Haleem (also known as Hyderabadi Haleem or Chana Dal Haleem) is one of the most famous traditional Indian food items. It’s considered an essential part of any meal in India.
The word “haleem” comes from Arabic, which means “to boil.”
The name of this dish originates from its method of cooking—the slow simmering process.
In ancient times, it was common for people to cook their meals at home by boiling water over an open fire.
This became inefficient because cooking time would increase exponentially if there were multiple pots being boiled simultaneously.
So, cooks began experimenting with ways to make the cooking process faster and easier.
One way they found was to use a special type of clay pot called “kadhai” or “kadahi” where the foods can be cooked slowly while remaining on top of the stove.
This technique allowed them to reduce cooking time and also preserve nutrients better than when they were using a wood burning fire to get heat.
As time passed, these innovations led to the creation of a unique cuisine based on the same principles.
Here’s everything you need to know about eating halal haleem.
1.What Are The Different Ingredients Used In Haleem?
There are two main types of ingredients used in making haleem:
- Wheat flour
- Lentil powder
Ingredients 1. Wheat Flour
- Bread flour
- Whole wheat flour
- All purpose flour
Ingredients 2. Lentil Powder
- Red lentil powder
- Green gram dhal
- Split green gram dhal
- Moong dhal
- Black gram dhal
- Yellow mung bean dhal
- White kidney beans
- Soya beans
Ingredients 3. Meat
- Chicken pieces
Ingredients 4. Vegetables
- Sweet potatoes
- Spinach leaves
- Leafy greens
- Brussels sprouts
- Water chestnuts
Ingredients 5. Spices
- Turmeric powder
- Cardamom seeds
- Cinnamon sticks
- Star anise
- Bay leaf
- Cassia bark
- Fenugreek seeds
- Mustard seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Cumin seeds
- Tamarind pulp
- Coriander powder
- Ground black pepper
- Cayenne pepper
- Garam masala
Ingredients 6. Other Ingredients
- Vegetable oil
- Clarified butter
- Macro bakarkhan
- Sunflower seed
- Poppy seeds
- Olive oil
- Canola oil
- Corn oil
- Palm kernel oil
- Avocado Oil
- Mustard seeds
- Curry leaves
- Basmati rice
- Fresh coriander leaves
- Green chillies
- Chopped ginger
- Chaat Masala
2.How Do You Make Haleem?
Haleem is traditionally prepared using either lamb or chicken, but both meats are acceptable.
To prepare the dish, first clean all the bones out of the meat and discard them.
Then cut off some fat around the bone and then cut the rest into small pieces.
Next, place the meat along with onion, ginger, garlic, green chilies, and spices such as cumin seeds, turmeric powder, coriander seeds, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, cloves, black peppercorns, bay leaves, and salt in a large bowl and mix well so that the spices evenly coat the meat.
Afterwards, take your kadhai and fill it halfway full with ghee.
Add half the spice mixture and stir until mixed properly.
Then pour in enough hot water to cover the bottom of the kadhai.
Bring the water to a boil, turn down the heat to medium low and let it simmer for 5 hours.
During the entire cooking process, add more water whenever necessary to keep the level constant.
After five hours have elapsed, drain the excess liquid and set aside the meat.
You may now serve the meat with rice, paratha, naan bread, or rotis.
3.What Is The History Of Haleem?
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, haleem is believed to have originated in Afghanistan, but today it is prepared in many parts of South Asia.
It has been around since the early 19th century, although some say it goes back further into antiquity.
It’s not only eaten during Ramadan, although that’s when it typically reaches peak popularity.
In fact, it is eaten all year long.
And even though it may seem like a simple dish, it takes a lot of skill to prepare properly.
For example, the correct consistency must be maintained throughout the entire cooking process.
There are three main methods used to create a perfect haleem:
- Traditional Method – This method uses a kadhai. You place the ingredients inside the kadhai, add enough water to cover the contents, then bring the mixture to a boil. Once the mixture boils, you lower the flame and let it simmer until desired tenderness is reached.
- Instant Pot Method – This method utilizes an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker. The Instant Pot makes preparing haleem much quicker than other methods. Just fill your instant pot with water, add ingredients, turn on the machine, and wait for the timer to go off. When done, remove the lid and enjoy!
- Stovetop Method – Using this method, you will need to start by soaking dals overnight. Then, once soaked, drain excess liquid before adding the spices and the meat. Cook the mixture on medium heat until the meat turns brown. Add water whenever needed so that the mixture remains moist. To finish, mix in the rice flour, salt, and turmeric powder.
4.How Did Haleem Become Popular?
The first written reference to haleem dates back to 1585 AD, during the reign of Akbar the Great, who ruled the Mughal Empire between 1556–1605 AD.
