Legendary dish Nihari was originated by Shah Jahan’s Head chef’s (khansamas) of The Royal kitchen, a spicy meat stew that is slow-cooked overnight in large cauldrons called “Shab Deg”.
This is how the story goes, In the 17th century, soon after Shah Jahan established his capital in Delhi, a virulent flu swept through the sprawling city. It was then that the shahi khansama and the shahi hakim joined their hands to devise a robust spice-packed stew that would keep the body warm and fortified!
During the reign of the Mughal Empire. Muslim Nawabs (Noblemen) would eat Nihari after their sunrise prayers (Fajr), after which they would take naps until the afternoon Muslim prayers (Zhuhr). It later became a regular breakfast dish for the working class due to its energy-boosting properties.
Nihari is slow-cooked overnight in large pots in order to be given to labourers when they participated in the substantial construction projects sanctioned by the empire. Nihari was served free to labourers.
Although this dish was traditionally eaten in the early mornings, we think it’s delicious any time of the day!