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A Nawabi cure for common cold

Chef Shahnawaz Qureshi shares the recipe for the great Awadhi favourite, Nalli Nihari

When the food you serve is based on 200-year-old recipes, there’s bound to be a handful of stories that go along with their fragrance and flavour.

Nalli Nihari
Nalli Nihari by Chef Shahnawaz Qureshi, sous chef, Saffron, JW Marriott at Juhu

So when we ask Chef Shahnawaz Qureshi, sous chef, Saffron, JW Marriott, to part with one of his most treasured recipes, we cannot wait to hear the bonus anecdote about the Lucknowi mutton stew, Nalli Nihari.

“When the last King of Awadh, Nawab Wajid Ali Shah caught a nasty cold, the hakim prescribed a bowlful of boiled mutton paya (trotters). This was in the mid-1800s and hakims were the only medical practitioners,” begins Qureshi.

The Nawab, for want of a better solution, asked his cook to prepare the dish. What he presented to the Nawab was a spicy, rich concoction — just what the latter needed to clear his sinuses.

Low on cholesterol
“The dish has since become a Lucknowi breakfast favourite, to be enjoyed with kulchas, especially in the winters,” reveals the chef, who admits to having altered the age-old recipes for patrons at the restaurant.“Everyone worries about cholesterol so much I have made sure that I use the minimal amount of fat. The taste remains the same though,” he insists.

Nalli nihari

Ingredients
>> 1 cup lamb baby with bones    
>> 1 tsp mace         
>> 1 bay leaf        
>> 2 pods green cardamom, whole    
>> 1 tsp full cloves
>> 1 pod black cardamom    
>> 2 tsp  garlic chopped    
>> 1 tsp ginger chopped    
>> 1 tsp garam masala    
>> 1 tbsp coriander powder
>> 1 tsp yellow chilli powder
>> 1 tsp turmeric powder    
>> 1 tsp cumin powder    
>> 1 tbsp fried onions
>> ½ cup  curd, whisked        
>> Salt to taste
>> 1 tbsp ghee        
>> 1 cup lamb stock    
>> 1 tsp gram flour (Besan)    
>> 1 tsp kewda (rose) water

Method
>> Boil lamb and remove the scum.
>> In another hot pan, add ghee, garam masala and ginger-garlic paste; stir till the paste is cooked.
>> Add the onions and spice powders and sauté with the lamb. Add lamb stock and let it cook till it gets tender
>> Add curd and diluted gram flour to the gravy. Season with salt
>> To finish, add kewda water to the gravy

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