In 1606 AD, Aurangzeb took over the throne and brought many changes to the empire.
During his rule, he banned non-Muslim communities from owning land and started enforcing strict rules against those who violated religious laws.
He also ordered all Muslims to wear Muslim dress and start observing Islamic traditions more strictly.
As a result, several dishes like haleem fell out of favor among the masses.
However, some families continued making the dish secretly on their own without anyone knowing about it.
By 1826 AD, the British East India Company took control of the country and introduced new laws to enforce the Hindu religion throughout the entire nation.
Among other things, they outlawed polygamy and forced Indians into becoming Hindus.
These factors combined helped create a climate of fear amongst Muslim men towards women, especially due to social norms.
They stopped marrying outside of their community and instead chose to marry within the family circle.
This practice further decreased the number of marriages happening across the community.
It wasn’t until 1947 AD that India gained independence after years of struggle and bloodshed.
After winning freedom, the government decided to change the food culture so that everyone could enjoy it equally.
After gaining independence, India faced severe food shortages caused largely by political turmoil and economic problems.
Food production dropped significantly during this period of instability.
To fill the gap, the government encouraged farmers to grow grains such as rice, barley, beans, chickpeas and millet.
However, it didn’t take long before the population realized that these crops weren’t enough to feed everyone.
And because of the lack of sufficient supplies, prices increased dramatically.
To address the issue, the government introduced subsidies through state governments and local authorities to encourage farmers to grow more grain.
But this only exacerbated the problem, resulting in even higher prices.
At this point, many people turned to alternative sources of protein to supplement their diets.
One source of protein that grew in popularity was meat. Not just beef but chicken too.
Some even started buying large quantities of cattle and slaughtering goats and sheep for consumption.
But some meat traders noticed that customers preferred goat and lamb meat over beef and chicken.
Since they couldn’t sell their livestock, they resorted to selling off the animal parts rather than whole carcasses.
Many of these traders then used the leftover bones to prepare their favorite recipes.
With the rise of restaurants, cafes and street vendors selling haleem, demand for the dish skyrocketed.
By the 1950s, it was already common to find haleem stalls everywhere in cities.
Today, haleem still remains a staple dish in every household in India.
5.What Are The Different Types Of Haleem?
There are many different kinds of haleem in India.
In fact, each region has its own variation of the dish.
Some regions have more ingredients like tomatoes, green chillies, ginger, garlic, and coriander leaves.
But others don’t include those spices.
Each community uses its own recipes, so no two dishes will look exactly alike.
However, all variations share the following characteristics:
- Slowly simmered meat stew with rice
- Flavorful and delicious
- Rich in protein and vitamins
- Healthy and nutritious
- Made with whole grains
- A staple in every household
- Spicy yet mild tasting
Since haleem originated from the Muslim communities of India, some versions of the dish are prepared without beef but still contain lamb.
Other versions of the dish may not include meat altogether, but rather use chicken, mutton, or even fish instead.
Some versions of haleem are vegetarian, but none of the varieties are vegan.
You won’t find eggs or dairy products in any version either.
If you want to remove animal products completely, then you should eat plain white rice or rotis instead.
6.How Do You Serve Haleem?
You can eat haleem either hot or cold. When eaten warm, it has a thick gravy consistency that isn’t too sweet, but still packs enough flavor to satisfy your taste buds.
Traditionally, it’s served along with flatbread like naan or roti (Indian bread), though rice is now becoming more popular.
When you order haleem, you will usually have the choice between two types of ingredients: white/wheat flour or chickpea flour.
You may even see some recipes calling for both flours together.
Either way, you should ask what the main ingredient is before ordering because not all restaurants offer haleem prepared with wheat or chickpeas alone.
If you want to try something new, opt for a restaurant serving halal haleem.
These restaurants typically don’t add sugar or salt to their dishes so you won’t find yourself feeling bloated after having it.
But if you’re looking for a quick bite to eat, then it’s best to stick to homemade versions of haleem because they tend to be healthier.
7.What Are The Different Side Dishes That Go With Haleem?
There are several types of side dishes that you can put alongside your main course of haleem.
These include rice pilau, raita, chutney, curd, pickle, etc.
- Ingredients: Rice, onions, ginger, garlic, cumin seed powder, green cardamom pods, turmeric, salt, oil, ghee, lemon juice
- Preparation: Wash the rice thoroughly, drain off excess moisture, then soak the grains overnight in enough hot water to cover them completely. Then add the ingredients listed above into the rice along with some saffron threads. Bring all the ingredients together to form a thick paste. Boil the mixture until it reaches the consistency of dry porridge. Add milk powder and keep stirring constantly until the rice turns golden brown.
