Easy Instant Pot Nihari (Pakistani Beef Stew)
Learn how to make classic Pakistani beef Nihari in the Instant Pot. This quick and easy recipe gives all the authentic flavor in 30 minutes of prep time!
“I have made Nihari using your recipe atleast 4-5, and it ALWAYS turns out delish!! Just wanted to drop by a thank you for such a great recipe.”Aisha
It’s been two years since I shared my Easy Slow Cooker Nihari recipe, and it’s still one of the most popular recipes on my blog!
Since then, I’ve received tons of messages that have made my day, like ‘I didn’t know nihari could be this easy’, ‘it tastes just like restaurant nihari’, and ‘this is the best homemade nihari I’ve had’!
I’ve also received many questions about converting the recipe to a pressure cooker/Instant Pot.
In a very ‘you asked, I delivered’ fashion, I present to you…Instant Pot Nihari!
Still easy, still authentic-tasting, and just 30 minutes of prep time.
Side note: To challenge my claim, I set a timer for 30 minutes before I started making this. And guess what? I was closing my Instant Pot lid when the timer finished, toddler interruptions included.
Tips for making Instant Pot Nihari
The previous tips from my slow cooker nihari recipe are still applicable in this recipe. Here are a few FAQs plus some new tricks I’ve tried & learned!
- Using bones alongside the beef will enhance the flavor (a nice compensation for cooking it quickly in the Instant Pot). I’ve included 1/3 lb, but feel free to use more if desired.
- After several experiments, I figured out how to make the BEST gluten-free version of nihari. You simply dry roast Brown Rice Flour OR Sorghum flour for 4-5 minutes over low-medium heat and use it as a substitute for atta flour. Dry roasting it deeply enhances the flavor and pretty much replicates the atta version. Try it with my gluten-free no-yeast naan!
- Beef Shank meat (preferred cut for nihari) requires a longer cooking time than Beef Stew meat. If using Beef Shank, increase Pressure Cooking time to 50 minutes instead of 45.
- If you want to double this recipe, double the ingredients and increase the time of sautéing the onions and meat, but pressure cook for the same time.
Why This Recipe Works
My nihari recipes are the result of nothing but serious trial and error, emphasis on the error. These are just some of the “why’s” behind the way I cook nihari.
- If you try to thicken the gravy by adding in flour, it will result in clumps. To avoid this, remove some of the nihari liquid (using water dilutes the taste), allow it to cool, and then whisk in the nihari liquid. You’ll add this slurry to the nihari after the initial cooking has completed.
- In my slow cooker recipe, I use less whole spices (the longer cooking time infuses more of their flavor). Since I’m making it in the Instant Pot, I’m more generous with them.
- The key to a great nihari is an intentional depth of flavor. Deeply brown onions, fresh spices infusing the oil, properly braised meat..all this contributes to the revered taste of nihari.
Using Pre-made Nihari Masala
Because Nihari demands so many spices, I originally created this recipe using 1/2 a tablespoon of pre-made Nihari masala powder. Use too much of the powder (like the whole packet as the box suggests) and you’ll end up having Nihari that tastes a bit manufactured and a lot like your fellow Pakistani neighbor’s Nihari because they used the same powder. Use just a bit and it’ll give your dish an extra oomph and good color.
Also, I’ve had many questions about using *just* the spice mix. I’m not above using pre-made spice mixes, but I prefer not to use the suggested quantities because it can taste quite harsh. Plus, the flavors are just more pronounced when you use fresh spices. Keep in mind that you’ll need to adjust the salt/spice level depending on which brand and how much masala you use.
Homemade Nihari Masala
As always, I prefer to use fresh spices, homemade spices when I can. It took me a while, but I finally created a Nihari Masala Powder that works with this recipe. As always, if you’re missing a spice (or three!), don’t let that deter you from making it.
Nihari Masala – makes ~1 tbsp, all of which you’ll use
- ½-1 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder or paprika, for color
- 1 small black cardamom pod
- 1 small (1- inch) mace blade (or piece of mace)
- 3/4-inch peepli (long pepper)
- 1/4 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
- 1/4 tsp garam masala powder
- 1/4 tsp ginger powder
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/8 tsp caraway seeds (shah zeera)
- 1/8 tsp nigella seeds (kalonji)
- pinch cane sugar
If you try this recipe, please share your review in the comments or tag me on Instagram! I always love hearing from you!
P.S. For video instructions on how to make this, check out my Instagram story highlights!
MORE RECIPES YOU MAY LIKE:
Easy Instant Pot Nihari (Pakistani Beef Stew)
- 1 star anise, (badiyan)
- 2 small bay leaves , (tez patta)
- 1 3-4" cinnamon stick , (daarchini)
- 3-4 whole cloves ground into a powder using a mortar & pestle
- 3 green cardamom pods seeds removed and ground into a powder using a mortar & pestle
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds ground into a powder using a mortar & pestle
- ½-1 tsp paprika powder
- 1/2 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1/4-1/2 tsp red chili powder or cayenne
- 1/4 tsp crushed red chili pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder, optional
- pinch nutmeg
- 1/2 tbsp store-bought Nihari masala powder or 1 tbsp homemade nihari masala (recipe in post)
- 1/3 cup grapeseed, canola or other neutral oil
- 1 tbsp ghee or butter
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 5-6 (1 tbsp) garlic cloves, crushed using a mortar & pestle
- 1 inch (~1 tbsp) piece ginger, crushed using a mortar & pestle
- 1 lb beef stew or shank pieces – about 1 ½-2 inch cubed
- 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
- 3- 3 1/2 cups water
- 1/4 cup Duram Atta Flour, sub roasted brown rice flour or sorghum flour for gluten-free*
- 1/3-1/2 lb beef bones
- 1 inch piece ginger, julienned
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1-2 mild green chillies, finely chopped
- crispy fried onions (optional)
- Add the garlic and ginger and continue to sauté until the raw smell disappears, about 15-20 seconds.
- Add beef (along with bones) and sauté for about 4-5 minutes or until it begins to brown.
- Secure the lid and set the Pressure Release to Sealing. Select the Meat/Stew setting and turn the Pressure Level to High. If using Beef Stew meat, pressure cook for the default 45 minutes. If using Beef Shank meat, increase time to 50 minutes.
- Let naturally release for 5 minutes, then move the Pressure Release to Venting to release the remaining pressure. Remove the whole spices, if desired.
- Take out a cup of the liquid of the Nihari into a bowl. Let it cool a little by adding an ice cube to it. Place the atta or roasted brown rice flour* in another bowl. Bit by bit, whisk in the Nihari liquid to the atta to form a smooth slurry (small clumps are okay). Slowly stir this slurry back into the Instant Pot to prevent clumps. Taste and adjust salt & seasoning as desired.
- Secure the lid again and set the Pressure Release to Sealing. Select the Pressure Cook setting and set the cooking time for 10 minutes at low pressure. Let naturally release for 5 min. If needed, select Saute – High to reduce down and thicken the nihari to desired consistency.
- Sprinkle with cilantro and serve alongside the garnishing with naan.