The Best Chicken Nihari Recipe

The Best Chicken Nihari Recipe

This is The Best Chicken Nihari Recipe because it’s SO easy, So quick, SO delicious! Impress your guests (or just yourself) with The Best Chicken Nihari Recipe Ever (No long cooking time!)

the best chicken nihari recipe

This recipe is very near and dear to my heart because it was taught to me by my beloved Nani Jaan. While there is no comparison with the one she makes herself, this is the closest version. I make it when I’m away from her, and my family loves it!

What is Chicken Nihari?

In simple words, Chicken Nihari is a Pakistani chicken stew.

If you liked my Chinioti Mutton Kunna or Restaurant Style Chicken Handi, you need to try this!

Types of Nihari

No doubt, Nihari is traditionally made of Beef and commonly served at Pakistani Restaurants. Here are some types of Nihari:

Why I call this The Best Chicken Nihari Recipe

Easy and Quick: This Chicken Nihari recipe is so easy and so quick. Foolproof and beginner-friendly!

Chicken Broth/Bone Alternate: Chicken bones or broth adds a very delicious flavor to traditional Nihari. However in this recipe, you can use chicken stock cubes and you will still get the best flavor.

What makes a perfect Nihari?

Tari/oil on top

Perfect color

Slow cooked

Ingredients you will need to make The Best Chicken Nihari

The ingredients you will need to make the best chicken nihari are:

Basic Chicken Nihari Ingredients

  • Chicken: You can use whole chicken with all it’s different pieces but thigh pieces taste best here; so tender and juicy!
  • Onion: Slice some red onion and do not brown!
  • Ginger garlic paste: A must-go in all desi recipes, what can I say!
  • Oil: Any vegetable oil would do. My personal favorite is canola/rape seed oil because it’s healthy too
  • Whole wheat flour/Aata: Aata us usually added to thicken nihari, no one likes a watery nihari. However, it is important to make sure that your aata dissolves well and doesn’t form lumps AND let nihari cook well after the addition of aata, you don’t want a raw flour-y taste!
  • Lemon juice (fresh): Some lemon juice goes in this recipe to give it an extra kick. This chicken nihari is served with lemon wedges as garnish so anyone can add more lemon juice to taste.
  • Chicken Stock Cubes (I use knorr) or bone broth: Bone broth is what goes originally in nihari, but since this is an easy quick version, I use chicken stock cubes instead.

Spices And Seasonings in Chicken Nihari

  • Kashmiri red chili powder: Kashmiri red chili powder gives the best color to nihari. If your kashmiri red chili powder is not spicy, then you may need to add regular red chili powder as well.
  • Shan Nihari masala: (Lets admit it guys, Shan masala packets have always come to out rescue atleast once in our lives.)
  • Fennels seeds powder (Sonf ka powder) 
  • Cardamom powder (Illaichi powder)
  • Nutmeg and mace powder(Jaifil jawatri powder)
  • All spice powder (Garam masala powder)

How to make The Best Chicken Nihari

The instructions are simple and straight-forward. So easy!

You start by

  • Puting onion in heated oil and sauting till pink.
  • Then, you add kashmiri red chili powder, ginger garlic paste and chicken stock cubes with water.
  • You leave this to simmer then you place your chicken into it and do ‘bhunai’
  • Add some other ingredients and do some more ‘bhunai’.
  • Low flame for 30 minutes, garnisih and you are done!

Which Chicken Pieces should I use?

You can make this chicken nihari recipe with whole chicken pieces, but it tastes best with thigh pieces, since they are juicy and tender.

What can I serve Chicken Nihari with?

It is well known that Chicken Nihari goes best with hot tandoori naan. But any kind of roti or naan will do!

Garnish The Best Chicken Nihari

Popular Chicken Nihari garnish include:

  1. Fresh Ginger: Julienne cut
  2. Fresh Coriander Leaves: Chopped
  3. Lemon Wedges: My favorite topping!

Can I use this recipe to make mutton and beef nihari?

Yes, of course. I haven’t tried it though. I would probably get you guys a separate recipe for beef nihari/mutton nihari/nalli nihari.

What do I do with leftover Nihari?

