Pakistani Slow Cooked Beef Stew – Nihari

Here we are yet again, on the 10th day of this month, which means it is reveal day for the Muslim Food Bloggers Challenges! This month’s challenge was to use meat as the star of our dish, as Eid al Adha is coming upon us. The challenge asked that we aim to use mutton as the meat of choice, however I used beef because mutton is not eaten in our home (although you can totally swap out beef for mutton in this recipe!).

I chose to make Nihari, a traditional Pakistani/North Indian delicacy that is a spicy slow cooked stew. Nihari is a dish that has eluded me ever since I started cooking seriously. I know I could just throw it together easily with a packet of ready-made Shan masala, but I’ve been wanting to learn how to make it at home from scratch.

I stumbled upon this recipe by Food Fusion, and decided to adapt it to personal tastes.

You guys, this is the real deal. The Nihari secret is out, and now you can wow even the toughest critics with this amazing from-scratch Nihari!

Quick note- I mention the use of a banana pepper towards the end of the recipe. Although it can easily be replaced with a regular green chili, I highly recommend using it as it imparts an amazing flavor into the Nihari. It is my mother in-laws secret, which isn’t so much of a secret anymore 😉

Thank you once again to the lovely group of ladies who organize these challenges month after month! I look forward to when the challenges are announces, and wait excitedly until reveal day 🙂 Be sure to check out all the yummies everyone shared for this month’s challenge by clicking on the link below-

 

 

Nihari

Yield: 4 – 6 Servings

Ingredients:

For Nihari Spice Mix:

  • ¼ cup fennel seeds
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 ½ tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppers
  • 1 tablespoon cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger powder
  • ¼ – ½ piece nutmeg
  • 1 small piece mace
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 1-inch pieces cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 black cardamoms
  • 4 cardamoms
  • 2 tablespoons coriander powder
  • 1 tablespoon red chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

For Nihari:

  • 1 ½ – 2 pounds beef, cut into large cubes
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste
  • ¾ cup Nihari spice blend
  • Salt, as needed.
  • 1 banana pepper or jalapeno (or desired amount of green chillies)

For Tempering/ Bhagaar:

  • ¼ cup oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced (½ if onion is large)

For Garnish:

  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Ginger, cut into matchsticks
  • Fried onions
  • Lemon or lime juice

Directions:

Make Nihari Spice Blend:

Combine fennel seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black peppers, cloves, ginger powder, nutmeg, mace, star anise, cinnamon, bay leave, black cardamoms, and cardamoms in the jar of a spice grinder. Grind into a fine powder. Transfer to a small bowl and add coriander powder, red chili powder, paprika, and turmeric. Mix well and set aside.

Make Nihari:

In a small bowl, combine wheat flour and water. Whisk until smooth and no lumps remain. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large vessel over medium high heat. Add meat and cook, stirring along, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add ginger-garlic paste, mix, and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add Nihari spice blend and salt, and mix well. Add enough water to cover the meat by a couple of inches, about 6 to 8 cups. Add the flour and water mixture, stir, and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 1 ½ to 3 hours, stirring intermittently, until the meat is cooked through and falling apart and desired consistency has been reached.

Add green chillies and reduce heat to low.

Make Tempering/ Bhagaar:

Heat oil in a small pan over medium high heat. Add onions and cook until golden brown, stirring often. Once onions have turned golden, carefully pour the mixture over the Nihari and cover. Cook over low heat for ten minutes. Remove from heat and serve with desired garnishes.

 

Note: Extra Nihari Spice Blend may be stored at room temperature for use at a later time.

Ground Beef Taco Filling

Growing up in California, my family and I were fond lovers of Mexican and Tex-Mex food. Homemade tacos and burritos were common dinner staples, and going out to Mexican restaurants was routine. My Ohio born-and-bred-son seems to have inherited his momma’s California genes, as he’s a complete taco lover! He looks forward to Taco Nights, and loves to customize his plate with his favorite fillings and toppings.

This recipe is a basic one for a ground beef taco or burrito. Use it as you please. I picked it up from Mel’s Kitchen Café.

