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Nihari (Pakistani Beef or Deer Curry)

December 27, 2014

I’m experimenting with Indian food this Christmas. I was using the lower end of the Thai chile amounts,  but after sending everyone running to the fridge for milk the first night, I started cutting the chiles back even more. Authentic or not, we just aren’t ready for that level of heat!  So when I made this recipe (which didn’t call for Thai chiles anyway), I just used half the level of recommended red pepper. It had a bit of a bite, but it wasn’t too spicy for anyone. I decided to try this recipe because my dad had some deer round steak that needed long slow cooking to get tender and this recipe cooks on low for 9 hours — it was perfect. I’d definitely make it again with deer or with beef.  Clockwise from top is basmati rice, chapati, tomato and red onion salad, plain yogurt, mint chutney, string beans with potatoes, and Pakistani deer curry.

nihari dinner

2 medium yellow onions, peeled and sliced

2 lb beef or deer (brisket is recommended in the recipe, but any cut that requires long slow cooking should be good — I used deer round)

1 (2-inch) piece ginger, peeled and cut in pieces

10 garlic cloves, peeled

1 heaping tsp ground ginger

4 green (or white) cardamom pods

3 bay leaves (Indian or regular, fresh or dried)

1 4-inch cinnamon stick

1 Tbsp garam masala

2 Tbsp ground fennel

1/2 to 1 Tbsp red chile powder (Indian red chile powder –not the kind you put in chili –you can substitute cayenne)

2 pinches ground nutmeg

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp white salt

1 tsp black salt (this is another Indian ingredient — despite the name, it’s a finely ground pink Himalayan salt – you could substitute more regular salt if need be)

1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil

Put the sliced onions in the bottom of a medium-sized slow cooker (I used a 4.5 or 5 qt.) Place the meat over the onions. Grind the ginger and garlic to a paste in a food processor and add to the slow cooker.  Add the rest of the spices and drizzle the oil over everything (no need to mix). Cover and cook on low for 9 hours. The meat will fall apart easily when it’s done.

I didn’t get a picture, but piling the meat, salad, chutney and yogurt into the chapati also makes a great Indian taco 🙂 .

(Recipe adapted from The Indian Slow Cooker by Anupy Singla)

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