Okay so, there shouldn’t be any leftovers first of all :p But somehowww, if you do end up with leftovers, this is what you can do:

  1. Leftover Chicken Nihari with Chicken Pieces: Incase there are some chicken pieces in it, just put the nihari in an airtight container and freeze for a rainy day.
  2. Leftover shorba/salan/curry only: Is it only my family who lovessss having leftover nihari with fry-eggs the next morning? BEST BREAKFAST EVER 😀 (No need to mention how light on the tummy it is :p)

Go Ahead, and try the, hands down, best chicken nihari recipe ever!

the best chicken nihari recipe

The Best Chicken Nihari Recipe

The Ovenist
SO easy, So quick, SO delicious! Impress your guests (or just yourself) with The Best Chicken Nihari Recipe Ever (No long cooking time!)
Total Time 1 hour
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani


  • 1/2 kg Chicken
  • 1 medium Onion sliced (I slice it using a mandolin slicer)
  • 2 tbsp Ginger garlic paste
  • 1/4 cup Vegetable Oil I use canola
  • 1 tbsp. Kashmiri red chili powder
  • 1 tbsp Shan Nihari masala
  • 1 tsp roasted cumin powder/zeera powder
  • salt to taste
  • 4 tbsp. Aata (Durum whole wheat flour)
  • 1 tbsp. Fennels seeds/sonf ka powder (Sift it with a very fine sieve and then measure 1 tbsp)
  • 2 small Lemons (juice) or to taste
  • 3 maggi chicken stock cubes or 2 cups bone broth
  • 1/2 tbsp. Green cardamom/chotti illaichi powder (Sift it with a very fine sieve and then measure 1/2 tbsp)
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg Mace/Jaifil jawatri powder
  • 1/2 tsp All spice/garam masala
  • 2 glasses water


  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil I use Canola Oil
  • 1 tbsp Ginger (Julienne Cut)
  • Pinch of Kashmiri red chili powder
  • Pinch of Shan Nihari Masala


  • In a cooking pot, heat 1/4 cup oil and add your sliced onion. Sauté for a couple of minutes and do not brown.
  • Add kashmiri red chili powder, ginger garlic paste, chicken stock cubes and 2 glasses of water. Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Add chicken and mix for 5 minutes.
  • Switch off flame. In a medium bowl, mix aata, sonf powder, illaichi powder, shan nihari masala, zeera powder, salt and add water as needed to dissolve it. Add this mixture to nihari pot while whisking. This is important so that there are no lumps.
  • Then start the flame again (medium flame), and mix for another 5 minutes.
  • Now add 1 cup of water and lemon juice. Cover and simmer on low flame for 30 minutes.
  • Switch off flame. Sprinkle jaifil jawatri powder.

For Bhagaar

  • Heat 1/4 cup oil in a small pot or pan, then add 1 tablespoon of sliced ginger. When it begins to golden, switch off flame.
  • Add a pinch of nihari masala and kashmiri red chili powder. Quickly pour this into the nihari pot and cover it.


  1. My Kashmiri Red chili powder is spicy. If yours is not, then you will have to add spicy red chili powder too at this time.
  2. For best results, sift the green cardamom powder and fennel seeds powder and then measure it for the recipe.
  3. Add salt to taste. Since there are chicken stock cubes in this recipe, you may need very little salt if at all!
  4. I used maggi chicken stock cubes and find them best. I can not vouch for any other brands chicken stock cubes.
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Quantity of Ingredients to make 1 kg Chicken Nihari

  • 1 kg Chicken1 large onion sliced (I slice it using a mandolin slicer)
  • 4 tbsp. Ginger garlic paste
  • 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil (I use canola)
  • 2 tbsp. Kashmiri red chili powder
  • 2 tbsp Shan Nihari masala
  • 1.5 tsp roasted cumin powder/zeera powder
  • 8 tbsp. Aata (Durum whole wheat flour)
  • 2 tbsp. Fennels seeds/sonf ka powder (Sift it with a very fine sieve and then measure 2 tbsp)
  • 1/2 large Lemon (juice) (or 3 small lemons)
  • 6 maggi chicken stock cubes or 4 cups bone broth
  • 1 tbsp. Green cardamom/chotti illaichi powder (Sift it with a very fine sieve and then measure 1 tbsp)
  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg Mace/Jaifil jawatri powder
  • 3/4 tsp All spice/garam masala
  • 3-4 glasses water


  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil I use Canola Oil
  • 2 tablespoons ginger (julienne cut)
  • Healthy Pinch of Kashmiri red chili powder
  • Healthy Pinch of Shan Nihari Masala

Did you try this recipe?

I would love to know how it turned out for you. Leave a comment below and post a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #theovenist.

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