 

 

Ground Beef Taco Filling

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ large onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup (or one 8-ounce can) tomato sauce
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced, optional

Directions:

Heat a large vessel over medium heat. Add the ground beef and onion. Cook, stirring often, until the meat is cooked through and most of the liquid has evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes.

Add chili powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Cook for a minute, then add the tomato sauce and jalapeno (if using). Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until most of the liquid has dried up, 5 to 10 minutes. Serve as desired.

Ground Beef Puffs / Keema Puffs (Patties)

I’ve shared a lot of nontraditional (nontraditional for us Pakistanis) Ramadan foods, and I think it’s time to share some traditional Pakistani Ramzan fare 😉

We love the deep-fried goodness that are pakoray (fritters) and samosay (triangular meat or vegetable filled pastry), but we try to limit our intake of them to 1 to 2 times a week (2 is really pushing it) during Ramadan.  I love the ease of homemade Puffs/ Patties (pronounced pey-teez), and they make for a really impressive addition to your spread.  The key to amazing Patties is to use a good quality puff pastry, and you need a knockout filling recipe.  I finally scored a filling recipe that I can use as my go-to from Fatima Cooks.  The resulting Patties are delicious and gorgeous, and totally stand up to the beauties from Pakistani bakeries 🙂

 

KeemaPuffsPic

 

Keema Puffs/ Patties

Yield: Varies

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • ½ onion, diced small
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • Handful chopped cilantro
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 pounds puff pastry, thawed and cut into desired size (may need more/less)

Directions:

Heat oil in a vessel over medium-high heat. Add onions and ginger-garlic paste, and sauté until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add coriander powder, cumin powder, black pepper, red pepper flakes, red chili powder, and salt. Cook for 1 minute. Add ground beef, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Stir often while breaking up large lumps. Cook until all liquid has evaporated and mixture is dry. Cool completely, then add cilantro. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400°F and set aside a parchment lined baking sheet.

Prepare an egg-wash by whisking egg and water together in a small bowl. Set aside.

Lay puff pastry out on a lightly floured surface. Place 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground beef mixture in the center of the pastry. Fold pastry as desired and seal edges by pressing down gently with a fork. Place on prepared baking sheet and continue with remaining ground beef and pastry, placing at least 2-inches apart. Brush with egg wash, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown on top and on the bottom. Cool for a few minutes before serving.

Note: Puffs can be kept frozen and baked at a later time. Freeze unbaked puffs (with egg-wash) in a single layer on a parchment or plastic wrap lined baking sheet. When completely frozen, remove from pan and store in a freezer-safe container. Bake unthawed, adding a few minutes extra to baking time.

Chili Mac and An Invitation!

My son is a big fan of chips and salsa, so I asked my husband to pick some up on his recent trip to Sam’s Club. He came home with 2 huge jars (though to his credit, they sell it packaged that way) of salsa. So in an effort to put a dent in our huge salsa supply, I searched online and stumbled upon this recipe for Chili Mac. I took a quick look at the recipe and realized that I had almost everything, and went ahead and gave it a whirl. People, try this! The name is totally misleading, and the meal itself is really healthy. For a meal that serves four, it only has ½ cup of cheese. Also, regular pasta can be swapped with whole wheat or even veggie pasta. It’s a healthy and delicious meal that comes together very quickly.

Also, on a totally different note, I have an invitation for you! My blogging buddy Sarah, of Flour and Spice, recently reached out to me with an idea. Sarah suggested that we team up and host a virtual Eid Party. The premise of the “party” is that those who choose to participate will post a recipe that is evocative of Eid for them, whether that be traditional or something new/innovative. So now my friends, is that I invite you to join us! If you think that you would be interested in participating, just leave me a comment saying that you would. We’ll be sending out emails later this week to everyone that we know, so be on the lookout 🙂

 

ChiliMacPic

 

 

Chili Mac

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • ½ pound small shell pasta
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup picante sauce (regular salsa can be used as well, although additional liquid might need to be added)
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar or Mexican style cheese

Directions:

Cook the pasta until al dente according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.

In a large pot over medium-high heat, cook ground beef until well browned and all liquid has evaporated. Stir in picante sauce, corn, chili powder, and tomatoes. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes.

Stir in pasta and cheese. Cover and cook until the cheese has melted.