Haji Noora ki Nihari

Abhik and I decided to revisit the Bara Hindu Rao area today in our quest for Haji Noora’s Nihari, a quest in which we had been stymied once before, when we had gone the day after Eid-ul-Fitr only to find the shop closed on account of the festivities. The whole area was much more lively today, and it took much resolve and thick skin to resist the temptations on offer on the way to the intended nihari shop — several little shops selling everything from tea-and-rusks to khastaa kachoris to poori-aloo to haleem teased our senses from every direction.

Not for us, though. With a gleam in the eye that anyone other than a compatriot foodie would have diagnosed as decidedly manic, we strode into the lane that we knew was home to Haji Noora. As a kindly old man had informed us last time, there had been a recent falling-apart in the Haji’s family, with an upstart nephew having set up a separate (and bigger) shop nearby, claiming to be the “Asli” nihari al-noora. Upturning our noses in the finest khandani tradition thus, we turned the corner from this shop to head to a relatively nondescript shop with no signboard, but marked out clearly by a salivating crowd at its entrance.haji-noora-nihari-1.jpg Haji Noora’s nihari shop is not a “family-oriented” place. If you take your aged relatives along, or indeed Abhik, their joints will protest as they are forced to squat on the dari on the ground. An arrangement lacking tables, however, is only a favour to the teeming nihari connoiseurs who land up at the crack of dawn at Haji Noora’s door — how else could so many fit into so small a space? Nor is this shop one to take bosses from your “reputable multinational” (as many a desi orkutter proudly calls his slave-drivers) — they are likely to balk at the sight of less than spic-and-span seating places. Which is just as well, because only the discerning foodie whose tastebuds and nose reign supreme deserves to partake of the food concocted by Haji Noora’s son and heir.haji-noora-nihari-2.jpg The nihari was quite literally, sublime. Spicy, as good nihari ought to be, it seemed to turn from solid into liquid into a mere scent in your mouth in the blink of an eye. While I haven’t had nihari all my life, having sampled it at Sabri Nihari in Chicago, at Waris in Lahore, and at Karim’s near Jama Masjid just last week, I pretend to some knowledge of what good — nay great — nihari tastes like. I can safely assure you that Haji Noora’s khandani concoction leaves the rest dead in the water. Or in the desi ghee, if you wish. Like all great things, this too was something not much money is needed to buy. Abhik and I polished off three plates of nihari and four tandoori rotis in a matter of minutes, and all of it totted up to fifty rupees. I’ll say no more; you have to go and have it yourself.haji-noora-nihari-3.jpg We did follow up the breakfast with some good tea at a nearby shop (Moinuddin tea stall) and some even better sooji-ka-halwa (two plates for ten rupees!) at another nameless breakfast shop owned by a certain Mohd. Zaheer sa’ab. Satisfying as they may have been, their memories are already fading behind those of the nihari. So wake early on the morrow my friend, and hasten to Bara Hindu Rao! For as Kabir had said, surely after a mouthful at Haji Noora’s ancestral haven, “jo sovat hai, so khovat hai”!

Location: The Bara Hindu Rao area is a five minute cycle-rickshaw ride from the Pul Bangash metro station. You will need to ask around for the shop once you get there. Alternatively, take a look at our Google Map!

Timings: about 6:30am to 8:30am and 5pm to 7pm everyday. Remains closed for about 3 days after Eid-ul-Fitr and about 8-10 days after Eid-ul-Adha (Bakri Eid).

Prices: It is difficult to spend more then Rs. 35 per person for a meal. [updated March 22, 2009]

74 thoughts on “Haji Noora ki Nihari”

  1. great i am also a nihari lover.you hv not mentioned was it a beef nihari or mutton?my favourit nihari shop in the world is of waheeds at buns road.they hv amazing nalli nihari ,sadi nihari,n mughaz nihari gola kabab etc etc.