Chakki Kulfi Raita
- Ingredients: Plain yogurt, chopped cucumber, mint leaves, sugar syrup, green chili sauce, roasted peanuts
- Method: Place the yogurt in a pan and warm it up slightly. Once it starts bubbling, remove it from the heat and let cool down. Mix the cooled yogurt with the chopped cucumbers and mint leaves. Next, take a bowl and place the mixture inside it. Pour the sugar syrup over the top and mix well. Finally, sprinkle the peanuts around the edges of the raita.
- Ingredients: Potatoes, onion, paneer, tomato ketchup, coriander leaves, chaat masala, red chillies, lime juice, mustard seeds, salt, black pepper, green chilli peppers, fenugreek leaves, curry leaves
- Method: Peel the potatoes, cut into small cubes, then fry them in some oil till they turn light brown. Remove the fried potato cubes from the frying pan and set aside. In another pan, roast the onion pieces till they become translucent. Put the onion pieces and the fried potato cubes back in the pan and stir continuously for 3 minutes so they combine properly.
- Next, slice the tomatoes and put them in the pan. Stir the mixture and leave it alone for 5 minutes. After that, add the tomato ketchup and stir again.
- Finally, add the spices such as the chaat masala, the red chilli peppers, the green chilli peppers, the curry leaves, mustard seeds, the fenugreek leaves, and the coriander leaves.
- Now pour 1/4 cup of vinegar over the mixture and stir in between each addition of vinegar.
- Ingredients: Potato, peas, carrot, tamarind pulp, chickpeas, salt, lemon juice, coconut flakes, jaggery, chaat masala
- Method: Prepare a batter by mixing the chickpeas with the tamarind pulp, salt, lemon juice, and chaat masala. Make sure to sieve out the extra liquid before adding it to the batter.
- Cut the carrots into long thin slices and parboil them in salted water for 7 minutes. Drain the carrots and pat them dry with paper towels. Next, dip the carrots into the prepared batter and deep fry them.
Besan Ka Bharta
- Ingredients: Flour, besan, water, salt, baking soda, sugar, green chillis, oil
- Method: Combine the flour, besan, water, and salt in a large bowl. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Now, transfer the dough to a flat surface and knead it gently. Divide the dough into 8 equal portions and roll each portion into balls. Set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet. When the oil becomes hot, add the dough balls one by one. Cook them evenly on both sides till they turn a light tan color. Transfer the bread patties onto a plate lined with aluminum foil and repeat the entire process with the rest of the dough balls.
- To prepare the bharta filling, finely chop the green chilli. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a nonstick skillet. Add the chopped green chilli, ginger, onion, and garlic. Saute for 10 minutes until the vegetables soften but not too much. You may want to lower the heat after 4 minutes so the vegetables don’t burn.
- Add the sliced tomatoes and the ground beef. Continue to stir every few minutes for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Once the mixture has reached a medium thickness, arrange half of the bread patties on the bottom of a serving platter.
- Top the bread patties with the prepared filling and fold the other half of the bread patties over to create a semi-circle shape. Serve immediately.
8.How Do You Make Haleem More Nutritious?
There are numerous health benefits associated with having halal haleem regularly.
Some of those include:
- Halal haleem helps lower cholesterol levels.
- It has high protein content.
- It contains less fat compared to other popular fast food items such as burgers and pizza.
- It provides a lot of fiber and iron.
- It’s full of vitamins like Vitamin B1, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, zinc, riboflavin, niacin and folate.
- It’s low in sodium and high in antioxidants.
Each serving of halal haleem consists of 4.5 ounces of meat, 2 cups of rice, 1 cup of wheat flour, ½ cup of lentils and 1 tablespoon of oil.
So, how many calories does each serving contain?
If we assume all ingredients have the same calorie count then here’s what we get:
Calories per serving = 3,250 kcal
If you want to lose weight, you should eat fewer calories every day.
To achieve your daily caloric intake goal, try adding extra vegetables into the mix so you don’t end up consuming too much salt.
Note: You might not always find halal haleem available in grocery stores.
But, you will usually see some variation of it at restaurants and street stalls across India.
9.Can Haleem Be Made Without Meat?
Yes, it can! There are many vegetarian versions available in restaurants and grocery stores today.
They all include chickpeas, spices, vegetables, and rice.
You can try making your own version of a vegetarian halal haaleem by following this step-by-step guide.
- Add 1 cup of brown lentil flour along with 2 cups of water into a pan. Bring the mixture to a boil.
- Once the mixture boils, add 1/3rd cup of vegetable oil and let it continue to boil until the mixture thickens up.
- When the mixture has thickened, add 1 cup of chopped carrots and green peas and stir well.
- Next, add 1 cup each of finely diced tomatoes, onion, ginger, garlic, cilantro, and mint leaves.
- Finally, pour in 3 tablespoons of garam masala powder and salt to taste.
