For the love of haleem

For the love of haleem

The meat stew is a favourite especially in the Ramzan season

It’s been an eventful month in the city with a number of tasty dishes available across the city to celebrate Ramzan. From street stalls to stand alone restaurants bringing out their specialities, foodies wait a whole year for the streets to light up this way. 

But the one dish that meat-lovers look forward to every year is the humble haleem. The minced gooey goodness made of wheat, barley, lentils, spices and meat, has become a crowd favourite in the last few years.  

It’s the slow-cooked preparation of it that makes it so delicious. A lot of mixing, waiting and more mixing for at least seven to eight hours is what completes the dish. 

Traditionally, haleem is made by soaking the wheat, barley and lentil overnight. You make a korma-like preparation of the meat to make it soft.

You then boil the overnight soaked ingredients in salt water till they are tender. Mix it with the meat (mostly mutton, chicken or beef is used) and hand mixed to obtain the paste-like consistency. The physical work this dish requires is immense and quite tiresome. That’s probably why most don’t try to make this at home. 

Having said that, though it is a Ramzan special, it’s not just the Muslim community who enjoy this. Meat lovers from different parts of the city flock to the food streets to relish a bowl of haleem, a dish that’s enough on its own or had with fresh bread or roti. 

When Metrolife visited some of the Ramzan stalls in the city, we too found that there were more takers for haleem than anything else.

Pista House in Fraser Town is said to have the best haleem in the city, along with Hotel Fanoos, Karama Restaurant, Paradise Biryani and so on. 

Chef Tanmoy Savardekar visited Fraser Town last week to try the haleem. He says, “We couldn’t take a picture of the dish as that place was a riot. There was a fresh batch of haleem that came in and around 60 people were waiting for it!”

Ask him why the haleem here is so popular here and he says, “Firstly, it’s from the land of Nizams, the birthplace of the dish. They have been in this business for many years and have acquired that name and fame for themselves.”

“Secondly, the ingredients they use are of premium quality. It’s not that the other places haven’t nailed the recipe but if anyone had to pick between Pista House and another place that serves haleem, they will opt for the first one,” he explains.

For Ramzan this year, Punjab Bistro in Koramangala is serving seven different types of haleem, two of which vegetarians can consume too.

The types include mutton, chicken, turkey, duck, prawn, raw jackfruit seed and an all-veggie version. This, of course, comes with an array of toppings and sides like fried onions, roasted cashew, fresh mint, masala spiced aloo fry and sheermal (saffron flavoured flatbread).

Chef Shashikant Kalyanee of Punjab Bistro explains, “The first time I was introduced to haleem was when I went to Hyderabad with my father. Ever since then, I tried to make different versions of it but not everyone appreciated it. It’s only been a few years since Bengaluru too started embracing the dish.” 

He says that the combination of spices and the process of slow cooking is what makes this dish so delicious. “When you make this at home, you generally add more wheat. In a commercial space, there’s more meat. I have added more wheat to give it the homely touch.” The festival is on till June 14. 

Reetu Uday Kugaji, blogger and author, took the help of cook books to make a haleem at home. She says, “Haleem takes several hours to prepare and it may not always be possible for us to make it at home. So I’ve used a pressure cooker which helped me save a lot of time.”

She advices one to use a heavy bottom vessel to cook so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. “You also have to keep stirring in between and keep a close eye on it. The burnt flavour can spoil the entire dish if you aren’t careful. It’s also important to stick to the recipe and know your proportions to balance the flavour and texture,” she adds. 

Where to eat haleem

  • Pista House, Fraser Town
  • Paradise, Indiranagar
  • Karama Restaurant, Fraser Town
  • Savoury - Sea Shell Restaurant, Bannerghatta Road
  • Hyderabad Biryaani House, Richmond Road

 

Hyderabadi Haleem

Recipe courtesy: Reetu Uday Kugaji

Ingredients 

  • Mutton, boneless, 450 gm
  • Ghee, 3 tbsp
  • Mutton stock, 1 ½ cups + 03 cups
  • Broken wheat, 1 cup
  • Urad dal, 1/4th  cup
  • Chana dal, 1/4th  cup
  • Barley, 1/4th cup
  • Golden brown onion, 1/4th cup
  • Ginger paste, ½ tsp. + ½ tsp
  • Garlic paste, ½ tsp + ½ tsp.
  • Green chillies, chopped, 2 
  • Yoghurt whisked, 1 cup
  • Freshly ground peppercorn, ½  tsp
  • Turmeric, ½ tsp. +¼ tsp
  • Coriander powder, ½ tsp
  • Ground cumin, 1/4 tsp
  • Caraway seeds, 1/4 tsp
  • Red chilli powder, ½ tsp + ¼ tsp
  • Saffron strands broiled, 1/4 gm
  • Mint leaves, chopped, 1/4 tbsp
  • Fresh coriander leaves, chopped, ½ tbsp

Whole spices

  • Cinnamon stick,  ½ inch
  • Cloves, 3 
  • Cardamom, 2
  • Black peppercorns, 4

For the sprinkling

  • Garam masala powder, ½ tsp

For the garnishing

  • Spiced Ghee
  • Clarified butter, 1/4th tbsp
  • Red chilli powder, ½ tsp

Other Garnishes

  • Golden brown onion, 1/2 cup
  • Fried cashew nuts, 2 tsp (Optional)
  • Fresh coriander leaves, chopped, 1/4th tbsp
  • Ginger juliennes, 1/4th tbsp
  • Red chillies, chopped, 1 
  • Lemon, 1

Method

  • Soak overnight, the dals and barley separately in water.
  • Soak the broken wheat for 2 hours.
  • To the mutton, add golden brown onion, ½ tsp each of ginger and garlic paste, salt, red chilli powder, garam masala powder, turmeric, coriander powder, ground cumin and caraway seeds. Pressure cook the mix with 1 ½ cups / or more of mutton stock for 10 minutes and simmer for another 20 minutes. Shred it with the back of the spoon or fork and set aside. (You may blend it with a hand blender to a coarse paste)
  • Boil the cracked wheat along with barley, urad and chana dal with ginger, garlic paste, turmeric, green chillies and freshly ground peppercorns in 08 cups of water until it is cooked completely and the water is absorbed. Blend this mixture until it forms a smooth paste. Set aside.
  • Heat the clarified butter in a heavy bottomed non-stick pan, add whole spices, the shredded mutton, remaining green chillies, half a cup fresh coriander, mint leaves and sauté for 2 minutes. Add whisked Yogurt and sauté for another 15 minutes. Add three cups of mutton stock and bring it to a boil.
  • To this, add the blended wheat, barley and dals and mix well. Add a little clarified butter. Add saffron. Add salt to taste.
  • Simmer for at least an hour.
  • In a small non-stick pan put the ghee and turn on low heat. Add 1/2 tsp. red chilli powder and turn off the heat. Keep separately for garnish.
  • Serve very hot sprinkled with garam masala powder,  garnished with the prepared spiced ghee, golden brown onion, chopped coriander leaves, ginger juliennes, chopped red chillies and lemon slices/wedges.
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