  2. Hmm NIHARI….I love those in HOtel Nihari, Zakir Nagar, and Mutton Nihari fom Moonis Khada, Batla House…try it..btw, whre exactly is Bara Hindu Rao area ?? is it near Pratab Bagh?? Hwo to ask The Rickshawallh to go there from Indra Vihar?? Sorry for th esilly question, for prety ifficult for a hindi handicapped like meto communicate well with the ricksawalllah bhaiiya :D

  3. Hemanshu you are highly mistaken , beef is readily available in New Delhi whether in Jama masjid beef Kebabs or the Noora nihari is Beef.Also good kebabs at Nizamuddin Ghalib’s.You are new to town I suppose.
    Tylla Bara hindu Rao is near Karol Bagh behind Filmistan Cinema.

  4. My mouth is already watering at reading the spread. Hopefully I can get up that early and reach the afore mentioned metro station. The authenticity of the experience should be my true motivation…

  5. @amit: no Amit, I’m quite quite sure about this. What people loosely call “beef” in Delhi is actually “buff”, i.e. buffalo meat or “bada”. That is what is openly sold in butcher’s shops in Bara Hindu Rao, Nizamuddin and old Delhi, and that is what is used in the kebabs and nihari sold in these areas. It is possible to procure beef in Delhi, but only by word-of-mouth from a personally known source.

  6. How are Nan and Kulcha different in the way they are made? And is it Kulcha – Nihari or Naan – Nihari that’s a standard combination?

  7. Good to know that our Indian friends also like nihari like we do. What really surprises me is that in Indian cinema, only vegetarian food is shown as Indian cuisine. Why is that? Yes I know that India has the largest population of vegetarians in the world but still there are millions who are non-vegetarians.

  8. Mehdi sb: At the fundamental level, the problem is simply this — vegetarian food doesn’t offend any non-vegetarian. But non-vegetarianism, and seeing animals butchered, etc., does offend the religious sentiments of many vegetarian Hindus. So the media adopt the inoffensive route.

  9. Agreed. Being vegetarian or otherwise can also be one’s choice rather than religious prescription. So from what is portrayed here I am sure I can find enough meat to eat if I visit India some time later in life. I am a gujurati btw and our cuisine is usually vege so I might not have that much non-vege in my ancestral areas of Gujurat.

  10. Well, one must keep in mind that vegetarianism, in its exclusivist form as projected in Indian movies is practiced by a very small fraction of Indian population restricted to certain regions (mainly North India) and certain communities (mainly upper caste hindus). In large parts of the country this concept is quite unheard of. For instance, in my ancestral place in West Bengal, people are not even aware of this concept, and usually understands by vegetarian food a meal constituting largely of vegetables, but might have “non-veg” ingredients (e.g. a daal which has fish in it will be termed “vegetarian” in Bengal). There is no concept of segregating the two. Exclusivist form of “vegetarianism” practiced by upper castes in certain parts of the country is largely an offshoot of caste system, where the dominant upper castes used it as a mechanism to impose it’s eating habits on rest of the population. This explains the segregation (that borders on untouchability) imposed by vegetarians on “non-veg” food: it is not much different from untouchability imposed by upper castes on dalits. This also explains how “vegetarian” food is largely projected in media as Indian food, despite the fact that majority of Indian population, in fact, eat “non-vegetarian” food of some kind or other.

  11. Soumya: While I agree with the substance of your thesis, I’m not sure I agree with your contention that “Exclusivist form of “vegetarianism” practiced by upper castes in certain parts of the country is largely an offshoot of caste system, where the dominant upper castes used it as a mechanism to impose it’s eating habits on rest of the population.”

    First, this still begs the question that where did the upper castes’ notion of vegetarianism come from.

    Second, the upper castes would in fact find it in their interest to use their food habits to distinguish themselves from the lower castes, rather than impose those habits on the others.

    Third, much recent sociological work finds that most lower castes, in the process of trying to acquire upper caste status, imitate their “Sanskritic” habits and customs, including vegetarianism. This would suggest that vegetarianism among lower castes, to the extent it exists, might be a voluntary attempt at self-“improvement” (to gain acceptance among upper castes), rather than imposed, per se.

  12. Well.. It is true that there has been a process of Sanskritization among Dalits, and one of the most visible aspects of this Sanskritization is adoption of vegetarianism. However, I do not find much “voluntary” about this. As long as the social values are defined by a cultural hegemoney of the upper castes and adoption of Brahminical habits is a necessary precondition for anyone to rise in the social ladder, I would still call such a process imposed. This is the reason why many movements against caste system, including the Dravidian movement as well as some of the progressive Islamic movements (especially the ones occurring in certain areas of Tamil Nadu) used non-vegetarianism as one of the symbols of assertion of Dalit identity against Brahminical hegemony.

