History of Nihari

In Food

The word “Nihar” originated from the Arabic word, “Nahar” which means “morning”. It was originally eaten by Nawabs in the Mughal Empire as a breakfast item after their morning prayers.

Nihari was developed in Old Delhi, India, 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 used to be 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.

After Pakistan gained its independence in 1947, a huge wave of immigrants from Delhi settled in Karachi. As many of these immigrants were already involved in the food industry, restaurants were quickly established in Karachi.

When classically prepared, Nihari used to take approximately 6-8 hours just to stew, not to mention preparation time. Thankfully, with the help of modern technology and methods, it is much easier achieve the same result in less time.

Although this dish was traditionally eaten in the early mornings, we think it’s delicious any time of the day!

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