Kathal Nihari Recipe

Kathal Nihari Recipe

40 Mins
6-7 people
10 Mins



Hey there, it's Ajay Chopra welcoming you to my culinary world once again. Today, I'm thrilled to share something truly unique with you all – Kathal Nihari. But before we dive into the recipe, let me take you on a little journey down memory lane. Growing up, I was always fascinated by the rich tapestry of flavors that Indian cuisine has to offer. Kathal Nihari, with its blend of spices and tender jackfruit, is a dish that holds a special place in my heart. Whether it's the first time I tried it or the countless times I've savored its taste, each bite brings back memories of warmth and comfort.


Now, let's get cooking!




Recipe of Kathal Nihari




  • Kathal (Jackfruit): 500 gms
  • Mustard oil: ½ cup
  • Kewra water: 1 tbsp
  • Kabuli chala (Boiled Chickpeas): ¼ cup
  • Mushroom: 1 cup
  • Kabuli chana stock: 4 cups
  • Onion, sliced: 1½ cup
  • Ginger & garlic paste: 2 tbsp
  • Green chilli, slit: 3 pcs
  • Turmeric powder: 1 tbsp
  • Salt: 1 tbsp
  • Deggi mirch powder: ½ tbsp
  • Ghee: 2 tbsp
  • Besan (Gram flour): ½ tbsp
  • Wheat flour/Atta: 1 tbsp
  • Green chilli (slices): 1 pc
  • Ginger juliennes: 1 tbsp
  • Edible sweet ether: 2 drops
  • Saffron: 6-7 strands


Nihari powdered masala:

  • Coriander seeds: 4 tbsp
  • Jeera (Cumin seeds): 2 tbsp
  • Shahi jeera: ½ tbsp
  • Black pepper: ½ tbsp
  • Cinnamon: 1½ inch
  • Star anise: 1 pc
  • Black cardamom: 2 pcs
  • Green cardamom: 5 pcs
  • Long pepper/pipli: 2 pcs
  • Paan ki jad (Betel nut): 1 inch
  • Mace: 1 pc
  • Saunf (Fennel seeds): 2 tbsp
  • Cloves: ½ tbsp
  • Dried rose petals: 4 tbsp
  • Dagad phool: 2 tbsp
  • Nutmeg: ½ pc
  • Bay leaf: 2 pcs


Potli masala:

  • Bay leaf: 2 pcs
  • Black cardamom: 1 pc
  • Coriander seeds: 1 tbsp
  • Jeera: ½ tbsp
  • Dagad phool: 1 tbsp
  • Cinnamon: 1 inch
  • Star anise: 2 pcs
  • Green cardamom: 3-4 pcs
  • Mace: 1 tbsp
  • Nutmeg: ¼ pc
  • Dried rose petals: 1 tbsp
  • Mace: ½ pc
  • Saunf: ½ tbsp
  • Paan ki jad: ½ inch
  • Cloves: 3 pcs
  • Long pepper/pipli: 1 pc





  1. Peel the skin of the kathal and cut it into cubes.
  2. In a pan, boil water, add kathal cubes, salt, turmeric powder, and boil for 2-3 mins. Set aside kathal and reserve the water.
  3. Grind all the whole spices for the powdered nihari masala into a fine powder. Set aside.
  4. Prepare the potli masala by tying the spices in a muslin cloth to make a potli.
  5. In a mixer jar, blend boiled chickpeas, mushrooms, and some chickpea stock into a puree. Set aside.
  6. Heat mustard oil in a pan, add kewra water, and cover until the spluttering stops. Then add blanched kathal and sear for a minute. Remove and set aside.
  7. In the same pan, add sliced onions and cook until golden brown. Then add a little chickpea stock, ginger & garlic paste, and cook.
  8. Add slit green chilli, potli masala, mushroom & chickpea puree, remaining chickpea stock, turmeric powder, deggi mirch powder, reserved kathal stock, and cook for 2-3 mins.
  9. Add the powdered nihari masala, kathal, and mix. Cover and cook on low flame for 10-15 mins.
  10. Remove the kathal, strain the gravy, and set aside.
  11. In another pan, heat ghee, add wheat flour, besan, and roast for a few seconds. Then add the strained gravy and mix.
  12. Add kathal, kewra water, ginger juliennes, sliced green chilli, coriander, mint, edible sweet ether, powdered nihari masala, and cook for a minute.
  13. Kathal Nihari is ready to serve. Enjoy!




