It has been cold, wet and rainy here in San Francisco. Sun makes an appearance to cheer us up but more or less it has not been the weather that California is known for.

It means lots of tea, khichadi, and rich stews to keep warm and drive the brr’s away.

But after dal-chawal and khichadi for far too many days in a row, I wanted to eat something different. Something rich, succulent and tasty; something that’s not on the everyday menu. I contemplated going to an Indian restaurant for dinner but the thought of dragging two kids out in this rain and cold, not to mention finding parking in this weather was a daunting task.

At such point, typically, I nag my husband to do take out but even he refused to step out of the house.

The only other option was to roll up my sleeves and cook.

But the aforementioned kids want attention and hence time-consuming tricky recipes that require slaving over a stove were out of a question.

Lamb Nihari

I was flipping through inspiration on my Pinterest Recipe board and wondering about ingredients on hand, my husband peered over my shoulder and suggested making Nihari. That was exactly what I was looking for.

The succulent tender lamb or goat shanks simmered in spices. With little hands-on work and mostly letting the stew simmer and bubble. The prep work is straightforward, especially if you have Nihari masala on hand. After roasting onions and lamb/meat shanks in oil or ghee for a richer taste and the masala, you leave the stew on low heat for 3-4 hours for slow cooked deliciousness. As it cooks and the spices work their magic, my house was filled with aromas that made my stomach grumble loudly. Slowly but surely the meat falls off the bone.

Topped with lemon juice, and ginger strips, the lamb just melts in your mouth. We had it with parathas and sliced onions. It warmed us inside out on that cold wet day. Drool!

With many such days forecasted this winter, be sure to add Nihari to your menu. Your stomach and soul will thank you!

Shan Nihari Recipe

  • ½ cup + 1/2 cup oil, divided
  • Lamb or Goat Shanks– 2 Lbs (4-6 pieces)
  • 1 Packet Shan Nihari Masala
  • 1/2 cup water +12 cups + 2 cups water, divided
  • 1 medium Onion – thinly sliced
  • 1 cup flour
  • Lemon wedges, Sliced red onions & cilantro for garnish
  1. In a large thick-bottomed saucepan, heat oil. Dissolve Nihari masala in ½ cup water. Add lamb and masala to the oil. Stir well so that meat is roasted on all sides and coated with the masala. Keep stirring for a few minutes till oil separates from the masala.
  2. Add remaining water, stir and bring it to a boil. Then reduce to low simmer and cover with a lid. Set timer for 3.5 hours.
  3. Test the meat for tenderness. If it is not falling off the bone, cook for additional 30 mins. You want the meat to be tender but still firm. If you prefer firmer meat, take the meat off the gravy with tongs before proceeding the next step.
  4. Dissolve flour in 2 cups water till its lump free and then add this to the stew. Stir well and bring it to a boil. Then let it cook uncovered for 15 minutes. This will allow the gravy to thicken.
  5. In a separate pan, heat another 1/2 cup oil and fry the onion till golden brown. Add it to the stew and mix well.
  6. Top with lemon juice and chopped cilantro.

Lamb Nihari

Serve immediately with naan, roti or paratha. Enjoy!


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