Nihari a Mughal legacy

Published:  12:00 AM, 11 January 2017

Now native in taste

Now native in taste

Various cultural similarities are seen among the people of Indian sub-continent, though this part of the world has been separated five decades ago. Here approximately 15 types of languages are available in people's daily life. More than 4 types of individual sub-continental races are living here from the primitive period. So what! But in various everyday matters and lifestyles of these large number of people has a common exercise. Especially in their food habits. As a result, many Indian typical food items have found the regular place in Pakistani cuisine; along with this much-more Pakistani food traditions are established at our Bangladeshi kitchen. Not only that many Bangladeshi foods are much popular among both Indian and Pakistani people. Go through with this way, a very delicious food item, Nihari is pretty popular in our Bangladeshi culture from long ago.

Nihari is a tasty dish consisting of slow cooked beef shanks or even lamb, buffalo or mutton, garnished to taste with a lot of spices which gives the dish its rich color and flavor and served with bone marrow as well as with meat and cooked brain. Mostly, the thigh portion (leg shank half) of the animal's leg is used for making Nihari and due to the constant as well as daily usage of the leg by the animal, the leg muscle becomes strong, tough and dry over the life of the animal. This makes the leg bone rich in marrow, which is a great supply of plentiful gelatin for us. The word 'Nihar' originated from the Arabic word 'Nahar' which means 'morning after sunrise,' or 'nahar munh.' According to many sources, Nihari originated in Old Delhi in the late eighteenth century during the last reign of the Mughal Empire. The Nawabs and Mughals always demanded their chefs to get creative in the kitchen and aspired to eat delicious as well as healthy meals at all times of the day. Nihari was originated as a breakfast meal for the nawabs because it provided the extreme boost of energy for the rest of the day. The Muslim Nawabs ate Nihari early in the morning after Fajr prayers and then took a long nap before going to Zohar prayers. Later on, it became popular among the labor class as a regular breakfast dish.

Nihari had become the staple breakfast meal for labors in India after its origination. The primary reason behind that was the extreme health benefits and energy supply of Nihari. Labor's need to be fed well for enhanced productivity and Nihari turned out to be the best for them. This simplifies much confusion regarding its benefits.

Our bodies require some proteins and minerals to strengthen our bones, build our muscles, maintain the immune system and repair tissues. Most of these things are done by minerals such as zinc, iron, selenium, phosphorus, and B vitamins, which are highly present in the red meat used for cooking Nihari. The spices used in Nihari also have great impact on our health such as improved blood circulation, superior digestion, and regulated blood pressure. The spices normally used are; black and white peppercorns, bay leaf, cloves, cardamom, dried red chillies, cumin, nutmeg, cinnamon and turmeric. According to a nutritionist, Saba Gul Hassan, "due to the anti-oxidant properties of these spices, they are believed to lessen the occurrence of a host of diseases including cancer and diabetes, purify the blood, help fight off infections and even aid weight loss. As it's the winter, it's the best period for consuming Nihari and feel the Mughal legacy once again in our taste.

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