Haleem-A meal fit for Queens and Kings: Recipe

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Haleem or Khichra-as we call it, is perhaps the most celebrated dish in my house. My mother announces a day in advance that she will be making Khichra, so that every one can ensure they do not miss it. I get drawn to it like a moth to a flame.

This delicious preparation has found it’s way from the kitchens of middle eastern kings into Indian kitchens. In Kitab-al-Tabikh (The Book of Recipes), Abu Muhammad al-Muzaffar ibn Sayyar (A tenth century Arab writer) writes the recipe for Hareesa, which was a dish fit for the kings and nobles. Hareesa survived through ages and was brought to India by the soldiers in the army of Nizam of Hyderabad. It became popular among the indian folk and was eventually modified to suit the indian palate. It was renamed as Haleem. This preparation is a healthy high calorie food, which contains little oil but has all the goodness of wheat, cereals, and meat. Ideally prepared with red meat, Haleem has now been modified immensely and is sometimes prepared with chicken (of course the flavour isn’t as good, if you compromise on the recipe). It is cooked overnight in degh (huge cauldrons), so that the meat dissolves and the stew becomes more flavourful.

I have never tasted the Hyderabadi version, though I am very sure it cannot be better than my mother’s preparation of the same dish.

Chator has decided to be generous and will share the secret recipe of her mother’s Haleem. Try it out and let me know how it was.

Ingredients:

Oil…………………………………………………….1/2 cup

Mutton/ Lamb ……………………………………..1 kg (boneless)

Chana dal…………………………………………… 200 gm

Moong Dal……………………………………………200 gm

Mash ki Dal…………………………………………. 200 gm

Urad Dal………………………………………………200 gm

Masoor Dal………………………………………….. 200 gm

Crushed Wheat ……………………………………..100 gm

Rice…………………………………………………….100 gm

Water…………………………………………………..3 cups

Spices:

Red Chilli Powder……………………………………1 1/2 tsp

Coriander Power…………………………………….2 tsp

Turmeric Powder…………………………………….1 tsp

All-Spice Powder……………………………………2 tsp

Ginger Paste………………………………………….3 tsp

Garlic Paste…………………………………………..3 tsp

Medium sized Onions (sliced)…………………….2

Salt (according to taste)

For Tadka/ Baghaar

Bay Leaf……………………………………………….3-4

Cinnamon Stick……………………………………..1-2

Oil……………………………………………………….1/4th cup

Black Cardamom……………………………………..2-3

Black Peppercorns……………………………………1 tsp

Medium sized Onions (sliced)………………………1

Garnish:

Mint (chopped)

Crunchy Caramelised Onions

All-Spice Powder

Chaat Masala

Ginger Juliennes

Lemon

Method:

In a modern kitchen there is usually no place for a degh and hence we use a pressure cooker. This saves LPG, time and is eco-friendly too.

  • In a pressure cooker heat oil and fry the sliced onion till they are golden. Add mutton and all the spices and cook for 10-15 minutes. Add 3 cups of water and cover with the lid. Let it cook over low flame until the meat is tender. (This depends on how coarse the meat is, it can take upto 15-20 minutes)
  • In a separate pressure cooker combine all the grains and cereals; add water and cook for 30 minutes. The grains and cereals will be overcooked and form a gooey paste.
  • Combine the meat and grains and mash it until the meat dissolved completely. There should be no trace of mutton pieces or grains. The mixture will be a thick brown stew. Add salt as per your taste and adjust the spice levels by adding all spice/ garam masala.
  • For the tadka/baghaar, in a small pan, heat oil. Add bay leaf, black cardamom, cinnamon, pepper and sliced onions. Cook until the onion are golden brown and crispy. Pour it over the Haleem.
  • Serve the Haleem while its hot.

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Serving Suggestion:

Add caramelised onions on top along with chaat masala, garam masala, ginger juliennes, mint and squeeze lemon on top!

I hope you enjoy cooking as much as I do eating it!

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Image Courtesy: Sana Khan

Recipe: Shama Khan

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3 thoughts on “Haleem-A meal fit for Queens and Kings: Recipe

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