Haleem is a popular stew from India, the Middle East and Central Asia. Traditionally made with grains, meat and pulses, each region and family add their own signature touches to the dish. Bold flavors come from popular spices and aromatics. The stew is mashed or blended, releasing the starches and then simmered into a thick, rich stew. This recipe is easy to make and is perfect for both beginner and seasoned home cooks.
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What is Haleem?
Haleem is a thick stew made from four main components; grain, meat, spices and liquid. Popular grains include wheat and barley although depending on the region, rice can be used also. Beef, lamb, goat or chicken is typically used, never pork. Spices used are heavily dependent on the region and preferences of the family cook. Liquids frequently used are water, broth or milk or a combination of the three.
Due to its popularity and nutritional value, Haleem is a popular dish to break the fast during Ramadan. It is also a favorite among Persian Jews to prepare before Shabbat, and left to stew on low heat overnight.
How to Eat Haleem
What to serve with Haleem is again a matter of region and personal preference. Some popular garnishes include fresh herbs such as mint, parsley or coriander. A topping of fried onions, sliced chilies or ginger, or fresh lemon juice is common. You may find this served along with rice or flatbread such as Naan or Mana’eesh.
Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT DOES HALEEM TASTE LIKE? – Haleem tastes like a spicy, earthy stew with complex flavors. It has a thick, almost chewy texture and great mouthfeel. Fresh herbs or lemon juice add a freshness at the end.
HOW HEALTHY IS HALEEM? – Haleem is full of protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Depending on how you make it or what you serve with it will determine how healthy it is to eat. Serving this hearty stew with a salad instead of white rice or naan can decrease the carbohydrate load in this meal. By using barley instead of white rice, you can also decrease the carbs.
WHY IS HALEEM FAMOUS? – Originally an Arabic dish, it has migrated to Hyderabad, India during the Mughal period via Iran and Afghanistan. The first recipe of Haleem which was then called Harees, is mentioned in a 10th century text. As mentioned previously, due to its heartiness and nutritional value, it is often used to break the fast during Ramadan. Another popular stew during Ramadan is Moroccan Harira Soup.
WHAT TYPE OF MEAT CAN I USE WHEN MAKING HALEEM? – You may use chicken, goat, beef or lamb to make it a classic Haleem. If you wish to make it vegetarian, simply use more lentils or another legume such as fava beans.
How to Make Haleem
CONFUSED ABOUT THE DIFFERENT CHILI POWDERS? I’ve got the details in my article What is Chili Powder?
Curious about what is in an Indian cook’s pantry? I made a free printable just for you. If you are just diving into Indian cooking, this Indian pantry list will be helpful to you. You probably already have some of these ingredients. Pro-tip, spices and sometimes vegetables, in an Indian market are much cheaper than at the supermarket.
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Times of India – The Story of Haleem
Wikipedia – Haleem