Beef Nehari ~ Indian Beef Shank Stew


Beef Nehari-Indian Beef Stew

Happy New Year, lovely friends! I hope 2016 is off to a fantastic start for all of you; brimming with projects, resolutions, plans and prosperity. Our New Year’s Eve was quiet as usual. I think I was asleep by 11.44 pm, and I know the time because my brother texted me from Texas, soon after their New Year arrived, and I was able to text back with sleep laden, bleary eyes.

I can’t remember any exciting New Years Eve in a long time. It’s not like I did all that much when I was young and carefree, but I really can’t remember celebrating in any late night, festivities manner. Boy, am I getting old.

Beef Nehari~Indian Beef Stew

I did have plans to host a New Year’s Day lunch but a couple of days before hand, I got some sad news of my uncle passing away. He was quite dear to me and it just seemed wrong to throw a party when my heart was not in it. I cancelled the event and my friends were all very gracious and wonderful about it. I plan to reschedule as soon as I can.

Monday morning was a lesson in reality; the reality of back to work and school and the knowledge that there are no more holidays for a while. I don’t work a regular schedule but man, was I depressed. I’ve always enjoyed the holidays. The weather, the parties, the shopping but especially the time off. 

Beef Newari-Indian Beef Stew

Being at home without a schedule or deadline and having my husband home for 3 days every week was amazing. We did nothing and enjoyed every second of it. We did take a trip up to Idaho Springs, to hike around the lake at the base of Mount Evans, over the weekend. It was just the two of us and it was so exhilarating and just gorgeous to be surrounded by all the beauty. We walked across the frozen lake and marvelled at the layer of thick ice holding us up, and hiked through scented pine trees and firs. 

Frozen Echo lake

Frozen Echo lake

The sky was the bluest blue with barely a wisp of a cloud; the air was brisk and refreshing; and the snow glinted like sparkly glitter freshly spilled from the heavens. I couldn’t resist the sparkles and scooped up a handful. It was cold, dry and glittery; the crystals shone in my hands like diamonds. I blew lightly and they fluttered away, gleaming in the sunlight as they danced away.

Beef Nehari-Indian Beef Stew

The sound of our footsteps on the snow was deafening. You’d think that soft snow wouldn’t make so much noise, but slightly packed snow and hiking boots make for some loud, squeaking sounds! We didn’t realise the noise until we stepped onto the pavement to walk back to the car and our ears were revolting from the silence.

Taking a breather under the pine tree.

Taking a breather under the pine tree.

Sunday was spent at home getting ready for the week ahead, cleaning out the garage, the kitchen, changing stuff around and watching the divisional championships for football. My Denver Broncos are almost there if they can hold on 3 games and win the SuperBowl! 

I started this Beef Nehari right after a late breakfast and stuck it in the oven. It braised all day on low while we went about our day. After the garage was rearranged, the kitchen sorted out and organised, the clutter decluttered….somewhat, and the last game of the night on the telly, we sat down to steaming bowls of beef nehari and hot naan. Comfort food at its simplest and best.

Beef Nehari-Indian Beef Stew

I’m all for balanced meals and all but sometimes, a bowl of meat and bread cannot be messed with. I wish I could say there are some green accompaniments to this but there really aren’t, unless you are counting the cilantro, mint and limes that dress this baby up. Herbs count, right? 

Beef Nehari is a famous breakfast/brunch dish in India and Pakistan. The vats of beef or lamb shanks and feet are simmered over night, ready for breakfast the next morning. My father recalled how it was his job, as a youngster, to run down to the local restaurant where nehari had been bubbling all night and bring back the coveted curry for breakfast.

Traditionally, this is made with lamb/mutton shanks and feet. I don’t like either. The smell of feet cooking on the days my father requested this was quite unbearable. I usually spent the day out. A slightly updated nehari uses beef or lamb shanks; gelatinous but with chunks of tender meat, this one I can manage to eat. I like the broth from the feet nehari because it is a delicious bone broth, flavoured with warm spices but I am not a fan of the fatty, gelatinous meat from the feet. 