About the Recipe:


Kathal Nihari is a unique twist on the traditional Nihari dish, where tender jackfruit replaces the usual meat, offering a delightful vegetarian alternative. This dish is a perfect amalgamation of aromatic spices, slow-cooked to perfection, resulting in a rich and flavorful gravy. With its roots in Mughlai cuisine, Kathal Nihari is a testament to the culinary diversity of India. Whether enjoyed with steamed rice or fluffy naan, this dish is sure to tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving for more.



Cooking Tips:


  1. Choose Ripe Jackfruit: Opt for ripe jackfruit that is soft and yields slightly to pressure for the best texture and flavor.
  2. Slow Cooking is Key: Allow the spices to meld together by simmering the dish on low heat for a prolonged period, enhancing its depth of flavor.
  3. Toast the Spices: Toasting the spices before grinding them releases their essential oils, intensifying their flavor profile.
  4. Balance the Flavors: Adjust the amount of salt, spice, and sourness according to your preference to achieve the perfect balance of flavors.
  5. Use Fresh Ingredients: Freshly ground spices and aromatic herbs elevate the dish's taste, so try to use them whenever possible.



Pairing Guide:


  • Steamed Rice: The subtle flavors of steamed rice complement the rich and spicy gravy of Kathal Nihari perfectly.
  • Naan Bread: Soft and fluffy naan bread is ideal for mopping up the flavorful gravy, making it a classic accompaniment to this dish.
  • Roti: For a lighter option, pair Kathal Nihari with whole wheat roti or paratha for a satisfying meal.
  • Cucumber Raita: A cooling cucumber raita provides a refreshing contrast to the spicy flavors of Kathal Nihari, making it a delightful side dish.




Frequently Asked Questions about Kathal Nihari:


  1. What is Kathal Nihari? Kathal Nihari is a vegetarian twist on the traditional Nihari dish, where tender jackfruit replaces the usual meat, cooked in a rich and aromatic gravy.

  2. How long does it take to cook Kathal Nihari? Kathal Nihari requires slow cooking on low heat for approximately 1-2 hours to allow the flavors to develop fully.

  3. Can I use canned jackfruit for this recipe? While fresh jackfruit is preferred for its superior flavor and texture, canned jackfruit can be used as a convenient alternative.

  4. Is Kathal Nihari spicy? The level of spiciness can be adjusted according to personal preference by controlling the amount of red chili powder and green chilies used in the recipe.

  5. Can I freeze leftover Kathal Nihari? Yes, Kathal Nihari freezes well and can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2-3 months. Simply thaw and reheat before serving.

  6. What other vegetables can I add to Kathal Nihari? While jackfruit is the star ingredient, you can enhance the dish by adding vegetables like potatoes, carrots, or peas for added texture and flavor.

  7. Can I make Kathal Nihari in a pressure cooker? While traditionally cooked on low heat for an extended period, you can use a pressure cooker to expedite the cooking process. Adjust cooking time accordingly.

  8. Is Kathal Nihari a spicy dish? Kathal Nihari can be made as spicy or mild as desired by adjusting the quantity of chili powder and green chilies used in the recipe.

  9. What makes Kathal Nihari unique? The use of tender jackfruit as a meat substitute and the slow-cooking process to develop rich flavors sets Kathal Nihari apart from other vegetarian dishes.

  10. Can I serve Kathal Nihari with bread? Yes, Kathal Nihari pairs well with various bread options such as naan, roti, or even crusty bread, enhancing the dining experience with its rich and flavorful gravy.