    Of course there is nothing inherently either hindu or brahminical about vegetarianism per se: upper castes including brahmins have been consuming meat (including beef) as well as ritualistically slaughtering animals and continue to do so in large parts of country (esp Eastern India). As long as there are other mechanisms to perpetuate brahminical hegemony (like proximity to colonial powers during colonialism), such symbolisms might be deemed unnecessary. However, to the extent that vegetarianism did emerge as one of the visible symbols of upper caste hegemony in large parts of the country, it could not have remained just an innocent distinction or dietary preference of certain communities but must be seen as one of the tools of imposing and perpetuating this hegemony. Many of the “innocent” cultural practices in today’s India, including projecting vegetarianism as Indian culture, segregating non-veg food in buffet tables or warning vegetarians of non-veg ingredients in commercially packaged food products with a red dot must all be seen in this light – as a reflection of this brahminical hegemony which exists in India today.

  13. Soumya: Yes, I agree there is nothing innocent about vegetarianism and dietary preferences in India; they are inextricably linked with caste politics.

    However, we must be careful in distinguishing an “imposition”, such as a prohibition on using a community well, from a relatively voluntary act on the part of a caste to improve its status by adopting upper caste practices. Absent this desire for mobility, the status quo would not have imposed any penalty on the lower caste person in terms of diet. Of course, the other thing is that the vegetarian diet would not be voluntary at the low caste individual’s level, but imposed by her own caste (perhaps specifically its panchayat/elders) in order to maintain caste status claims. But to that extent, the same imposition also falls upon upper caste individuals from their caste elders/panchayats/etc.

    Also, I wouldn’t go so far as to single out segregation of food on buffet tables, or labeling of commercial food products, as reflective of brahminical hegemony. By themselves, they are simply an acknowledgement of the fact that many Indian vegetarians ARE seriously offended by the presence of meat in their food, or even its proximity.

    It goes without saying of course that these preferences themselves sit on a bedrock of millenia-old discrimination.

  14. i want to knw fr humera whr is excetly ur fav nihari shop is situated in delhi as m not belongs to delhi i i have to come there frm ajmer to taste it

  15. Thanks for this review and when I finally get to India I will have to check this place out.

    As a gora I was first introduced (and fell in love) with nihari at a small shop in New York City (Haandi in Little India on Manhattan’s east side). I have since relocated to the west coast — a city with some decent indian food, but no nihari.

    Until I have a chance to travel, does anybody know a decent recipe for how to make this at home? I’ve tried some I found on the web and they weren’t even in the same ball park as what I was expecting.

  16. Soumya,

    I must ardently disagree with your thesis that vegetarianism is the consequence of some Bhramanical hegemony. Indian society is too multifaceted and complex to be distilled purely into caste. Especially in pre-colonial times, caste was not as rigid a classification structure as it later developed into with the introduction of the census.

    In truth, philosophies of ahimsa, non-violence, and vegetarianism did not become dominant until the rise of Jainism, Buddhism, and the Upanishadic era in Indian philosophy. It is widely regarded that these strains of thought were egalitarian rebellions against the Bhramanical hegemony you are talking about (in the case of Jainism and Buddhism) or more open, tolerant revisions of orthodoxy (in the case of the Upanishads.) So trying to assert that vegetarianism is an upper-caste imposition does not jive.

    It is likely that vegetarianism became inculcated as a social norm through the sheer force of ethical argument in the same way slavery slowly waned in the West. There was a time when slavery was economically necessary, but when the economic benefit became progressively lower, the ethical costs became more pronounced. So it would be in India. Where availability of new produce through trade made meat less of a nutritional necessity, the ethical implications of eating meat became more pronounced. The geographical distinctions are more likely a result of general eating habits than caste.
    The Hindi heartland is a river-basin, a natural breadbasket where plentiful supplies of grains and lentils can be grown. Thus, they could afford to be more stringent in their vegetarianism than coastal Bengalis, many of whom made their livlihoods from fishing.

