Nihari. 

Dear readers,

Generally when someone calls me at around 5.30 in the morning and ask me if I am sleeping, I reply with a very polite, “No, I was bowling to Sachin Tendulkar.” However, rules are made because there are exceptions. So when S called this morning and told me that she wanted Beef Nihari, who was I to disagree?
Beef Bone in my path. 
For those who do not know, Nihari is equal to soft chunks of beef in a soup-like gravy, served generally early in the mornings during the winter season here in Kolkata. Generally, it is made with beef or mutton. 
So S and IDG picked me up from the house, and proceeded towards Zakaria Street, close to Nakhoda Masjid, where Sufiya is located. I had first heard of this place from IDG a long time back (and drooled over the pictures that were taken), and I had begged them to take me with them the next time they were around. Thankfully, they remembered me. 
We walked down Chitpur, passed the famous Royal Hotel (I will review this place too, I promise), and moved to Zakaria Street where Sufiya is located. 
If you are squeamish about eating or loving beef, stop reading here. This post is an ode to beef lovers around Kolkata. The place itself is nothing fancy, and mostly locals eat here. People were frying puris (deep fried flatbread) outside, and we stared at it appreciatively. We stood there for a couple of minutes as all the tables were full, and then one man, looking at my sad and hungry face took pity and asked me what I was looking for. 
Menu Card. I want the Kalia Zaban the next time.
The word Nihari brought a smile to his face, and he hurriedly displaced an eater from his table (I could not help but feel sorry for the guy who had barely started his meal before he was unceremoniously ousted from his seat and placed somewhere else. Had it been me, I would have protested, but seeing three people, out of which two were women, probably put him in a tizz) and made a place for us. We sat down, and immediately ordered a plate of puris, tandoori rotis and three plates of Nihari. 
Puris.
As soon as we were seated, out came my camera and IDG’s SLR, and we started snapping. There was a fourth occupant in our table (who was not in our group, but an innocuous Nihari Eater, by the way) who looked at the two creatures pointing cameras at food, and then, again concentrated on his food after a few minutes. 
Tandoori roti
Within minutes, the rotis had arrived, and we were waiting impatiently and snapping pictures like the Paparazzi taking pictures of minor celebs while waiting for Brad Pitt. Then came the star of the show. 
Nihari
This was worth the wait. 
The softest meat came in, with a thin layer of fat floating over a succulent soup which you were supposed to mix together with some lemon juice and chopped chillies and coriander leaves. This was meat at its purest, a poetical balance of the salty, cut with the slight tang of lemon juice that you are supposed to squeeze in.
I was enthralled. But then I tasted the meat. 
The meat was as soft as they came. It melted in my mouth. Parted as soon as my spoon touched it. 
And it had the perfect balance of intramuscular fat which I prefer. 
I love you. Nihari, be mine. Please. 
IDG steadily ate through his puris, and later said they were packed with stuffing and mighty fine. However, I preferred the purity of tandoori rotis, and we finished with a cup of milky tea, with fresh buffalo milk lacing it. 
Our bill, after all this, came to INR 248/- (just under $5) for three very hungry people. 
Let’s just say, Sufiya, I will be back.
Oh, and did I show you the picture of the chicken-filled rickshaw I saw when I was coming back?
Sufiya
2, Zakaria Street, 
Kolkata – 700073
Written by Poorna Banerjee

    8 Comments

  1. poorna banerjee 2013-01-20 at 6:11 am Reply

    Oh its worth every sad waking up moment, L. If you come to Kolkata… this is a wonderful thing to try.

  2. Not Quite Nigella 2013-01-20 at 2:17 am Reply

    I loved this post Poorna and I'd definitely get up early for this 😀

  3. poorna banerjee 2013-01-19 at 11:46 am Reply

    coming from you… that is indeed a compliment.

  4. Anirban Halder 2013-01-19 at 7:13 am Reply

    Really mouth-watering post, Poorna! The pictures have high drool quotient. I downloaded the first picture and posted it as my timeline picture on Facebook, it was so sublime!

  5. poorna banerjee 2013-01-18 at 6:57 am Reply

    Its served through winter, November to March. Nihari is best enjoyed then.

  6. Nina 2013-01-17 at 5:34 pm Reply

    Great post! Drooling at the pictures. Is nihari served throughout the year or only in Winters?

  7. poorna banerjee 2013-01-17 at 8:05 am Reply

    Thanks Shruti! 🙂

  8. Shruti Dhingra Wahi 2013-01-17 at 8:02 am Reply

    Great review Poorna ….. Multi-talented 🙂
    Just read your post in Preetha's blog …Great work !!!

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