Veal Shank Nihari: A Flavorful Journey Through the Exquisite Recipe

Written by: Najma A.



Time to read 5 min


Nihari, a classic dish from the Indian subcontinent, has a history that dates back to the Mughal era. Its rich and aromatic flavors have made it a beloved dish that transcends borders and has found a special place on dining tables worldwide. While traditionally made with beef or mutton, this blog will introduce you to a compelling variation: Veal Shank Nihari. The tender and succulent meat of veal shanks combined with the magical blend of spices creates a dish perfect for special occasions or to treat yourself to a delightful culinary experience. In this blog, we will explore the history of nihari, the unique twist that veal shanks bring to this dish, and a step-by-step recipe to create your very own Veal Shank Nihari.

The History of Veal Nihari

  • Nihari, derived from the Arabic word "Nahar" (morning), was traditionally a breakfast dish enjoyed by the nawabs and royalty during the Mughal era. It was meant to be a slow-cooked, hearty meal that would provide sustenance throughout the day. Over time, nihari evolved into a rich and flavorful stew that has become a favorite in many households.
  • The key to a great nihari is the slow-cooking process, which allows the spices to meld with the meat, creating a delicious, aromatic gravy. The dish was often prepared overnight and served for a lavish breakfast the following day.
  • Traditionally, nihari is prepared with beef or mutton shanks, but veal shanks bring a unique and delightful twist to this dish. Veal is known for its tender and succulent meat, making it an excellent choice for slow-cooked dishes like nihari. When simmered with a fragrant blend of spices, the veal shanks result in a rich and delicate dish.
  • Veal is the meat of young calves, typically under six months of age, and is prized for its tenderness and mild flavor. It is a beautiful choice for those who prefer a milder taste than mutton or beef's more robust flavors. The use of veal shanks in nihari elevates the dish to a new level of refinement while maintaining its traditional essence.

Ingredients for Veal Shank Nihari

To prepare Veal Shank recipe, you will need the following ingredients:

For the veal shanks:

  • 4 veal shanks
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, finely sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala

For the nihari gravy:

  • 2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
  • 2 large onions, finely sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 2 teaspoons red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 4 cups water
  • Salt, to taste
  • Fresh coriander leaves, for garnish
    Sliced green chilies for garnish
History of Nihari

The Cooking Process

Now, let's dive into the cooking process to create your Veal Shank Nihari:

Step 1: Marinate the Veal Shanks

  • In a large bowl, combine the veal shanks with minced garlic, ginger, and all the dry spices mentioned in the "For the veal shanks" section.
  • Mix well and let the veal shanks marinate for at least 2 hours, ideally overnight in the refrigerator. This allows the spices to penetrate the meat, resulting in a more flavorful dish.

Step 2: Cook the Veal Shanks

  • Heat vegetable oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or a pressure cooker.
  • Add the sliced onion and sauté until it turns translucent.
  • Add the marinated veal shanks and sear them on all sides until they are browned.
  • Add water to cover the veal shanks and bring it to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat, cover, and let the veal shanks simmer until tender. If using a pressure cooker, cook for about 20-25 minutes or follow your pressure cooker's instructions.

Step 3: Prepare the Nihari Gravy

  • In a separate pan, heat the ghee and add the sliced onions.
  • Sauté the onions until they turn golden brown and caramelized.
  • Add ginger and garlic paste and cook for a few minutes until the raw smell disappears.
  • Add chopped tomatoes, red chili powder, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and garam masala.
  • Cook the masala until the oil starts to separate from it.
  • Mix well with the cooked veal shanks and the stock to the masala.
  • Add water as needed to achieve the desired consistency, typically a thick stew-like texture.
  • Simmer the nihari gravy for 20-30 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld and the oil to float on top.
    Season with salt to taste.

Step 4: Serve Your Veal Shank Nihari

  • Your Veal Shank Nihari is ready to be served!
  • Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and sliced green chilies for a burst of color and a hint of spiciness.
  • Nihari is traditionally served with naan or parathas, but you can enjoy it with steamed rice or roti.
Cooking Process Veal Shank Nihari

The Cultural Significance of Veal Shank Nihari and Its Evolution

what is Veal Shank Nihari?

Veal Shank Nihari, a delectable twist on the traditional nihari, carries a rich cultural significance that reflects the evolving culinary landscape of the Indian subcontinent. This exquisite dish, blending heritage and innovation, showcases how tastes and traditions have transformed.

Historical Roots and Royal Origins

Nihari, as a culinary tradition, traces its origins to the Mughal era, where it was created as a hearty breakfast dish for the nawabs and royals. The name "nihari" derives from the Arabic word "Nahar," meaning morning, signifying its purpose as a sustaining morning meal. This dish was slow-cooked overnight to provide the energy and nourishment needed for an active day.

Evolution Through the Ages

Over time, Nihari transcended its royal beginnings, evolving to accommodate the diverse cultural influences in the region. The dish started going from the royal courts to the streets, becoming a beloved part of the local cuisine. While the traditional beef or mutton shanks remained at the heart of the recipe, regional variations and personal preferences introduced subtle changes to the dish's flavor profile.

The Advent of Veal Shank Nihari

The introduction of Veal Shank Nihari marks a significant turning point in this culinary journey. With its delicate and tender meat, Veal brings a refreshing twist to the traditional Nihari. This adaptation caters to evolving tastes and dietary preferences, providing a milder flavor while retaining the dish's essence.
Veal Shank Nihari beautifully marries tradition and innovation, highlighting the adaptability and versatility of Indian cuisine. This cultural fusion symbolizes the harmonious coexistence of time-honored recipes and the ever-changing palate of a dynamic society.

Modern Celebrations and Beyond

Veal Shank Nihari has become a favored choice for special occasions, family gatherings, and even everyday meals. Its cultural significance extends beyond just a delightful dish; it reflects the multicultural fabric of the Indian subcontinent, where age-old traditions coexist with contemporary influences. As people celebrate their heritage while embracing new culinary ideas, Veal Shank Nihari is a testament to the rich tapestry of flavors and cultures.

Cultural Significance of Veal Shank Nihari

About One Stop Halal

Welcome to the Home of the Halal  Veal. We carry various veal cuts that are hard to find elsewhere. We deliver to your doorstep anywhere in the United States within 1-2 business days.


Veal Shank Nihari is a delightful twist on the classic nihari, offering a milder yet incredibly tender meat experience. The combination of fragrant spices and slow-cooked veal shanks results in a dish that will tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving more. Whether you're hosting a special dinner or want to treat yourself to a culinary adventure, this recipe is a must-try. So, roll up your sleeves, gather the ingredients, and embark on a flavorful journey through Veal Shank Nihari. Your taste buds will thank you for it!

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