The month of Ramadan is almost half way through. Time flies… I feel like it was just yesterday that Ramadan had begun. Our daily lives are much fastened up with the month of Ramadan. The fact that this is the first year that it has fallen under the full summer cycle, and also the day-light saving time hasn’t kicked in yet and won’t kick in until after Ramadan ends, I was so scared thinking I might not be able to fulfill my fasting. How wrong was I! That’s why they say, if you have faith, nothing is impossible.
Our daily routine now is to wake up at 3:20 in the morning. I cook a meal, normally roti and omelet; and we always have leftover food from previous night. We eat till 4:00 AM. We then do our morning prayers and go back to bed by 4:30. I then get up at 7:30, get ready for work and leave. I normally come back from work at 6:30 or so. I then cook a meal, normally chicken, meat, or shrimp along with roti and make food for Iftari (fast breaking). Iftari always consists of dates, fresh fruits, milkshake or lemonade, and some savory snacks like pakoras, bhajiyas, dahi-bade, etc. We then break our fast at 8:00 PM. After breaking our fast, we normally do our prayers and then have dinner. After dinner, dear hubby goes for prayers at masjid and I do my night prayers at home along with some Quran recitations. Normally go back to bed at 11:30 or so. As you can see, the timing and schedule is pretty tied up. If we were to do this same routine in any other month but Ramadan, we won’t be able to do. It is only Allah (swt) who helps us get through the day and gives us enough courage to keep fasting! Thank you Allah (swt) for your countless blessings!!
Coming to today’s recipe - Nihari. I had never heard of this dish until few years ago when a really good family friend from Pakistan, asked my mom to make this dish for him. My mom had no idea and told him about it. He was so shocked that we have never had nihari before. Few months later his mother came to US from Pakistan and he had his mom make nihari and invited all of us for dinner. That day and today, it is everyone’s favorite now. When I first heard the recipe, I was like, there is no way I will be able to make this dish! But like I said earlier, if you have faith, nothing is impossible. So this one fine Sunday morning I tried and it came out perfect! Do give it a try I am sure you will instantly fall in love with this dish. This is also one of the main dishes served in Ramadan in Pakistan.
- Lamb Nihari meat (without bones) – three pounds
- One medium onion – thinly sliced
- Oil – five tblsp
- Cumin seeds – half tsp
- Red chili powder – four tblsp or per taste
- Dhaniya powder – three tblsp
- Ginger-garlic paste – three tblsp
- Turmeric powder – half tblsp
- Salt per taste
- Shaan Nihari Curry Masala – three tblsp (available in any Indian store).
- Lemon juice – one tblsp
- Warm water – 8 glasses
- Corn flour – three tblsp
- Small fresh ginger – thinly slices for garnishing
- A bunch of coriander – finely chopped for garnishing
- Clean nihari meat and run it under cold water for about 15 minutes.
- In a big pot, heat oil and add cumin seeds.
- Add in lamb meat and mix well. Make sure all meat is well coated with oil.
- At this point, after 5-7 minutes, the meat will turn whitish/pinkish.
- At this point, add in all the water and onion.
- Let it simmer for about 20 minutes; stirring every now and then.
- Add in red chili powder, dhaniya powder, turmeric powder, ginger garlic paste, salt and Shaan nihari curry masala. Mix well.
- Cover the pot and let it cook over low heat for 2 hours, stirring in between.
- Check the meat; you should be able to break it out with your fingers. The meat should be well done at this point. If not, then keep cooking till it’s well done.
- Add in lemon juice and mix well.
- In a small bowl, add corn flour and 5 tblsp of warm water. Mix well without any lumps.
- Mix the corn flour paste with nihari and cooking on low heat for another half an hour.
- Nihari should have a lot of gravy along with chunks of meat, just like a lamb stew.
- Granish with ginger slices and chopped coriander, serve hot with roti.