Indian Lamb Stew Recipes

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Nihari Recipe (Indian Lamb Stew) Recipe

There is a meat stew dish in every culture. The version from Indian cuisine, called nihari, is one of my favorites. I made some over the weekend with lamb shanks and lamb sirloin (my favorite), but other red meats such as mutton, goat or beef can work well. The key is to use very tender meat parts. The traditional garnish is a mix of fried onions, fresh ginger, cilantro, mint, cilantro, green chiles, sliced lemons and white radish sticks. I served it with naans which is also the standard way to enjoy the dish.

Nihari, in Urdu, is derived from the word "nihar", which translates to "morning sunrinse". Originally, the stew was usually eaten in the morning after prayers. The spicy stew is very flavorful thanks to the use of bone marrow. Interestingly, this is what gives Vietnamese phở broth its body.

My husband's aunt, Phoopi, taught me how to make it, but I first heard of the dish when I met Abbi, Lulu's late grandfather. He was a savvy bridge player and we would play from time to time. He told me that back in the days in Hyderabad, India, he would invite his pals over for an all night bridge game. There would always be a large pot of nihari waiting for them the following morning at the end of their game. The nihari would simmer overnight, tenderizing the meat and thickening the gravy. Lulu's late grandmother, Baji, would finish the dish with bhaghar, which is the final red oil layer of ghee (clarified butter) commonly used in a lot of Indian dishes. Delicious!


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