Story behind the Nihari


Review on the chef's special menu for a special occassion.

In the month of April, I have a few very special birthdays to celebrate. One of them being of my dear dad.

This year as he completed another year of being awesome, my family choose to treat him with his favorite food. Now, you must understand, he doesn’t like anything that is not North Indian cuisine so our restaurant choices were limited and we made a list:

  • Gymkhana, Souq Waqif
  • Taj Rasoi, Marriott Doha
  • Bukhara (Just cause my family name is Bukhari, doesn’t mean we own it. Though that would be really nice)
  • Bombay Balti, Raddison Blu
  • Chingari, Raddison Blu

There was one key factor for us to choose a restaurant. Where will we get the best “nihari”?

What is Nihari? Nihari (Urdu: نهاری‎) is a stew consisting of slow-cooked meat mainly beef or lamb along with bone marrow.

Origin of the name: The word Nihar originated from the Arabic word “Nahar” (Arabic: نهار‎‎) which means “day” as it was typically served after sunrise Fajr prayers in India.

Story behind: This rich dish originated in Old Delhi (Jama Masjid and Daryaganj areas) in the late 18th century during the last throes of the Mughal Empire. The Nawab ate Nihari early in the morning after Fajr prayers and then took a long nap before going to Zhuhr (afternoon prayers).

Chef Dhanu Jiveesh, at Taj Rasoi in Marriott Doha, took up the challenge to ignite and take the party of ten back to old Delhi with his take on the traditional Nihari.

Let’s put it this way.. he didn’t disappoint us!

The nihari is not on the menu of Taj Rasoi hence Chef Dhanu taking the time take on a big request like this was truly special.

The trick to mastering the art of preparing nihari starts from the purchase of the meat. Choosing the right quality, quantity, size is very important. This dish must be slow cooked and usually preparation starts the night before to have the succulent juices absorbed by the meat.

Needless to say, you must try the dish & more importantly, give Chef Dhanu a chance to take you to old Delhi while being in the comfort of Doha life.

Signing off,

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