  17. Pav,

    Both the nutritional and ethical arguments in favor of vegetarianism amount to utter crap. Almost all vegetarian sources of protein with the exception of dairy products contain incomplete proteins, lacking some of the essential amino acids needed for human body. This, along with the fact that plant sources of protein have a lower biological value, would necessitate a non-egg eating vegetarian to consume and digest an industrial quantity of very specific combination of protein-rich vegetarian food in order to meet his or her daily protein requirements. The fact that protein deficiency in India is rampant (74%, according to a mid-90s study) and far exceeds the occurrence of simple calorie-shortage shows the practical impossibility of a vegetarian to fulfil protein requirements without the aid of expensive commercial protein supplements. In fact, seen in this light, it is actually criminal to advocate vegetarianism or to ban cow slaughter, one of the cheapest sources of protein, in a developing country like India.

    The ethical arguments are even more naïve. At the risk of sounding banal, let us remind ourselves that it has been more than a century that we know that plants are living beings which feel pain as much as animals do (and just like bacterias in fermented products like curd do!)

    Of course, you need not convince me that vegetarianism does not originate from any early Hindu texts ot that it was not prevalent among brahmins in ancient times. This, however, in no way contradicts the fact that vegetarianism, in the context of modern India, is a symbol of hegemony of North Indian upper caste hindus on rest of the population. I have already explained in my previous posts the reason for making such a statement. Sanctions from a religious text is not always required for a particular social norm to emerge in a community (for instance, Buddhists in most of South East Asia eat meat, and Christians all over Europe consume pork), nor is such a sanction required for this social norm to be used as a weapon to reinforce it’s hegemony on other communities.

  18. hi soumya,
    this is the first time ever i’m writing a blog or whatever it may be called. but i had to reply to what you said. i’m a non-vegetarian who is most likely turning veg because i recently saw how the chickens i relished were killed. i know many a non-egg eating vegetarians live a long healthy life. if you really think it’s criminal to not kill cows i think you ought to go spend a day in the slaughter house and if you are still convinced that you’re really saying all this for nutritional value and some far fetched notions of brahminical superiority then well hats of to you being more hard hearted than me. and as for the ridiculous argument about meats being kept seperately at a buffet being a form of discrimination, i’d like to tell you that even in usa the same practice is followed and i don’t think they listen to too many brahmins there. so be honest and say you like eating meat instead of giving nonsensical arguments. and please for the love of god pluck a carrot and kill a goat and tell me it’s really the same thing!!!

  19. Priya,

    You have not refuted any of the nutritional arguments against vegetarianism.. Anyway, yes, of course I have seen animals being slaughtered (and see it everytime I go and buy meat, which is about twice/thrice a week) and had to slaughter an animal once myself too, but that’s besides the point. One’s eating habits are a matter of personal preferences, which might be influenced by family and community preferences, nothing more, nothing less. My parents come from a region where Beef/Buffallo is an integral part of diet. Personally speaking, I cannot have a single complete meal without the presence of meat. My wife, on the other hand, is a vegetarian. These are matters of personal preferences and tastes, which I am fine with. Where I do have a problem, however, is when bogus pseudo-scientific moral/ethical/health/religious arguments are brought in, based on which a society or government chooses to ban or discourage the consumption of something which is an integral part of the cuisine of many communities, including mine. It is in this case that it becomes an issue of (completely subjective) values and preferences of one community against other, with the dominant community imposing it’s values. The aggressive non-vegetarianism of many social movements, including the Dravidian movement of the sixties and seventies need to be seen in this light.

    Anyway, I feel that this debate has really gone too far, and has reached a dead end, with no new arguments being made. Further, let us not forget that this is a food blog, so I suggest that if someone does not have any concrete addition to make, let us put an end to this debate and get back to discussing food. Alternately, this debate can be taken to someplace else.

  20. Soumya

    I totally agree food preferences are matter of choice. The yummy topic of Afgani food is gr8 and my taste buds are instructing my senses to visit the place immediately . As per my personal experience i can tell you one more place which you can relish is near Azad Market towards the road going to tyre market . The muglai food is amazing , i will make it sure that next time i visit that place i carry their menu card and no.

