Ramzan 2023: Nalli Nihari Recipe, Tracing Its Royal Origins

The aromatic fragrance of spices, the tender and succulent meat melting in the mouth, and the rich, creamy broth that soothes the soul - this is the essence of Nalli Nihari, a traditional dish that has been an integral part of Muslim cuisine for centuries. This dish is a must-try for those who love indulging in authentic, traditional meals, and it is particularly popular during Ramadan.

The history of Nalli Nihari can be traced back to the Mughal era in India when the dish was served as a breakfast staple among the elite. The dish originally consisted of beef shanks cooked with a blend of exotic spices, and it was typically eaten with bread. The word "Nihari" comes from the Arabic word "Nahar," which means "day," as it was traditionally eaten for breakfast after the Fajr (dawn) prayer.

Over time, the recipe of Nalli Nihari has evolved, and it is now prepared in various different ways. One popular version includes goat or lamb meat, while another features chicken. The dish is now enjoyed throughout the day and is particularly favoured as a hearty dinner during Ramzan when Muslims abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset.

The preparation of Nalli Nihari is a laborious process that requires patience, skill, and a lot of time. The meat is slow-cooked for hours in a flavorful broth that is infused with a blend of spices, including ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander, and garam masala. The dish is typically garnished with crispy fried onions, fresh coriander leaves, and a squeeze of lime juice, which adds a tangy and refreshing flavour to the rich, creamy broth.

One of the most significant aspects of Nalli Nihari is the communal aspect of sharing it with family and friends. During Ramadan, families and communities come together to break their fasts with a spread of delicious dishes, and Nalli Nihari is often the centrepiece of the feast. It is a symbol of unity and togetherness, and it brings people closer together. During Ramadan, Nalli Nihari is particularly significant as a hearty and flavorful meal that helps Muslims break their fasts and brings communities closer together. If you haven't tried Nalli Nihari yet, you're missing out on one of the most delicious and satisfying dishes in the world.

Video Credit: Shaziya's Recipes/YouTube


  • 1 kg mutton (with bones)
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp ginger paste
  • 2 tbsp garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 tbsp wheat flour
  • Fresh coriander leaves, for garnish
  • Fried onions, for garnish
  • Lemon wedges, for garnish


  • Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and fry until they turn golden brown.
  • Add the ginger and garlic paste and fry for another minute.
  • Add the meat and fry until browned on all sides.
  • Add the red chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala powder, black pepper powder, and salt. Mix well.
  • Add 6 cups of water and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let it simmer for 2-3 hours until the meat is tender and the broth has thickened.
  • Mix the wheat flour with some water to make a paste, and add it to the pot. Stir well and let it cook for another 10-15 minutes until the gravy thickens.
  • Garnish with fresh coriander leaves, fried onions, and lemon wedges. Serve hot with naan or rice.