Nihari is a traditional Indian Muslim spicy beef stew usually eaten for breakfast with naan bread. 






Skill level

Average: 4.7 (129 votes)


For the Nihari masala

  • 8 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp green cardamom pods
  • 2 tbsp cloves
  • 4 black cardamom pods
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp red chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp ginger powder
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground mace
  • 2 tbsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
  • 4 tbsp ground cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp salt

For the stew

  • 1 kg beef shin
  • 4-5 cups water
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 4 tbsp Nihari masala powder
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • ¼ cup atta (see note)

For garnishing

  • 2.5 cm piece ginger, julienned
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • ¼ bunch fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • 1-2 green chillis, finely sliced

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


1. To make the Nihari masala, toast the whole spices until fragrant and then grind them into a powder. Mix with the powdered spices and salt and set aside.

2. To make the stew, put the beef in a large pot with 4 to 5 cups of water. Add turmeric powder, bay leaves, cinnamon stick and salt. Put the lid on the pot and cook until the meat becomes soft, approximately 2 hours.

3. In another pan, heat the oil and ghee over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and saute until golden brown. Then add ginger and garlic paste, nihari masala and garam masala and continue to saute until it's well cooked through.

4. Add this combined spiced paste to the beef, as soon as your paste is ready.

5. Thirty minutes before the two hour cooking time is up, place atta in a mixing bowl. Take a cup of liquid from the pot and bit-by-bit incorporate the atta to form a smooth slurry. Slowly add this mixture back into the pot while stirring so it combines smoothly. Let it cook for another 30 minutes.

6. Serve hot, garnished with coriander leaves, green chilli, lemon and julienned ginger, and a side of naan bread.


This recipe is from Flavour Swap - one of the short films as part of the SBS Short Film Festival. Stream episodes via SBS On Demand



Atta is an Indian wholemeal wheat, available at Indian grocers. For a gluten-free option, you can also use brown rice flour. Any leftover Nihari masala can be kept in a sealed jar and used within four weeks. You can also add extra red chilli powder if you would like a spicier nihari.