  21. I’m in the United States and just saw Hemanshu Kumar take Andrew Zimmern to Haji Noora for Nihari. (And a bunch of other places that look so tasty.

    Some day I will get to Delhi. Until that day comes, anybody have a recipe or secret tips as to make nihari at home? Really….

  22. Just saw Hemanshu on the Travel Channel with Andrew Zimmern—daulat ki chaat ( hope i spelt that right) looked delicious. I’ve never heard of it—–and I’m from Delhi! Next time I visit—I’m using your blog as my foodie bible.

  23. nahari is one of my favourite dishes as well,and what i have observed so far is that you should have nahari in the morning as breakfast rather than having nahari in the dinner,bcoz it is cooked the whole night regularly so it tastes better in morning,trust me,bcoz i m a resi dent of bara hindu rao..

  24. Yes, I’m pretty sure the nihari at Jawahar hotel is also mutton. To get to Karim’s or Jawahar, the closest metro station is Chawri Bazaar, from where you can take a 5 minute rickshaw ride, or walk down in 15 minutes.

  25. hi all.
    there’s this liitle tucked away place called bhai shahid in old delhi, further up from karin’s. i havent been there in about 12 years or so, but they have an absolutely to-die-for nihari. you dont have to sit on the floor either, since its on the street, but they do have wood benches and tables in the lane net to it where you can sit.
    btw, eating nihari in the morning for breakfast is actually a carryover from ramzan. you cook it through the night and eat it for sehri, and its rich enough to carry you through the day’s fast.
    cheers

  26. rothrock, try the shaan nihari masala… a prepackaged spice mix available at indian/pakistani groceries.

    otherwise try this:
    2 lb meat (preferably on the bone)
    4 tbsp oil
    1 tsp whole black peppers
    1/2 tsp cloves
    3-4 green cardamoms
    1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
    2 inch piece ginger
    4-5 cloves garlic (make a paste of the ginger and garlic by blendign with a little water)
    2 tbsp coriander powder
    1/2tsp turmeric powder
    1-2 tsp cayenne powder (to taste)
    1/2 cup yogurt, beaten
    1/4 nutmeg grated
    1/tsp ground mace
    1 1/2 tsp ground fennel seeds
    2 tbsp all purpose flour
    4 cups water
    1-2 tbsp ghee/butter

    method
    heat the oil and add the cloves, peppers and cardamom. remove to a mortar and pound, set aside.

    brown the meat in the same oil, remove.

    on a medium heat, brown the onions evenly, add the ginger garlic paste and few tablespoons water saute for 2 minutes, add the coriander, turmeric and cayenne powders. stir fry, adding a tbsp of water when it starts to stick. the onions should begin to appear to dissolve. return the meat to the pot, and when it heats through, start adding about 2 tbsp of yogurt at a time, keep sauteing. when done, add salt to taste (about 2 tsp) and the nutmeg, mace and fennel. add about 3 cups water, bring to a simmer, cover and let it cook and cook and cook. check every 15 minutes or so, but cook for at least 2 hours (less if using pressure cooker)
    when the meat is done, taste for heat and salt. add the pounded spices and 1 tbsp butter or ghee. add water to get a gravy of the consistency you want. mix the 2 tbsp flour with 2 tsbp water and add to the meat. simmer for a few more minutes. remove from heat. garnish with chopped cilantro.

  27. This seems like a recipe for a regular curry/quorma rather than nihari. The unique flavor of nihari comes from bone marrow, extracted by boiling bones for long duration (typically 7-8 hours at least)… This also results in the meat automatically coming off the bones.
    Also most niharis that I have eaten does not involve browning the meat before cooking. Boiling without browning would ensure that most of the juices come off the meat into the gravy.

    Anyway, there might be different versions of nihari: the one I had at Lucknow was definitely cooked for lesser duration than the ones at Delhi/Pakistani establishments abroad.

    Also, a matter of personal opinion, but I always found National spices better than Shaan.

