not doing this in the first place now, since I much prefer tequila to vodka!).

Product Description
Cucamelons – They produce an abundance of fruit resembling tiny watermelons, which taste a bit like cucumber but with a citrus tang. they need little care, are drought-tolerant and if the roots are lifted before first frosts they can be stored and replanted for earlier fruiting the following season.
Sow Cucamelons Indoors April to May, lightly in seed trays, cover with a fine layer of compost. Keep moist and maintain a minimum temperature of 20oC (68oF). Prick out Cucamelons seed into further trays or pots when seedlings are large enough to handle. When the Cucamelons seedlings have developed 3-4 leaves, transplant to growing bags, large tubs or a sheltered area of the gardens. Support Cucamelons with canes and train the plants as they develop, removing the growing tip when plant is about 2m (6ft) tall and trim side shoots when about 30cm (12in).
Harvest Cucamelons from July to October. Pick Cucamelons regularly to encourage a continuous crop. Lift Cucamelons roots in autumn and store in a cool, frost free area. Plant Cucamelons out in May when risk of frost is over.
Cucamelons makes an ideal addition to your vegetable range for grow your own

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Tharid ثريد (Sareed)

Hazrat Abbas Radi Allahu anhu reports that the most favorite dish of the Nabi Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam was sareed. This is a mixture of bread, broken and mixed up with curry and is beneficial for it strengthens the thinking process and helps digestion according to our Nabi Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam

Tharid is a most famous dish in Muslim world. It is liked by Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). Prophet Muhammad Said Ayesha surpassses other women s tharid surpasses other dishes.

Hazrat Salmaan (R) said that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: Blessings are found in three things, the Group (Al-Jama'ah), Ath-thareed (a type of food) and As-Sahoor (the Pre-dawn meal)." [At-Tabaraanee, Abu Na'eem]

Al Thareed, meaning literally "small pieces (of bread or food) which have been cut" is a traditional Gulf Arab dish which is even mentioned in the above hadeeth, has its variations in South Asia and the whole Arab states too. The Pakhtoons have versions, known as painda, randa chargha, or soobutt. This should ideally be made with very thin Pakhtoon bread. Further south, it is made with shredded whole-wheat flat bread or roti, hence it is called "roti ke tukray." It is also known in Urdu as sareed or suraid, the -s- being the Urdu articulation of Arabic -tha-. It is basically a liquid meat or chicken stew poured on top of shredded bread. Here is a Gulf Arab version, and here is a Pakhtoon recipe. Both recipes are highly worth checking out. There are many versions of this around the world, from fatta or similar dishes in other parts of the Arab world, to Mexican casserole with leftover tortillas, to Italian or French recipes using day old bread. It is basically a way to use up leftover bread and avoid waste. Perhaps that is why it is a blessed dish. The Arabian Gulf versions of thareed or margooga are sometimes eaten as an Eid dish, so it is simultaneously a humble and fancy dish.

I am forever fascinated foods which have distinct yet similar versions all over the world, like barbecued meats, stuffed dumplings, types of pasta soups, pickled vegetables, rice puddings, and of course this dish, sareed.

Mutton/Lamb boneless 1 kg
Chickpea (Kabuli Channa) 250g
Olive oil/ Canola oil 1 cup
Butter 1 tablespoon
Eggs (optional), unbeaten, 2-3
Onion chopped 2
Tomatoes (optional) chopped 2
Ginger paste (optional) 1 teaspoon
Garlic paste (optional) 1 teaspoon
Lemon juice 2-3 teaspoon
Fresh Parsley/Celery/ Coriander leaves for garnish
Bread (Roti/Chapatti) 8
Water 2 glass
Salt to taste
Black pepper 2 teaspoon
Coriander powder 2 teaspoon
Paprika powder 1/2 teaspoon
Pimento powder 1 teaspoon
Cardamom green powder 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin powder 1 teaspoon
Caraway whole 1 teaspoon
Honey 1 table spoon
Saffron 10 threads
Soak chickpea in enough water and 2 teaspoon of baking soda for 8 hours.
Now boil chickpea in enough water and keep aside aside.
Fry onion in oil till golden.
Now add ginger garlic paste, tomatoes, spices, honey and lemon juice, fry for 3-5 minutes.
Now add mutton and fry for 3-5 more minutes on high flame, and then cook on low flame till meat is tender. Add some water if needed. (Add unbeaten eggs during cooking after 10-15 minutes, if using).
Add boiled chickpea and butter, cook for 5-10 minutes.
Now add 2 glass of water to make thin gravy (Shorba/meat broth) and cook on simmering heat for 15 more minutes.
Garnish with Parsley leaves.
Delicious Tharid Curry is ready to serve.
In a serving bowl place pieces of bread at bottom, pour gravy over it and then chickpea and meat at top and serve.
You can separate meat and chickpea from gravy for your convenience earlier after cooking and before serving.

6 giant extra thin Afghan flat breads (pasti), these are available where I live, but you can sub any very thin naan for this if you like. The pasti where I live is roughly the length and width of 2 sheets of A-4 paper put together, and less than a cm thick. But really, any thin flatbread should do.
For the Shorba:
1/4 cup oil
1 chicken skinned and cut into 12 pieces
1 tsp. whole cumin seeds
1 large onion chopped finely
1 tbs garlic paste
1tsp ginger paste
2 fresh green chills finely chopped
2 fresh tomatoes pureed
1/2 tsp. haldi
1 tsp. red Chile powder
1 tbs Garam masala
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp dried fenugreek (qasoori methi)
2 tbs whipped yoghurt
3.5 cups water
a big dose of salt
1 tbs lemon juice
1 pinch garam masala for final ingredient

garnish: chopped fresh green chills, chopped cilantro, small chunks of butter or a few tsps.Ghee and lemon wedges

Heat oil in pan. Add cumin seeds and allow to sizzle. Add in chopped onions. Fry on high heat, stirring frequently until they become golden and have lost a lot of moisture. Stir in ginger garlic Chile paste. When the ginger garlic is golden, add in the turmeric and Chile powder. Quickly add in the tomato puree. Cook for a while until the tomatoes have lost their moisture and the oil has risen to the top. Add in the chicken and stir, still on high heat, until the chicken has all changed color. Add in yoghurt and stir for a moment. Pour in water. Add in Garam masala and coriander powder. Now you can salt the dish. You should add in double the amount of salt that you normally would for a waterless curry. The amount of salt should be enough so that the Shorba flavor doesn't become bland when mixed with the flatbread. I'd estimate 2 heaping teaspoons or more. When the water boils, cover and lower heat. Cook until chicken is done, maybe 25-30 minutes. When the Shorba (liquidy meat soup) is done, add in the fenugreek, a pinch of Garam masala, and lemon juice.

Set the shredded flatbread in a wide flat dish like a casserole dish. Using tongs, place the pieces of chicken on top of the bread. Then pour the Shorba on top of the bread. The bread should absorb the Shorba but it shouldn't be too liquid or soupy. Now add the garnish and serve.

You could also do this dish with bone in goat or lamb, adjusting cooking time of the Shorba as appropriate. Another variation would be to leave out the tomatoes and yoghurt