Feb 012012

I know this is not my usual style/food post but this recipe is too awesome not to be posted up for my future reference! (yup, it’s for myself again :P)

Having just returned from India then, i was all in the mood for anything Indian.. Indian food, Indian-inspired outfits, Indian-looking earrings — okaay, this one is authentic since i bought them from New Delhi itself. Then, some of the *ahem* thick skin friends (but you know i like you like this right? right?! Heeee!) requested for a guinea pig session after i posted some food pictures from India on Instagram (my ID : maameemoomoo) which i said i was gonna try cooking them. And i thought, why not?

I love hosting, i enjoy cooking/baking and i cherish these friends’ companies, so within a day or two, a Christmas lunch was arranged.

If you have hosted before, you’ll know how crazy it is in the kitchen. What more, an Indian theme Christmas lunch. It was OH EM GEE. SooOOOOOOoooo much work i tell ya!

For the first time, i actually spent the whole day preparing in the kitchen. Yeah, my first time. I’m usually a very fast worker. For me, most food preparation take only a couple of hours max but NOT Indian food, especially this insanely delicious Nihari Ghost.

Nihari Ghost (Lamb or mutton shanks infused with garlic)

1kg boneless lamb/mutton leg
16 tsp garlic paste, ground very fine*

For the masala

10-12 tbsp ghee
4 tsp red chili powder
16 tsp coriander seed powder
12 tsp ginger paste*
salt to taste
2 1/2 cup water
6 tsp flour (maida)
1 cup milk
1/3 cup chili paste, blended from dried chili (optional)

For the baghar (flavouring)

12 tbsp ghee
1 cup onion, finely diced
12 cloves, powdered
12 green cardamoms, powdered
20 peppercorns, powdered
4 cinnamon sticks, 2″
1 tsp lemon juice


1. Boil the lamb in 1 cup of water for 15 minutes. Drain the meat pieces and keep aside, reserving the stock. Add the finely ground garlic paste to stock and stir well. Use later to bhunao.
2. For the masala : Heat ghee, add the red chili powder, coriander seed powder and ginger paste. Add salt and bhunao, adding the garlic stock a little at a time. Continue until the stock is consumed. Add the meat pieces and 2 1/2 cups of water. Dilute the flour in milk and add to meat. Cook on very low heat, stirring regularly until the meat becomes tender. Remove from heat and keep aside.
3. For the baghar : In a separate pan, heat ghee, add onions and saute until golden brown. Remove with slotted spoon to make paste (yes, you have to make paste with this). Add the onion paste to the meat and stir well. Reduce heat to low and in the same ghee, add the clove powder, cardamom powder, peppercorn powder and cinnamon sticks. Immediately add to the meat. Stir. Add the lemon juice, stirring regularly until meat is tender. (i took 2.5 hours to cook till the meat is tender)

(adapted from Art of Indian Cuisine, Rocky Mohan)


What we had -


Keropok Special from Malaysia


Nihari Ghost
Matar Paneer
Cucumber Raita
Basmati Rice


Apple Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream
Yogurt with honey (but everyone was too stuffed to try this. Teeheee!)

And of course, wines from the friends!

After slaving in the kitchen one whole day preparing all the above, i was totally knocked out to do any decent photo taking. The next morning before the friends arrived, it was flower buying time. I went to 3 different locations just for the roses. I’m mad, am i not? Hahaaaa! But you know, it was worth the 1.5 hours trip. To me, hosting = good food + flowers. ;) So again, no photo taking. All i did then was to chill with the friends over food and wine, but not before i snapped this one precious picture (above), just to remember how Nihari Ghost looked like. :)

So why this very specific Nihari Ghost despite its laborious work?

On our last day in India at the airport, after roaming around almost the whole floor of eateries, this was what we had – Nihari Ghost. It was so good that i actually walked back to the stall and asked for the dish’s name.

Never mind i got laughed at by the girl behind the counter for my pronunciation, i mean, how else will you pronounce ghost (?!?!)  other than ghost?

Never mind i got stared at in a very strange way by other customers, for asking the dishes’ names and writing them down at the same time.

Importantly, i got the names of the dishes that i wanted to know. ;)