Nihari of Pakistan

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What’s on the menu for Pakistan? More lamb, folks!

For indeed, Nihari is a lamb stew. Luckily, we had leftover ground lamb from Mongolia. Most recipes I found used whole pieces of lamb, but the ground lamb work just fine for us.

Naturally, there are variations of a signature dish, and I judged this particular recipe to be a winner. There was one minor detail that I did not consider: the amount of cayenne pepper used. It’s one Tablespoon, people. With a capital T. Looking back at other recipes, I found ones that used more reasonable amounts, but I was not thinking when I dumped that mountain of red dust into the pot. The spiciest test taste of MY LIFE, I quickly adjusted appropriately with some acidity and coconut milk.

That aside, this was delightful! I made homemade Ghee for the first time (a clarified butter where the milk proteins are removed from the butter), and fresh cilantro and lime added much needed freshness to the multitude of spices. Caramelized onions are always a good thing, too.

Ingredient List

For the Garam Masala

  • Poppy seeds
  • Coriander seeds
  • Cumin seeds
  • Fennel seeds
  • Black peppercorns
  • Grated nutmeg
  • Whole cloves
  • Green cardamom pods
  • Black cardamom pod
  • Star anise
  • Cinnamon stick

For the Nihari

  • Canola oil
  • Yellow onion
  • Lamb shanks
  • Cayenne
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Flour
  • Ghee
  • Cilantro
  • Lemon or lime
  • Thai chiles
  • Naan

Quick Quotes

S: “This dish both succeeds at setting my mouth a-blaze and making lamb taste good.”

T: “Spicy! But the dish was a good, pleasant surprise!”

Trivial Trifles

  • The capital of Pakistan is Islamabad
  • The official languages are English and Urdu
  • Pakistan is the only nation created in the name of Islam, and became an independent country for Muslims in 1947
  • Bangladesh was formerly apart of Pakistan, known as East Pakistan, but became independent in 1971
  • Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist and advocate for women’s education, is the youngest person to receive the Nobel Prize. You must know her story
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