These Indian Beef Short Ribs Take Time, But They’re So Worth It

This well-spiced meat-based stew is a warming delicacy found throughout the entirety of the Indian subcontinent.

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Depending on where you are in South Asia, the definition of nihari differs, with varying spices and some debate over how much meat versus how much bone goes into it. But this well-spiced meat-based stew is a warming delicacy found throughout the entirety of the Indian subcontinent. In this interpretation, Indian chef Miheer Shete uses braised beef short ribs and an array of spices including deggi mirch powder and biryani masala.

Founder of Indian food delivery brand Curryish, the entrepreneurial Chef Miheer Shete is based in Toronto but was born and raised in Mumbai. While he spent much of his career in European kitchens, he now uses those techniques in Indian cooking. Learn more about making an Indian curry of your own with Shete’s insight.

Clean Eating: What sets Indian cooking apart from the rest?
Miheer Shete: The originality, diversity of dishes and, most importantly, the spices. The aromas created with spices is very addictive.

CE: What do you look for in curry mixes?
MS: The aromas should take over the room. I don’t go for one brand; they’re all good in their own way. See which works for your household, depending on the flavors your family likes.

CE: What are your top tips for building an authentically Indian curry?
MS: The most important part is to make a flavorful masala — a mixture of onion, ginger, garlic and spices, whole and ground. It’s very important to caramelize the onion, ginger and garlic. It’s also customary to toast seasonings.

Indian Beef Short Ribs Nihari



Short ribs

  • 2 tbsp safflower oil
  • 2 lb boneless beef short ribs, cut into 4-inch pieces
  • 3 white onions, diced
  • 1 1⁄2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 1⁄2 tbsp minced ginger
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 3-inch stick cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 plum tomato, diced
  • 8 cups low-sodium beef stock
  • 1⁄2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1⁄4 cup cilantro stems, chopped
  • 1⁄4 cup coconut or date sugar

Nihari curry

  • 3 tbsp safflower oil
  • 1 1⁄2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 1⁄2 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 tbsp each cumin seeds and fennel seeds
  • 2 tbsp garam masala
  • 2 tbsp deggi mirch powder (TIP: Look for this chile blend in specialty stores, or use 1 tsp ground cayenne.)
  • 2 tbsp biryani masala (TRY: Shan Biryani Mix)
  • 1 tbsp unsalted tomato paste
  • 1 cup low-sodium beef stock
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped


  1. Prepare short ribs: Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium oven-safe pot, heat oil on medium. Sear ribs on all sides until golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Drain fat.
  2. To same pot on medium, add onion, garlic, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, peppercorns and salt. Sauté until onions are golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add tomatoes; sauté until broken down, 6 to 8 minutes.
  3. Add stock, pepper flakes and cilantro stems and bring to a simmer. Add ribs and cover. Transfer to oven and cook for 3 to 3.5 hours. (TIP: To test for doneness, pull beef with tongs; if meat comes off easily, beef is braised perfectly.) Remove from liquid and transfer to a plate. Stir in sugar to remaining mixture in pot and set aside to cool.
  4. In a high-speed blender or using an immersion blender, blend mixture from pot until smooth.
  5. Prepare nihari curry: In a large pot on medium, heat oil. Add garlic, ginger, cumin and fennel and sauté until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add garam masala, deggi mirch and biryani masala and toast, 1 to 2 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.
  6. Add blended mixture and mix well, stirring any browned bits from the bottom of pot. Stir in stock.
  7. Add short ribs back in and simmer on low for 15 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with cilantro. Serve with naan or basmati rice.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size 1⁄8 of recipe
  • Calories 530
  • Carbohydrate Content 21 g
  • Cholesterol Content 72 mg
  • Fat Content 39 g
  • Fiber Content 3 g
  • Protein Content 24 g
  • Saturated Fat Content 14 g
  • Sodium Content 998 mg
  • Sugar Content 10 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat Content 16 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat Content 6 g