Beef Newari-Indian Beef Stew

This one is a bit more substantial with the broth being thickened to more of a stew consistency. I also used plain beef with bones instead of shanks because I don’t really the gooey meat from the legs. I know, I know. But this recipe is good for everyone; for those who like gooey meat and for those who have an aversion to gooey meat. This is a flavourful stew with big chunks of tender meat, warm spices and a thick gravy. A squeeze of lime, a sprinkling of fresh ginger, cilantro and mint and it is ready to be mopped up with warm, buttery naan.

This is perfect winter food. The meat cooks slowly in the oven and is low maintenance. Stop by to check the water level every now and then and give it a stir. Addition of fried onions and a thickener like a flour slurry or corn starch, thickens the stew up before serving.

This can be made using a slow cooker and I have made it like that a few times. But I have to justify my Le Creuset purchases so I bypassed the slow cooker this time and broke out the heavy duty dutch oven.

Beef Nehari ~ Indian Beef Shank Stew


Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 6 servings

A hearty Indian style stew made with chunks of beef and bone.
  • 3 pounds/1.5kg large beef/lamb chunks with bone or beef/mutton shanks
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 tablespoon cumin, ground
  • 1 tablespoon coriander, ground
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne chilli powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, minced
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1 large onion, sliced thinly and fried
  • 8 cardamom pods
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 6 cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon mace
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 cups of water
  • salt to taste
  • fresh ginger, julienned
  • cilantro
  • mint
  • limes
  • naan for serving
  1. Preheat the oven to 300F/120C
  2. Wash and dry the meat.
  3. In a large dutch oven, add the oil and brown the meat.
  4. Even browning isn't necessary, just get some colour on it.
  5. Remove the meat and pour out the oil if more than a tablespoon.
  6. Otherwise, add the coriander, cumin, chilli powder, turmeric and garlic and ginger.
  7. Toss the meat around in the spices and cook a minute.
  8. Add the 6 cups of water and stir, scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon to deglaze.
  9. Bring the pot up to a boil, cover with the lid and place in the oven.
  10. Let the meat cook slowly for about 2-3 hours.
  11. While the meat is in the oven, have the fried onions ready and grind all the remaining spices.
  12. Make a slurry with the ¼ cup of flour and 1 cup of water.
  13. After 2-3 hours, slowly remove the dutch oven and add the fried onions with their oil, the ground spice mixture, 1 cup of water and the flour slurry.
  14. Stir carefully and then cover and cook for another hour till the meat is tender and the gravy is thick.
  15. How long it takes to tenderise the meat depends on the meat and for me, altitude.
  16. Generally, at 5600 feet/1706m, it takes me a long tome to get meat tender. That's why I use a pressure cooker most of the time.
  17. But sometimes, you just want the slow cook flavour and then you have to put aside some time.
  18. The meat took about 4 hours to get really tender and fall off the bone soft.
  19. By this time the gravy was rich and thick.
  20. If you are at sea level, check your meat at the 2 hour mark and then if it's getting soft, add the flour slurry, onions and spices.
  21. Cook for another hour, for a total of 3-3½ hours.
  22. When it's time to serve, taste for salt and add as needed.
  23. Put ginger slivers, cilantro, mint and limes on the table for guests to garnish as desired.
  24. Serve with warm naan.

Beef Nehari-Indian Beef Stew

Back to the grind stone now. My time off will be ending soon but I think I have till the end of January before it really kicks in again. Then all the cooking starts again. It has been really nice to just cook for home the past few weeks; no stress, deadlines, menus to arrange. I’ve cooked what I felt like cooking and if I didn’t want to, we ate out.

Our eating out is coming to an end as I have put my husband on a diet and I’m joining him too so he has some support. We’ll see how that progresses! He has a terrible sweet tooth. After dinner last night, he asked for some gluten free cookies we have at home. I told him, no because of the added sugar. After about 15 minutes, while we are watching a show on tv, he yells out “I want just one cookie!” I just about died laughing, he’s hilarious. I made him a nice cup of tea instead.

