HYDERABAD:For food lovers, the area from the national capital referred to as Purani Dilli or Delhi 6 is known for signature Mughlai dishes. One of the more popular among these is the Nahari. The slow-cooked gravy with soft meat, which is also called Nihari. The word Nahari comes from the Arabic word ‘Nahar’ which means day, and appropriately the dish has supposedly originated towards the end of Mughal Empire as food to be consumed in the mornings. Apart from the Dilli version, Nahari has many variants in different regions such as Karachi, Awadh, Hyderabad, and Bangladesh.
It is usually made with shanks of mutton or beef, though preparations using trotters and even goat head are not unheard of. Meat sautéed in desi ghee is cooked with onions, special spices, and adequate water to prepare the broth, which is simmered overnight over a low flame. Over these hours, the stew is enriched by the fat from the meat and the bone marrow, which gets dissolved into the gravy. Ghee provides a silky touch to the texture of the dish, whereas signature spices add to the taste. Before serving, garnish of long thin slices of ginger and chopped green chillies complete the dish. In some places, there is a convention of adding leftover meat from the previous day nihari while cooking to add further taste.
While Gali Kababiyan or the lane next to Jama Masjid in Delhi is known for its hole in the wall nihariwale, one of the bigger restaurants there is the redoubtable Karim’s, which has a century-old legacy of serving food from the Mughal courts. The founders belong to the family of a chef from the royal courts of Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal Emperor. Apart from other dishes, Apart from dishes like Burra and Nargisi Kofta, Karim’s is known for their silky smooth mutton nahari, which is served along with yeast laden Khameeri Roti or sweetish Sheermal to their customers every morning.
While the Hyderabadis pride themselves on our local version of Nihari (which is a thinner and spicier broth and usually uses paya, nalli or zabaan), a lot of interest has been generated about the Dilli ki Nahari served at the recently opened branch of Karim’s at Tolichowki. The place is not open for breakfast but you can savour this, and other Delhi Mughlai dishes from noon onwards. According to Chandra Shekhar Janapati, a partner in Karim’s in Hyderabad, the taste of Dilli ki Nahari lies in the special spice mix used for it, as well as the proportion of meat and masala. The gravy is low on tanginess, but much thicker and richer than the
Hyderabadi version as it has lots of ghee, and a little bit of wheat flour and sautéed gram flour. The khameeri roti served here is prepared by mixing two varieties of wheat flour, and is perfect accompaniment for the dish.
Sabyasachi is a food enthusiast and blogs at www.foodaholix.in