  28. a regular qorma doesn’t use fennel powder, and of course you would use the shank and if you liked, a few pieces from paya to get the thicker gelatinous gravy of a nihari. cooking it for 2-3 hours is pretty sufficient to draw the gelatin out. and even less time if you’re using a pressure cooker.

    i don’t use ready made spice mixes in general, but my in-laws swear by shaan.

  29. also, some people add kewra essence to get that rich aroma. but i’ve noticed not all restaurants do it.

    anyway, i have the Awadhi Dastarkhwan book, and their recipe for Nehari Khass is basically the same, except they also make a separate yakhni, ie stock from paye (trotters) to add to the nihari. they also add shah zeera and cinnamon with the pounded spices, and use some roasted besan along with all purpose flour.

  30. I have been non vegetarian all my life. But I do agree that killing animals for food is cruel and I cannot watch it. I still eat meat, but prefer vegetarian food. I admire vegetarians for their abstaining from cruelty to animals. Soumya has made some disparaging comments and I disagree with him. .I think it is a very good practise to mark products as veg or non-veg. They do it in India and UK. Wish they did it in US too.

  31. I am surprised at the obsequious and servile responses to the invective ridden fact-free rants of Soumya. Indians are protein deficient because the people are poor. Himanshu is right to say that vegetarian food causes no offence to a non-vegetarian. There are several theories about the wide prevalence of vegetarian diets in India. One suggests that India being an agriculturally rich land – sunshine round the year, high per capita arable land (twice as much as China), well organized and diverse communities, a well developed system of domestic trade, has always had a large variety of plant foods to choose from – rice+vegetables to flavour the pulses+dairy+fruits and has added meat, game, poultry, and fish as side dishes that can be left out if necessary. Brahmin communities in several parts of the country – continue to be non-vegetarian – the Sarasvats in Western/Southern India, the Kashmiri Pandits, the Mohiyals of the North, and the Oriya/Maithili/Bengali/Asomiya Brahmins. While Tamizh/Telugu/Kerala/Kannada/Awadhi/Bhojpuri/Rajasthani and several others have turned vegetarian. This change could have happened because of patterns of migration, the influence of Ahimsa based traditions – that predate classical Jainism (i.e., post-Mahavira) and Buddhism. The other reason could be because of the current groups that are vegetarian may be a break-away group from the original group. Another theiry suggests that vegetarianism may have become dominant during periods of famine when entire communities decided to preserve livestock and moved to new growing areas. This theory may have some warrant as all Gujarati Hindus are vegetarian. This is also the pattern that has been found in the US, where until late 1960s in some parts of the Appalachians or the lower Mississippi the diet was entirely made of greens, beans, and corns, with coarse strips of dried meat being used to flavour the pot, if at all. The meat rich/all meat diets we see in the US are more recent as a result of agricultural surpluses in the mid to late 20th century.
    The rest – hegemonic imposition; Dravidian etc., are pure hogwash. If you enjoy your meat eat it while you can. Right now meat processing is a large contributor to climate change and has caused extensive ecological damage to large parts of the US, Canada, and Brazil.

  32. @kaangeya: now, now. you may have some valid theories there, but your allegation that Soumya’s “rants” are “invective-ridden” and “fact-free”, not to mention your impression that the responses to it have been “obsequious” and “servile” seem to indicate a fondness for melodrama and hyperbole on your part rather than anything else.

    let’s please stick to having a healthy debate. thanks. :)

  33. @Kaangeya

    Let us look at your statement “Indians are protein deficient because the people are poor.” Obviously vegetarianism need not imply protein-deficiency. However, since plant sources of protein have a lower biological value than animal sources like meat, fish & dairy products, and are incomplete (with the exception of soy extracts) in the sense of lacking all the varieties of essential amino acids in the protein chains, a vegetarian must carefully rotate his or her sources of protein and/or have commercial food supplements to fulfill protein requirements. So while it would be theoretically correct to deny a link between protein deficiency and cultural tradition/ social imposition (we are coming to this later!), to actually expect people in a developing country to spend time and money in order to achieve such a dietary balance would be impractical, if not elitist to the point of being completely insensitive to the socio-economic realities. Do a reality check: ask a poor person whether it is easier for him/her to consume a small quantity of beef and egg on a regular basis, or to keep a large stock of pulses and beans and take care to rotate them on a regular basis! No wonder the gap between incidence of protein deficiency and calorie shortage in India far exceeds the global developing country average.

