A warming bowl of spicy Chicken Nihari can be really satisfying with hot naan and lemon wedges and ginger and herbs. This is a simple, quicker, and convenient version of traditional beef nihari that will definitely make its way into your regular chicken curries.
Authentic and traditional Nihari is made with Beef shanks overnight. With the growing popularity of organic chicken as a healthier substitute to red meat, the chicken nihari version came into being. Obviously, the beef version tastes better but this chicken nihari is so easy and quick to make, I bet it will make its way into your regular chicken curry recipes. Nihari is widely eaten in Dehli, India, and Karachi, Pakistan. Both regions enjoy this chicken version as an alternative to beef.
Nihari Masala Tips
Nihari is all about spices and aroma! So nihari masala or spice mix seasoning is essential for this curry. You can get ready made nihari masala from amazon. Or if you have these spice in hand, make your own in coffee grinder. Note down a few tips to make Nihari masala.
- Roast whole spices make them fragrant and bursting with aromas.
- Since we grinding whole spices like fennel seed that have a load of fibre, it is very important to sieve the masala to get a fine masala powder and smooth texture of stew.
- Another tip, you can always substitute whole spice for grounded spice and grounded spice for whole and so adjust the recipe to available pantry supplies. Like, if you don't have whole Kashmiri chilli, you can also use ground Kashmiri chilli.
- Always remember whole spices ( when grounded) are stronger in flavour than store brought ground spices. Just like freshly crushed pepper is strong than store-bought ground black pepper.
- Lastly, try to make Chicken Nihari 4-6 hour ahead and let it sit for several hours for enhanced flavours. People usually prepare it a day ahead and store in fridge until next day.
Which flour is used in Nihari?
Whole wheat flour is used to thicken nihari gravy, but some people also use plain flour. If you want to make gluten-free nihari you can use any gluten-free almond flour to thicken nihari till the desired consistency is reached. For a Keto Nihari also you can use almond flour to thicken the gravy. Corn starch or Corn flour is usually not used. Because cornflour doesn't provide the nutty flavor that you get by roasting wheat flour or cooking wheat flour for very long. Hence is cornflour is not recommended.
How to make Chicken Nihari ?
Method to make Spice Mix
You can make the Nihari spice mix several days ahead and store it in the fridge in an airtight jar. Doubling or tripling the spice mix recipe for next time is totally worth it.
- 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 is difficult to ground smoothly and they will spoil the texture of nihari. So sieving is important.)
- You'll need only 2.5 tablespoons of this spice mix for the recipe below.
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. (For a gluten free or keto nihari, you can use gluten free flour or almond flour respectively.)
Mix 1 cup water in roasted wheat flour and make a smooth paste. Set aside.
When chicken is cooked add yogurt and wheat paste (flour slurry). Mix well and add water to thin out the gravy to desired consistency.
Add lemon juice, and let the nihari simmer for few minutes. A little layer of oil will rise on the top.
Fill Chicken 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.
Hungry for Chicken Curries? Check these!
- Nihari recipe, beef or lamb
- Butter Chicken
- Chicken Korma
- Chicken Karahi
- Pakistani Chicken Recipes, loads of yummy curries, and other dry chicken.
Chicken Nihari Recipe
Nihari Spice Mix Ingredient: (We need only half of this spice mix for this recipe.)
- 2 teaspoon cumin
- 1½ tablespoon coriander
- 2 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 1 inch cinnamon stick, broken
- 1 black cardamom
- 5 green cardamom
- 5 cloves
- 1 tablespoon Kashmiri chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
Chicken Nihari Ingredient
- 500 grams skinless chicken, cut into pieces
- ⅓ cup oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2½ tablespoon Nihari Masala, (recipe is given above, you can also use ready spice mix)
- 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
- ½ tablespoon green chilli paste
- ½ cup plain yogurt, whipped
- ⅓ 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 (Skip this step is using ready made spice mix.)
- In a pan roast whole spices for 30 second then add powdered spices. Roast for another few second and remove from heat.
- 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.
- 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.
- Now, add chicken, Nihari spice mix, ginger garlic paste, green chilli paste and 1 cup water. Mix well and cook for 10-15 minutes.
- 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.
- Add wheat paste and yogurt to the chicken pot and mix well.
- Add 1 cup water and lemon juice. (Add less or more water as needed, Nihari should have desired consistency at this point).
- Mix well and cover the pot. Let it simmer for another 5 minutes on very low heat until bubbling hot. Nihari is ready.
- Heat 2 tablespoon of butter or ghee on a pan and add a pinch of Kashmiri chilli powder.
- Simultaneously fill Nihari in serving bowl, garnish with ginger and coriander leaves. Pour heated butter the garnish and serve with lemon wedges.
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.