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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Even Newbies Can Cook Chicken Nihari

Chicken Nihari is the most loved dish in my house. I have never tasted a yummy gravy like this anywhere until I got married. This popular dish of Delhi & Karachi always attracts me even if my tummy is completely filled up with food. If you're a chicken lover, I think this is a complete main-course dish for you. I remember how I had prepared nihari masala from all the different spices for the very first time in cooking this dish. My first attempt in making this dish was a complete hit. 

As it is a slow-cooked recipe I always prefer making it when I have a big list of household activities, long work hours and a crazy schedule! As this recipe involves mixing up of ingredients and popping them into a crock pot for a specific number of hours the chicken or meat simply turns out soft, finger-licking and the most irresistible gravy.

It is a royal nawabi dish of Mughal's in India as well as in Pakistan. The main ingredients of this popular Asian curry is wheat flour & you can prepare this dish using meat, lamb or chicken. I hope you too enjoy in making this aromatic chicken slow cooker recipe.

Chicken Nihari

Chicken Nihari Recipe

Preparation Time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Serves: 2 persons

Let's start with Chicken Nihari Spices/Masala Preparation

Step 1
Ingredients for Chicken Nihari Masala :
2 teaspoons Saunf or Fennel seeds
2 teaspoons Cumin seeds
2 teaspoons Coriander seeds
2 teaspoons Crushed Red Chili
1 Bay-leaf
2 Green Cardamom
3 Cloves
1 Inch Cinnamon piece
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg powder
1/2 teaspoon Mace powder
1 teaspoon Garam masala powder
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric powder
1 tablespoon Red chili powder
1 teaspoon Kashmiri Red Chili powder, for color

All the above ingredients are easily available in any store or market. If you find any difficulty in searching any of the above ingredients you can simply skip the particular spice/masala. 

  • In a pan, Add 2 teaspoons Saunf or Fennel seeds, 2 teaspoons Cumin seeds, 2 teaspoons Coriander seeds, 2 teaspoons Crushed Red Chili, 1 Bay-leaf, 2 Green Cardamom, 3 Cloves, 1 Inch Cinnamon piece & heat them until they smell fragrant.
  • Sauté for 2-3 minutes & add 1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg powder, 1/2 teaspoon Mace powder, 1 teaspoon Garam masala powder, 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric powder, 1 tablespoon Red chili powder, 1 teaspoon Kashmiri Red Chili powder into the pan.
  • Sauté for a minute until fragrant and turn off the flame.
  • Remove the roasted masala on a plate & let it cool for a while.
  • Grind everything into a fine powder.
  • You can store nihari masala in an airtight jar for a longer period.
Step 2
Chicken Nihari Ingredients
4-5 pieces of Chicken, I have shared this recipe with little quantity of ingredients, especially for the newbies trying this recipe!
1/2 cup Cooking oil
1 medium size Onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup roasted Wheat Flour 
1/2 tablespoon Ginger paste
1/2 tablespoon Garlic paste
3-4 tablespoons home-made Nihari masala powder
2-3 cups of water
Salt to taste

For Garnish:
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped Anaheim pepper 
1/2  teaspoon finely chopped cilantro or coriander leaves
1 teaspoon ginger julienne
Pinch of Chat masala powder if available.

  • In a deep pan, add 3 tablespoons of cooking oil & fry thinly sliced onions until it turns golden brown.
  • On a low flame, add 1/2 tablespoon of ginger paste & 1/2 tablespoon of garlic paste & sauté it for 2 minutes with onions.
  • Add chicken pieces & fry it for 10 minutes so that all the water gets evaporated. Cook chicken without covering the pan under a low flame.
  • Once all the water gets evaporated, add 3 tablespoons of homemade nihari masala powder & fry chicken in nihari masala for 3-5 minutes.
  • Add 2-3 cups of water and mix well.
  • When water starts to show bubbles, add salt & stir properly.
  • Lower down the flame, Close the lid & cook the chicken for at-least 1 hour.
  • In another non-stick pan, add half cup wheat flour & roast well until the flour changes its color to light brown. Remove the flour on a plate & let it cool down for a while. Let chicken nihari cook for one hour, later we will be adding this wheat flour paste.
  • In a bowl, add roasted wheat flour and slowly add water to it & whisk it properly to avoid lumps.
  • Once the wheat flour turns into a smooth, thick paste you can slowly add this mixture into the chicken nihari gravy. Keep stirring the gravy while you add the wheat flour paste. 
  • Add little by little and stop when you have achieved the desired thick consistency of chicken gravy.
  • Now, close the lid & let the chicken nihari cook again for a half hour so that the added wheat flour gets cooked evenly on low flame.
  • After half hour - In a small pan, add 2 tablespoons of cooking oil & let it heat for a minute.
  • Now add 1 teaspoon of fried onions, 1/2 teaspoon of homemade nihari masala powder & 1/2 teaspoon of garam masala powder.
  • Stir it for 1-2 minutes & add this mixture into the cooked chicken nihari.
  • Adjust the salt and spices & stir it properly. Allow chicken nihari to cook without a lid for 5-8 minutes.
  • Remove in a bowl & add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice all over it.
  • Serve hot & Garnish with ginger Julienne, finely chopped cilantro & chopped Anaheim pepper.  
  • This dish will taste delicious & finger licking if you eat it with tandoori roti or chapati.
  • You can also sprinkle a pinch of chat masala for better taste.
Note: While adding roasted wheat flour always keep on checking its consistency otherwise your chicken gravy will turn out too thick! Incase, the gravy becomes thick - simply adjust the consistency by adding a little amount of water.

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