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Recipe for Pakistani "old clothes" beef curry (nihari) in the slow cooker {gluten-free}

Pakistani "old clothes" beef curry, made in the slow cooker.

If you're a fan of shredded meat -- ropa vieja, gumbo ya-ya, pulled pork -- you're going to love Anupy Singla's version of nihari, a Pakistani shredded beef dish, redolent with cinnamon and garam masala, and made in the slow cooker. Do not fear the long list of ingredients! You have all of them in your pantry, and you need do nothing except toss them into the slow cooker. Set to low, go to work, and come home at the end of the day to an amazing Indian feast. If you have a rice cooker that switches automatically to a keep-warm setting, start some rice to cook at the same time.

Pakistani "old clothes" beef

Pakistani "old clothes" beef curry (nihari)

From the pantry, you'll need: onions, ginger, garlic, powdered ginger, cardamom pods, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, garam masala, ground fennel, mild ground chile pepper, turmeric, nutmeg, kosher salt, canola oil.

This recipe, from The Indian Slow Cooker, serves 6.


2 medium yellow onions, peeled, cut in half, sliced
2 lbs beef brisket, trimmed of fat
1 2-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and cut into chunks
10 cloves garlic, peeled
1 heaping tsp ground (powdered) ginger
4 green or white cardamom pods
3 bay leaves
1 4-inch cinnamon stick
1 Tbsp garam masala
2 Tbsp ground fennel
1 Tbsp ground mild (red) chile pepper
2 pinches ground nutmeg
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black salt (or substitute kosher salt)
1/2 cup canola oil


Place the onions in a 4- or 5-quart slow cooker, and set the meat on top. In a food processor or mortar and pestle, grind the ginger and garlic to a paste, and add it to the slow cooker.

Add the remaining ingredients and drizzle the oil over everything; no need to mix! Cook on LOW for 9 hours (after 5 hours, turn the meat), until the beef falls apart.

Remove the meat to a bowl, and shred it with two forks. Return the meat to the slow cooker and toss with the sauce. Serve with naan or over white, brown or basmati rice.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Slow cooker chicken vindaloo
Mushroom bhaji (mushrooms in tomato-onion sauce)
Salmon tikka
Saag aloo (potatoes with spice spinach)
Masalawali chai

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Tatsoi with garam masala, from Andrea Meyers
Sugar free cardamom custard cups, from Christine Cooks
Cardamom and saffron pudding, from Arabic Bites
Cinnamon ice cream, from Technicolor Kitchen
Sautéed shrimp with turmeric and mustard seeds, from Jane Spice Recipes

Pakistani 'old clothes' beef curry: sounds exotic, but the slow cooker makes it easy.

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


This looks really good, I'm going to add it to the line up this month but need some kind of vegatable that would go with it. Any suggestions?

I have that cookbook and this recipe has been on my "list to try" for a while now. Looks delicious!

Lots of tender beef? Definitely something my three teenagers will love! It's now officially on this week's menu!

Love the dish and love the blue and white plate. This is the just the kind of presentation I love for my beef!

Kate, how about eggplant or roasted asparagus, or butternut squash?

Kalyn, so easy and really delicious.

Julie, for a bit of cross-cultural fun for the kids, you can roll this up in a tortilla, too.

Bellini, the beef is so flavorful that we enjoyed it with rice and nothing else!

Thanks for sharing this, Lydia. You've always got fabulous recipes up your sleeve. This reminds me of an Indian version of a dish my kids used to love called "Comforting Shredded Beef."

I don't use these words often but Lydia, I am drooling over this! And, the presentation on that lovely blue plate is just gorgeous.

Looks FAB Lydia. Matt's been asking me to pull out slow cooker recipes and I just printed this one out for him. Looks like great company fare too!

This looks super good... I really need to get a slow cooker!! Love the flavors you've used!

yes please.

Donna, I love the sound of "comforting shredded beef". After all, isn't shredded beef in any form the ultimate comfort food?

Maris, if you love Indian spices, this dish will definitely make you drool. So good, and so easy to make.

Mary, hope it was fun for Matt and delicious for you!

Deana, the slow cooker I used for this (4-quart oval) cost less than $20. Now I understand why people collect them in all sizes!

Blogbytina, yes indeed!

Oh YES this sounds good! I think I really need to do this.

How could you ever call Nahari a Pakistani curry when I had tasted this dish in Calcutta before Pakistan came into existence. There were a few eateries down my street operated by Muslims from Bihar and the United Provinces selling naan, falooda, nahari,chaap masala,biriyani, halim etc. Call these Muslim dishes and I will accept. Pakistani cuisine is N.Indian cuisine and nothing more.

Gilliana of Oz: this is typically n originally a famous Pakistani dish
i saw one of ur chef was cooking nihaari. Ridiculously i would rekon u to come to Pakistan and test its faboulous test HERE IN KARACHI.
note:not every thing is f4m ur hindustaan
Donna: in nihari instead of "shredded beef"
larg pieces of beef shin along with its marrow bone is b'used.

Hi! I've just come across this recipe and I'm going to make it ASAP, it sounds divine! But it's odd that there's no liquid but a sauce results. Are you sure you don't add a cup of water or something to the initial pot?

Rachel, no water needed! Hope you give it a try.

I have this in my crockpot today and I can't wait to come home to it for dinner. I found the recipe in The Indian Slow Cooker (great cook book btw) but it didn't mention flipping the brisket after 5 hours, or shredding the beef and returning to the pot with sauce. Both sound like good ideas. I'll have to run home this afternoon to flip the beef (I wanted an excuse to smell my house before dinner time!).

Made this dish 2day in the oven in a pot. Turned out very nice

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