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Nalli Nihari – Indian Slow cooked Lamb Stew

27 November 2020

Cloud Munchies: Nalli Nihari & Koriander Chutney for Sandeep

What an adventure I’m on with all these amazing dishes, and I’m only on the 2nd one! This week I’m cooking in honour of Sandeep. He’s from India and I asked him for a recipe which you wouldn’t normally find on the menu in a restaurant or could order as a take away. He recommended to make Nalli Nihari: a slow, ver slow cooked lamb stew which according to him is known to make grown men cry. I had to try that of course!

It didn’t disappoint, I let it simmer for twice as long as the recipe I was following to get to that intense and rich gravy I was imagining and looking for. It was truly amazing. We didn’t end up crying, but the spicy Koriander & Mint Chutney helped a bit with that ;-). We served it both with steamed cumin rice, but I can imagine Naan would have been great with it too to mop up all the juices. I will definitely try both recipes again!

Nalli Nihari - Indian Slow cooked Lamb Stew

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (11 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5)
Dinner Indian
By Saffron Serves: 3-4
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 2 hours 30 minutes Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes


  • 1 kg lamb leg pieces with bone (lamb shanks)
  • 2 medium sized onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp red chilly powder or flakes
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • salt to taste
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 2 cm ginger, grated + extra to serve
  • 1 green chilly finely chopped
  • ghee and oil
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • Nihari Masala
  • 3 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2tsp fennel seed
  • 3 long dried red chilies
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 3 green cardamoms
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
  • 1/2 tsp dry ginger powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cloves
  • 1/2 a stick of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds
  • To serve
  • Naan or steamed rice
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice / lemon wedges
  • coriander leaves
  • green chilies, finely chopped
  • strips of ginger
  • Koriander & Mint Chutney (optional), this is the store bought or recipe



Dry roast all the each of the ingredients for the Nihari Masala powder and grind it to a fine powder.


In a large heavy bottomed pan heat the ghee and fry the onions till they are well browned. Remove and keep aside till required.


To the same ghee, add the lamb and fry along with the nihari masala power till the meat becomes nice and brown.


Add half the fried onions, salt to taste and 2-3 cups of water and cook till the meat is tender, ± 2 hours.


Fry up the the onions you set aside again until nice an crispy, add to the stew.


Make a paste of the flour with 5 tablespoon of water (make sure there are no lumps) and add this to the stew and continue to simmer till the gravy thickens.


Taste and season to your liking.


Sprinkle lemon juice and garnish with ginger strips, coriander leaves, chopped green chili's and koriander chutney (optional).


Serve with steamed rice or naan.

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