The legendary nihari cook is no more.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Old Delhi’s legendary cook Kallu Mian Nihariwalle died on 18 April, aged 60.
He was famous for his nihari, the delicious Mughal-era meat stew that is slow-cooked for hours and is traditionally served as a morning meal. Kallu Mian’s stall at Chatta Lal Mian (behind Delite Cinema) was a landmark destination in the world of Delhi’s authentic cuisine.
The nihari cook’s real name was Mohammed Rafiquddin. He was born in a cramped house near Unchi Masjid in Turkman Gate, and he lived here until his last day.
Kallu Mian set up his eatery in 1990. His father, Mohammed Nazmuddin, too, was a nihari cook.
Kallu Mian was lately suffering from diabetes, among other things, and he needed dialysis to survive. The various illnesses had forced him to hand over the eatery to his sons, though occasionally he would go on a rickshaw to sit there for a few hours. The worsening health made even that impossible in the last few months.
Kallu Mian was buried in the Dilli Gate Qabristan, the graveyard behind The Times of India Building on Bahadur Shah Zafar Road. He is survived by wife, Shamshad Begum, two daughters, Ruqqaya and Uzma, and four sons, Rehaan, Faizan, Faisal and Saqib.
Kallu Mian was on a strict vegetarian diet during the last three years of his life. “Nihari had become like a zeher (poison) to him,” his son Faizan told The Delhi Walla.
Kallu Mian, rest in peace
1. (Kallu Mian's son Mohammed Faizan holding his father's photograph)
2. (the street to Kallu Mian's house)
3. (some members of Kallu Mian's family; from left--Muhammed Saqib, Muhammed Aahad, Muhammed Rehaan, Muhammed Sharifuddin, Muhammed Faizan, Abdul Samad)
5. (a photograph of Kallu Mian during his hajj pilgrimage to Mecca)