That's the hallmark of a genuine nourishing Nihari, the best part of the thigh muscle, specially selected prime marrow bones with generous portions of succulent meat, tenderized and marinated with curds, seasoned lovingly in the choicest of spices and dum-cooked to seal in the juices and flavors, slowly and gently, in a gravy carefully thickened with an assortment of flours of wheat, maize and dals as per the season and taste and garnished with thin strips of ginger and fine slices of fresh green chilies and a sprinkling of coriander.
I turn my attention to the Khameeri Roti. Holding the roti with my left hand I pull out a piece with my right. The texture is perfect ' soft and fluffy. I sample a piece ' yummy ' it tastes good by itself; and why shouldn't it? Whole-wheat attakneaded with plenty of curds, seasoned with a bit of sugar and salt, fermented overnight in a moist cloth, flattened and cooked in a tandoor. Nourishing, luxuriant, ideal with the Nihari.
I dip a piece of roti in the thick gravy allowing it to soak in and place it on my tongue. Exquisite. A gentle bite. Tangy ginger and sharp chili. A confluence of contrasting tastes. I absorb the riot of zesty flavors. It's exciting, invigorating, perks me up and I am ready for what I am going to do next.
And what am I going to do next? You knew it didn't you? I call for a marrow spoon, dig it into the marrow bone, scoop out some marrow and lick it on my tongue. I close my eyes and I can feel the nourishment coming all the way through. It's a heavenly feeling.
I eat in silence. Mindfully. Savor the aroma, delicately place the food on my tongue, chew slowly and experience the variety of flavors as the permeate my taste buds, fully aware and sense the nourishment as the food dissolves and sinks deep within me.
The succulent meat. The sumptuous gravy. The luxuriant fluffy Khameeri Roti. It's a feast worthy of the Gods. An ambrosial repast.
I am in a supreme state of bliss. Is this enlightenment? Or gustatory delight. Maybe it's meditative eating. Or let's narrow it down to the art of eating a Nihari.
It's simple. Create a positive eating atmosphere, honor your taste buds, respect your food and eat it in a proper state of mind, with love, zest, awareness and genuine appreciation and it will transport you to a state of bliss and happiness. In a nutshell, this is 'The Art of Eating'.
I used to visit two eateries on 1st Marine Street Dhobi Talao near Metro Cinema in Mumbai ' Sassanian when in the mood for Parsi food or maybe a Roast Chicken, or to pick up delicious cakes, biscuits and freshly baked delights from their Boulangerie next-door and Punjabi Fish Mart for earthy deep fried fish best enjoyed piping hot by well fortified cast-iron stomachs on cold damp monsoon evenings. Sometime back, returning one evening from one of my food-walks, I noticed, in between these two, a newly opened restaurant -Jaffer Bhai's Delhi Darbar ' with a takeaway section, from where I picked up a menu card and walked home. Later that night I read the menu card and was delighted to find on it my favorite non-vegetarian delicacy ' Nihari. I knew it wouldn't be long before I partook of the dish.
And soon I had my tryst with Nihari and experienced this delightful gustatory affair to remember.