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Slow Cooker (or not) Nihari Sandwich
with cucumber salad / fruit / dates

Active: 45 Total: 465

Tonight's dinner is inspired by traditional elements of iftar - the meal eaten by Muslims to break the Ramadan fast. At the heart of the meal is a tender Nihari meat stew that is cooked with spices until fall-apart-tender. Serve the Nihari as a messy sloppy joe-style sandwich with colorful iftar components like fresh fruit, minty cucumbers, and dates on the side. 
Smarts: Use a bone-in cut of meat for the most flavor, but a boneless cut or even beef stew meat will work.
Cooking methods: This recipe includes instructions for using the Instant Pot, slow cooker, or oven. Select your preferred method. 

Tags

Ingredients

Metric
Servings:
4
Nihari Sandwich:
  • Onions, medium - 1, thinly sliced
  • Ginger, fresh - 1 tsp, grated
  • Garam masala - 2 tsp
  • Salt - 1 tsp
  • Paprika - 1/2 tsp
  • Garlic powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander, ground - 1/2 tsp
  • Red pepper flakes (opt) - 1/2 tsp
  • Black pepper - 1/2 tsp
  • Cardamom, ground (opt) - 1/4 tsp
  • Cloves, ground (opt) - 1/4 tsp
  • Sugar - 1/4 tsp
  • Beef, bone-in chuck roast - 1 1/2 lbs
  • Oil, cooking - 2 Tbsp
  • Flour, all-purpose - 1 Tbsp
  • Stock, any type - 1 cup
  • Cilantro leaves - 1/4 cup
  • Sandwich buns - 4
Cucumber Salad:
  • Cucumbers - 12 oz, thinly sliced
  • Mint, fresh (opt) - 4 leaves, chiffonade
  • Vinegar, apple cider - 1 Tbsp
  • Oil, olive - 2 tsp
Fresh Fruit and Dates:
  • Fresh fruit - 4 cups, sliced (use your favorite mix like apples, grapes, and / or berries)
  • Dates, pitted - 8

Nutrition Facts

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Choose Cooking Method

Prep

  1. Onions / Ginger - Prep as directed and combine. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)

  2. Make spice blend - Combine garam masala, salt, paprika, garlic powder, coriander, red pepper flakes, black pepper, cardamom, cloves, and sugar. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)

  3. Season beef - Season beef generously on both sides with spice blend. Tenderize with a fork. (Can be done 1 day ahead)

  4. Slow cook beef - Heat cooking oil in a large skillet over low-medium heat. Add beef and sear on both sides until deep golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes per side. Set beef aside. If the pan looks dry, add some cooking oil. To heated pan, add onions and ginger and saute until onions are tender, 4 to 5 minutes more. Sprinkle flour over onions and stir until no dry spots remain. Slowly pour stock over onions and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 1 minute. Pour onions and stock into the bowl of a slow cooker. Add beef on top. Cover and cook on low until meat can easily be shredded with a fork, 10 to 12 hours on low. (This thick stew can have a tendency to burn if cooked at higher heat for shorter time, so we highly recommend cooking it on low.) (Can be done 1 day ahead)

  5. Cucumbers / Mint / Cilantro - Prep as directed.

  6. Make salad - Toss cucumbers and mint with vinegar and olive oil.

  7. Fruit - Slice (if needed).

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Make

  1. When beef is done cooking, remove from the slow cooker and shred with two forks or roughly chop with a knife (if using bone-in meat, discard bones). Return beef to the cooker and stir to combine with cooking liquids. Taste and season with some salt and pepper, if needed.

  2. Toast sandwich buns.

  3. Fill sandwich buns with shredded beef and cilantro leaves. (Note: You can also add some of the cucumber salad to the sandwiches for some extra texture and flavor.) Enjoy sandwiches with cucumber salad, fresh fruit, and dates on the side.

Prep

  1. Onions / Ginger - (If prepping right before cooking, get oven heating first.) Prep as directed and combine. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)

  2. Make spice blend - Combine garam masala, salt, paprika, garlic powder, coriander, red pepper flakes, black pepper, cardamom, cloves, and sugar. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)

  3. Season beef - Season beef generously on both sides with spice blend. Tenderize with a fork. (Can be done 1 day ahead)

  4. Cucumbers / Mint / Cilantro - Prep as directed.

  5. Make salad - Toss cucumbers and mint with vinegar and olive oil.

  6. Fruit - Slice (if needed).

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Make

  1. Heat oven to 275F / 135C.

  2. Heat cooking oil in a large Dutch oven over low-medium heat. Add beef and sear on both sides until deep golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes per side. Set beef aside.

  3. Return pan to stove and increase to medium heat. If the pan looks dry, add some cooking oil. To heated pan, add onions and ginger and saute until onions are tender, 4 to 5 minutes more.

