Step by step Asian Chicken Recipes| Pakistani recipes

Indian Pakistani Chicken Recipes, Main Course

Chicken Nihari Recipe | Step by Step


Chicken Nihari Recipe originated around the end of eighteenth century in Nawab’s Kitchen. After Partition of India and Pakistan, the dish got extremely popular in Pakistan, specially in Karachi. Karachi foodies love spicy food and Nihari is all about spices.

Literal meaning

Nihari come from Urdu word Nihar, which means morning. In those time Nawabs would have Nihari in breakfast. Today, with load of variation Nihari is eaten as main course.
While Nihari is best made with beef shin or shank and bone marrow. With time chicken Nihari is also made at home.

Nihari Masala Tips

  • Most importantly, seive the masala to get a fine masala powder and best results.
  • Another tip, you can always substitute whole spice for grounded spice and grounded spice for whole. Like substitute whole Kashmiri chilli for grounded Kashmiri chilli powder.
  • Always remember whole spices when grounded are stronger in flavor then store brought grounded spices. Just like freshly crushed pepper is strong than store bought black pepper powder.
  • Lastly, try to make Nihari 4-6 hour ahead and let it sit for several hours for enhanced flavours.

My other similar recipes

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Chicken Korma

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How to make Chicken Nihari ?

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Chicken Nihari Recipe
Give your family a spicy curry treat. Serve with lots of lemon juice and ginger.
Nihari Masala Ingredient: (We need only half of this spice mix for this recipe.)
Whole spices
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon coriander
  • 2 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • ½ black cardamom
  • 3 green cardamom
  • 3 cloves
Powdered spices
  • 1 tablespoon Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
Chicken Nihari Ingredient
  • 500 grams skinless chicken ,cut into pieces
  • cup oil
  • 1 medium onion ,finely chopped
  • tablespoon Nihari Masala (recipe given above)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • ½ tablespoon green chilli paste
  • ½ cup yogurt ,whipped
  • cup wheat flour
  • Water as needed
  • 2 tablespoon Lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon ghee or butter
  • A pinch Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 inch ginger ,cut in julienne
  • Fresh coriander ,finely chopped
  • 4 lemon wedges
For Nihari Masala
  1. In a pan roast whole spices for 30 second then add powdered spices. Roast for another few second and remove from heat.
  2. Transfer to a food processor and grind finely. Pass the spice mix through a fine seive. Grind the coarse remains again and seive once more. Now, discard the coarse remains. Store spice mix in air tight jar until needed.
For Nihari
  1. Heat oil in a pot and add chopped onion. Stir and cover the lid. Cook for 5-7 minutes on medium heat until very soft.
  2. Now, add chicken, Nihari spice mix, ginger garlic paste, green chilli paste and 1 cup water. Mix well and cook for 10-15 minutes.
  3. In another pan, roast wheat flour for 1-2 minutes on medium heat until fragrant. Transfer flour to a bowl. Add 1 cup water to wheat flour and mix well. Make smooth paste with batter like consistency.
  4. Add wheat paste and yogurt to the chicken pot and mix well.
  5. Add 1 cup water and lemon juice. (Add less or more water as needed, Nihari should have desired consistency at this point).
  6. Mix well and cover the pot. Let it simmer for another 5 minutes on very low heat until bubbling hot. Nihari is ready.
To serve
  1. Heat 2 tablespoon of butter or ghee on a pan and add a pinch of Kashmiri chilli powder.
  2. Simultaneously fill Nihari in serving bowl, garnish with ginger and coriander leaves. Pour heated butter the garnish and serve with lemon wedges.
Recipe Notes

Try to make Nihari 4-6 hour ahead and let it sit for several hours for enhanced flavours.
You can substitute my Nihari masala with store bought Nihari Masala to save time. Add more masala if needed.
If you make Nihari frequently , I suggest double or triple the recipe and make big jar of spice mix and store in fridge or freezer. This stays good for up to a year.

Pictorial Recipe of Chicken Nihari

Method to make Nihari Masala

Nihari masala recipe

Take whole spices in a pan and dry roast for a minute on medium heat.

Add powdered spices, and roast another for 2-3 seconds. Remove from heat and transfer to a food processor.

Grind into a fine powder.

Sieve the spice mix through a fine strainer. Grind the remains left in the strainer once again. Sieve once more and discard the remains.

(Fennel seed are difficult to ground smoothly and they will spoil the texture of nihari. So sieving is important.)

You’ll need only 2.5 tablespoon of this spice mix for this recipe.

Method to make Chicken Nihari

Heat oil in a vessel and add chopped onion.

Mix and cover the pot, cook on medium heat for 5-7 minutes. (Adjust heat if needed.)

The onions are very soft now and and very likely to dissolve easily.

Now add chicken, spice mix, green chilli, ginger and garlic paste. (Use only two and half tablespoon of prepared spice mix.)

Cook on high flame for 3-5 minutes until color of chicken changes, then add 1 cup water.

Cover and cook the chicken for 10-20 minutes on medium until tender.

While chicken cooks, roast wheat flour in a pan until fragrant. Transfer flour to a bowl.

Mix 1 cup water in roasted wheat flour and make a smooth paste. Set aside.

When chicken is cooked add yogurt.

Also add wheat paste. Mix well and add water to thin out the gravy to desired consistency. (Sorry for the blurred images. )

Add lemon juice, and let the nihari simmer for few minutes. a little oil will rise on the top.

To Serve

Fill nihari in serving plate , garnish with corriander, chillies and ginger slices. Then heat little butter or ghee in a vessel and add a pinch of kashmiri chilli. Pour heated butter over nihari and serve.

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