    Coming to the other issue of social imposition of cultural traditions, on the face of it, I would have accepted your rather innocent theory, had it been the case that (1) everyone consumed food according to their preferences without any added social/cultural implications (2) there was no legal ban in many parts of the country on consuming beef and other forms of meat, even though they form an integral part of diet of many communities (3) there was no segregation of tables serving non-vegetarian food at buffets (4) the society would not have utilized it’s scant resources in labeling of commercial products having “non-vegetarian” sources. With all these, however, vegetarianism does not remain a simple issue of dietary preference. One might be imaginative enough to even construct an innocent theory for untouchability, caste system, or apartheid. A more objective analysis, unfortunately, would yield a less innocent explanation.

  34. Tamil Brahmins, whose vegetarian idli-dosa-vada cuisine defined south indian food for the rest of India are only 2-3% of a vigourously non-veg Tamil population. They became veggies around the second century so that they could compete in the spiritual purity and austerity stakes with another powerful veggie group , the jainas. Brahminism won ( if you want to call it that) as the Chola king decided to become a Shiva-bhakt and he impaled 2000 Jaina monks, and patronized the tiny Tamil Brahmin community – to this day the tamil brahmins have a festival called “impalement of the jains” and jainism, once powerful ( remember how chandragupta maurya moved to South India in the final years of his life in the 3rd century BC, and Shravanbelagola) virtually vanished from the South.

  35. @ Prakash rao

    This is some real incident that you have shared. Could please some more light on this ‘impalement of the jaina’ festival of the Tam Brahms. I always knew the scale of brahminical hegemony, but this one beats everything! Celebrating impalement…and please pardon me, because I do understand that this is a food blog, and so we need to avoid ‘politics.’ But, India is one such place where everything is politics: from food, life partners, clothes you wear, and faith to even your professions!

  36. i would like to know the price of different food items available at NOORA’S and plz help me with the exact location of this place…….

  37. Anuj, you will end up spending less than fifty rupees irrespective of what you eat at Haji Noora’s. For the exact location, do take a look at the map link at the bottom of the blog post. You will need to reach the Bara Hindu Rao area (the nearest Metro station is Pul Bangash, from where you can take a cycle rickshaw) and ask for the shop there.

  38. aisha thanks for the tip. I did find Shaan package. I had seen it labeled as masala in some youtube videos, but this one is labeled “Nihari Curry Mix,” but I’m guessing they just changed the label? I can’t read the Urdu, but the Hindi label says Nihaarii masaalaa, so I’m guessing they just changed the English label at that! Anyways I’m going to give it a go.

    I’m planning my first trip to India for January 2010 and plan to try both Haji Noora and Kallu. I have a friend who has been to Kallu and thought it was pretty darn good.

  39. Hi,I went to kallu nehari.It was so far from Jama masjid.finally reached around 5:45 pm.Its was so crowded and no place to sit or even stand..its so difficult to even ask the person for the plate size etc. I didn’t enjoy the meal,its so much better if they have place to sit atleast.Does any one know any other place.And also my friend couldn’t have it because it Kallu nehari was made from beef.Any other options in delhi :)

  40. @Hemanshu
    I doubt that any restaurants are serving beef nihari — bade ki nihari is made with buffalo, not beef. I believe it’s illegal to sell or serve beef. I am sure there are some places that do so on the sly, probably to longtime customers.

  41. For Nahari lovers:
    The word Nahari comes from an-Nahaar, meaning morning. I am from Darya Ganj. My family has been in Delhi/Faridabad for generations. Nahari is a winter morning dish for breakfast. It is supposed to be eaten with SheerMaal, round bread made of Maeda, the white flour, soaked in Milk, salt, a little sugar and Zaafraan, (saffron), laid layer upon layers, ‘purtau’ and traditionally roasted in the oven pit, tandoor. We never ate Nahari, except for breakfast and only during winter months. The meat, traditionally, should be of cow leg with the bone and slow cooked overnight in a heavy pot dug into the ground. I hope to visit my birth place. I also hope to visit the Nahari place.

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