  4. Sprinkle flour over onions and stir until no dry spots remain.

  5. Slowly pour stock over onions and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 1 minute.

  6. Remove pan from heat and nestle seared beef into the onion-stock mixture. Cover with a lid and transfer to heated oven. Roast, covered, until meat is very tender and falling apart, 3 to 3 ½ hours.

  7. When beef is done cooking, transfer it to a cutting board.

  8. Shred beef with two forks or roughly chop with a knife (if using bone-in meat, discard bones). Return beef to the cooking liquids and stir everything to combine. Taste and season with some salt and pepper, if needed.

  9. Toast sandwich buns.

  10. Fill sandwich buns with shredded beef and cilantro leaves. (Note: You can also add some of the cucumber salad to the sandwiches for some extra texture and flavor.) Enjoy sandwiches with cucumber salad, fresh fruit, and dates on the side.

Prep

  1. Onions / Ginger - Prep as directed and combine. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)

  2. Make spice blend - Combine garam masala, salt, paprika, garlic powder, coriander, red pepper flakes, black pepper, cardamom, cloves, and sugar. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)

  3. Season beef - Season beef generously on both sides with spice blend. Tenderize with a fork. (Can be done 1 day ahead)

  4. Cucumbers / Mint / Cilantro - Prep as directed.

  5. Make salad - Toss cucumbers and mint with vinegar and olive oil.

  6. Fruit - Slice (if needed).

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Make

  1. Heat cooking oil in a large skillet over low-medium heat. Add beef and sear on both sides until deep golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes per side. Set beef aside. (Note: You can sear the beef in the bowl of the Instant Pot by using the saute function if you prefer, but with a large cut of meat such as this one, we find it faster to sear it on the stovetop.)

  2. Return pan to stove and increase to medium heat. If the pan looks dry, add some cooking oil. To heated pan, add onions and ginger and saute until onions are tender, 4 to 5 minutes more.

  3. Sprinkle flour over onions and stir until no dry spots remain.

  4. Slowly pour stock over onions and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 1 minute.

  5. Pour onions and stock into the bowl of an Instant Pot. Add beef on top. (You can slice it into a couple large pieces if it won’t easily fit.)

  6. Close and lock the lid. Set the pressure valve to 'Sealing'. Cook on manual / high pressure for 50 minutes. Let pressure release naturally for 5 minutes and then manually release any remaining pressure.

  7. When pressure valve drops, open the lid and transfer the beef to a cutting board.

  8. Shred beef with two forks or roughly chop with a knife (if using bone-in meat, discard bones). Return beef to the cooking liquids and stir everything to combine. Taste and season with some salt and pepper, if needed.

  9. Toast sandwich buns.

  10. Fill sandwich buns with shredded beef and cilantro leaves. (Note: You can also add some of the cucumber salad to the sandwiches for some extra texture and flavor.) Enjoy sandwiches with cucumber salad, fresh fruit, and dates on the side.

Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving
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% Daily Value
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Increase your nutrition smarts


Reviews

Ratings

Original (42)
Gluten-free (3)
Paleo (5)
Vegetarian (6)

Most Helpful

We loved this, such nice flavors. I used the slow cooker setting on the instantpot (10 hours on medium), and the meat couple have been even softer — maybe because our piece of roast was so big. I might suggest using pre-cut stew meat instead. The sandwiches were especially good with a lot of the onion/meat sauce dripped over. And brioche rolls absorbed everything well. The meat was even better the next day. And bonus — I told my Pakistani coworker I made Nihari, and he was really impressed!

By: Cullen
Posted: May 04, 2022
Diet: Original
1 Helpful

29 reviews

I used instant pot and left on keep warm for a few hours. My mistake but our beef was too tough to even shred. :( fun to make something with completely different seasonings.

By: Elizabeth
Posted: May 18, 2022
Diet: Gluten-free
0 Helpful

Used a 1.7 lb brisket in the oven for 3.75 hrs, spice blend (with no red pepper) was *delicious*! Salted the cucumbers and added more like 1/4 cup mint and that was delicious too. Will make again!!

By: Danica
Posted: May 16, 2022
Diet: Original
0 Helpful

This was great. We used canned green jack fruit. The spice blend made it so flavorful!

By: Andrea
Posted: May 15, 2022
Diet: Vegetarian
0 Helpful

We loved the sandwiches. I slow cooked the meat first and then crisped up pan-frying at the end like carnitas. Just got things going before reading all the directions. Was really looking forward to the cucumbers but they weren't as good as hoped. the meat was outstanding.

By: Nancy
Posted: May 12, 2022
Diet: Original
0 Helpful

I thought this was good but cloves came in too strong on the seasoning. Maybe I grabbed the wrong measure? We used a boneless roast - store didn't have bone in. Did 10 hours in the slow cooker and I thought it was perfect. Cucumber salad mostly got tossed, unfortunately.

By: Angela
Posted: May 09, 2022
Diet: Original
0 Helpful

This was rich and savoury. My partner liked it. The cucumber salad was a great side, very refreshing.

By: Estelle
Posted: May 08, 2022
Diet: Original
0 Helpful