There is a slight difference between paya and nihari which I didn’t know until I came to USA !!! Everytime we went to our favorite Indian-Pakistani restaurant , there were always three different items on the menu – Paya , Nihari and Paya-Nihari !!! One of our restaurateur friends removed my confusion !! Payas are traditionally made with Beef or lamb feet , while Nihari is made with shanks , traditionally beef shank. Paya-Nihari is something which is the combination of both , feet and shank .
Here you go with my style Paya-nihari . The whole process though seems complex at the first instance , but in fact , it is not . It involves three parts;
1. Making the yakhni ( stock) of the meat and bones
2. Cooking of the meat with yakhni for the second time ,
3. Bagar or tempering with sliced onion and garlics .
Though in the authentic Nihari recipe , there is no use of onion at all !! But our Bengali taste bud and heart cannot think of desi style meat without onion at all !!! So in my recipe , like many other tasty Bengali Nihari recipes , I did use onion . Being influenced by my Sylhety connection and my love for “foincha/ poncha ” ( Sylhety style paya-nihar) ,I also used “Shatkora ” – a tangy , flavorful citrus fruit skin .
1st step: ( For the yakhni/ stock/ broth)
1 and 1/2 kg Beef shank and feet
8 green cardamoms
1 cinnamon stick ( 2″ long)
2 bay leaves
1 tea spoon cumin
1 tea spoon sha jeera
1 tea spoon fennel
1 tea spoon whole coriander
1/2 tbl spoon ( around 15) cloves
1/2 tbl spoon black pepper
3 black cardamoms
2 star anise
1 large onion , cut in halves
4 cloves of garlic
1 ( 2 ” long) dry ginger
salt to taste
This is dry ginger or sonth . I took this large for the measurement given . Next time if your ginger dries out , don’t throw them out . 😀
1 cup finely sliced onion
1 tbl spoon Ginger paste
2 tea spoon garlic paste
2 tea spoon red chili powder
1/2 ( half) tea spoon turmeric
1 tbl spoon paprika powder
2/3 green cardamom , 1 small 1″ cinnamon stick , 2 bay leaves
2 – 3 tbl spoon Nihari masala powder
3 teaspoon besan/ gram flour and 1 tea spoon atta/ moida
salt if needed
For the Nihari masala mix , please click the link below
3rd step : ( tempering/ bagar)
1/4 th cup ghee
3 tbl spoon garlic
2 tbl spoon sliced onion
1. First make the stock or Akhni . This process would also help to tenderize the meat too as the shanks are the toughest meat , they need more time to be done .
For the yakhni , take a maslin cloth and put all the spices including the dry ginger mentioned in ingredients step 1 , except onion , garlic and salt . Tie them up tightly . Now add good quantity of water over the meat . Add the onion , garlic and the masala pocket into it . Boil the meat covered on medium low flame for 4-5 hours . It took me around 4 hours . Add water after every 1 hour . The water should not be dried out . And when the meat is done , there should be enough stock. . Add salt in the middle of the process , but not at the beginning . take out the maslin masala pocket from the stock .
2. Now , for the 2nd step , heat oil in a pot . Add the sliced onion and fry until they turn brown , the form of bereshta . Add the green cardamom , cinnamon and bayleaves . Now add the ginger, garlic paste . add little stock from the meat . Add the chili powder, turmeric powder , paprika powder . Fry well adding the stock little by little . Add the meat from the stock . Cook for a while . Then add the whole stock . Since salt is used while making the stock , careful adding salt at this point . If needed add salt , otherwise not .
3. Dry roast 3 tea spoon besan( bengal gram) and 1 tea spoon atta or flour until fragrant . Now mix it with enough water . I took half a cup of water to mix them . Mix smoothly . Add it into the meat using a strainer, so that there is no risk of lump . While putting it into the meat , there should be enough gravy . This besan-flour mix would help to thicken the paya nihari a bit . But careful not too much . Just a slight thickening . After adding the besan-flour , cook on medium-low flame for around half n hour – 45 minutes . If you wish you can add few pieces of Shatkora ( Sylhet special , a citric lemon like fruit, only skin is used) after adding the flour . Add the Nihari Masala at the end .
4. Now the tempering . Heat ghee and add the onion , garlic . Fry until dark golden brown . Add in the hot nihari and cover with lid . 🙂
Serve with Porota , naan or rice !! Before you serve , garnish with Julianne cut ginger and green chilies .
1. Please don’t use onion paste in the Nihari or paya .
2. Don’t skip ghee for the tempering . It really enhances the taste .