How’s your New Year going?

  1. Your poor husband! I hope he is surviving his diet. I would think that with all the hiking and walking, he’d be fit and trim and able to eat as many cookies as he wants! This is certainly a hearty curry and I’m not sure I could manage it for breakfast! I have a friend who’s married to a Sri Lankan and she is now very good at cooking Sri Lankan curries. We are going there for lunch today for a Sri Lankan curry feast. Can’t wait! Sorry to hear you are now back at work; our kids are on holidays until the end of January and I’m enjoying a break from the routine of being on the go all the time xx
    Hotly Spiced recently posted..In My Kitchen, January 2016My Profile

  2. HAPPY NEW YEAR LOVELY LADY!! Look at you, you look beautiful and that frozen lake, wow. Breathtaking views.
    That nehari is amazing, the color and everything about it is so good. My dad would eat this at a restaurant for years until they closed down. This sure is such a great dish for the cooler weather.
    Sorry to hear about your uncle Nazneen. The thing about growing old is that our parents and uncles/aunts are aging too. It is so hard to see them age. Hugs to you. May this year be filled with all great things.
    Yes, Monday was horribel.:)
    Asha recently posted..Spicy Tomato Puloa with VegetablesMy Profile

  3. Happy New Year! Always a low key celebration for us — we just stay at home and share a bottle of champagne. Would love to have had this — so much flavor packed into one dish! Really good –thanks.
    John@Kitchen Riffs recently posted..Happy Holidays!My Profile

  4. So sorry to hear about your uncle Nazneen, to God we all belong and to him we’ll return.
    What a lovely getaway for you and your husband… this is better than any celebration, I cherish the few moments I spend with my hubby alone :), so refreshing to have quiet adult conversations. Always happy to see your beautiful smile my friend. Happy new year to you, may 2016 brings only good things to you.
    What a great combination of spices you put in this dish, I bet it tastes and smells heavenly delicious.
    Amira recently posted..Aubergine in garlic sauceMy Profile

  5. What a wonderful place and way to celebrate the New Year, Nazneen. Those of us who have spent time outdoors in the woods during winter know just how “deafening” footsteps on the snow can be. And your stew would make for the perfect winter meal. Something about a pot of stew on the stove says winter to me. With the spices you’ve used, I can only imagine how flavorful this dish must have been and how wonderful the aromas were wafting out of your kitchen. Your family must have been drooling by the time the stew was brought to the table. 🙂
    Wishing you all a very happy and healthy new year!
    ChgoJohn recently posted..2015 Ends with a Bang … er … an eBook!My Profile

  6. This sounds exactly like a dish we would (and probably will) make! We had a similar idea lately and made Lamb Shahi Khorma, which was delicious! I have never thought to make it with beef, as beef and Indian food together is new to me. And, yes, cilantro sprinkled on top is the equivalent of a full salad. 🙂
    David recently posted..Babette’s {Half} FeastMy Profile

  7. Loved your winter photos and your comment about the squeaking sounds on the snow. It brought back memories of New Hampshire winters. A dish of your stew after a day out in the cold must be very welcomed. Wishing you and your family all the best in this new year.
    Karen (Back Road Journal) recently posted..New Year, New HopeMy Profile

  8. Look at you pretty lady! Nice photo of you under tree – but gosh darn it looks so cold – yall are a brave bunch to go hiking in that snow! I love the holidays for time off too, Nazneen so I feel your pain about the first Monday back!
    But – what a way to come back with this dish – it is comforting and so incredibly flavorful! My mom used to make a mutton stew with bones with marrow that we would suck out and your dish reminds me of hers! Happy New Year – hoping 2016 is joyous for yall!
    Shashi at RunninSrilankan recently posted..Craisins & Quinoa Breakfast BakeMy Profile