If you want to turn this into a hearty meal, just add a serving of roti bread before serving.
10.What Are Some Popular Haleem Recipes?
There are many different types of haleem recipes out there.
Each region has its own version of how to create it.
However, below are some popular variations.
- Kheema Haleem – Made with beef, this variant of the dish is very easy to prepare. Just add onions, ginger, garlic, tomatoes, spices and salt into a bowl and mix well. Then, put all ingredients inside a pressure cooker along with 3 cups of water. Cook until done. Serve with rice and raita.
- Chicken Haleem – In addition to beef, chicken is another option for making this classic dish. Add onion, tomato, ginger, garlic, coriander leaves and turmeric powder to a bowl. Add 2 tbsp of oil, 1 tsp of garam masala powder, 1/4 cup curry paste, 2 cups of water and salt. Mix well and then place all of the ingredients in a pressure cooker. Cook until done.
- Mutton Haleem – To make this delicious variant of the dish, first marinate mutton pieces with yogurt and lemon juice overnight so that they don’t dry up too much during cooking. Then, sauté onions, ginger, garlic, chili peppers, cumin seeds and cinnamon stick in 4 tablespoons of ghee. Once the onions turn translucent, add chopped tomatoes, green chilies, cloves, cardamom pods, coriander leaves, red chillies, fenugreek leaves and salt. Bring to a boil before adding the meat and let it cook slowly for 30 minutes. Serve with plain steamed white bread and mint sauce.
- Vegetarian Haleem – Vegetarians can enjoy this tasty dish too! Make sure you soak dried chickpeas overnight and drain them thoroughly. Add soaked chickpeas, onions, carrots, potatoes, cilantro leaves and bay leaf to a large pan filled with 6 cups of water, and bring to a boil. When the vegetables start to soften, lower the heat and cover with a lid. Cook for 45 minutes until the chickpeas become tender. Season with salt and serve hot with rotis.
- Shrimp Haleem – If you want your shrimps to have more flavor, you should marinate them in lemon juice and olive oil for half an hour before frying them in ghee. You will find that shrimp adds a lot of texture and depth to the dish. Prepare the following mixture: add 2 eggs, 1 cup flour, 1 cup grated coconut, 1/3 cup cornstarch, 2 teaspoons of baking soda, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 2 teaspoons of black pepper, 2 teaspoons of salt, 1 tablespoon of minced ginger, 1 tablespoon of minced garlic and 1/3 cup of milk into a large bowl. Whisk together thoroughly. Now add 1 pound peeled raw medium sized shrimp, 1/3 cup of butter, 1/4 cup of onion, 1/4 cup of bell pepper and 1/4 cup of parsley. Toss to coat evenly. Heat a nonstick skillet and pour in enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Fry the coated shrimp until golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside. Combine 2 ounces of cream cheese, 1 egg yolk and 1 cup of milk in a small bowl. Stir to combine thoroughly. Set aside. Take the remaining batter and stir in 1/4 cup of sour cream. Pour the mixture back into the bowl, add the fried shrimp and toss again to coat. Transfer to a greased 9×13 inch baking pan. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.
- Fish Haleem – Fish is usually not used as a main ingredient in haleem but it works great here! Marinate fish fillets with lime juice, sugar, salt and black pepper overnight. After soaking, cut the fillets into cubes and fry them in a little bit of ghee until crispy. Put the fish in a bowl with the remaining ingredients. Mix well and cook in a pressure cooker with 3 cups of water.
If you like what you read, check our other articles related to Indian food here.
- Large Cooking Pot
- Mandolin Slicer
- Wooden Spoon
- Wide Frying Pan
Wheat and Lentils
- 1 cup cracked wheat
- ½ cup lentils combination of yellow and orange see note
- ¼ cup pearl barley
- 1½ cups avocado oil
- 3 yellow onions large
- 2 lbs lamb with bones
- ½ tablespoons grated ginger
- ½ tablespoons grated garlic
- 1 cup yogurt whisked
- 4 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 2 green chilies chopped
- 2 quarts water
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 1 tablespoon chopped mint
- 2 tablespoons ghee
- All the lentils and broken wheat should be washed and soaked for two hours together.
- Place cloves, bay leaves, and green cardamom in a heavy bottom handi and add ghee to temper. Add the grated ginger and garlic paste after the spices begin to crackle and cook until the color turns brown.
- Cook the lamb until it is halfway done, then add the fried onions. Add the lamb together with all the powdered spices, including the saffron, green chili paste, and turmeric powder.
- Drain the lentils’ water and combine it with lamb stock before adding it to the lamb. Now is the time to add salt.
- Let it simmer for a while to let the lamb to become tender, combine with the lentils, and thicken.
- Check the seasoning and serve the bread of your choice with it.