|Place of origin||Middle East |
|Region or state||
|Main ingredients||Wheat, barley, lentils, meat|
|Variations||Hyderabadi Haleem, Khichra, Harees|
Haleem (Arabic: حلیم, Urdu: حلیم, Persian: هَلیم, Bengali: হালিম, Hindi: हलीम ) is stew popular in the Middle East, Central Asia, and the South Asia. Although the dish varies from region to region, it always includes wheat, barley, lentils and meat. Popular variations include keşkek in Anatolia, Iran, the Caucasus region and northern Iraq; harissa in the Arab world and Armenia; khichra in Pakistan and India; and Hyderabadi haleem in southern India.
Haleem is made of wheat, barley, meat (usually beef or mutton, but sometimes chicken or minced meat), lentils and spices. This dish is slow cooked for seven to eight hours, which results in a paste-like consistency, blending the flavors of spices, meat, barley and wheat.
The origin of Haleem lies in the popular Arabian dish known as Harisah (also written as Harees, Hareesa). According to Shoaib Daniyal, writing in the The Sunday Guardian, the first written recipe of Harisah dates back to the 10th century, when Arab scribe Abu Muhammad al-Muzaffar ibn Sayyar compiled a cookbook of dishes popular with the "kings and caliphs and lords and leaders" of Baghdad. “The version described in his Kitab Al-Tabikh (Book of Recipes), the world’s oldest surviving Arabic cookbook, is strikingly similar to the one people in the Middle East eat to this day” it reported. Harisah was introduced by Arab soldiers of the Hyderabad Nizam's army to the city. Today, Harisah is still available in the Arab quarter of Hyderabad, an area called Barkas, where the dish is called Haris. Later on, the people of Hyderabad modified it to suit their palate thus creating modern Haleem.
Haleem is sold as a snack food in bazaars throughout the year. It is also a special dish prepared throughout the world during the Ramadan and Muharram months of the Muslim Hijri calendar, particularly among Iranians, Pakistanis and Indian Muslims.
The cities of Hyderabad, India, and Karachi, Pakistan, are also known for delectable haleem, which is available specially during Ramadan. Originally an Arabic dish, haleem was brought to Hyderabad during the Mughal period by the immigrants of Yemen Arabs, Iran and Afghanistan, It was popularized by the Arab diaspora of Hyderabad State.
Mitthi (sweet) and khari (salted) haleem variants are served for breakfast in the homes of people living in the Barkas area of Hyderabad. Haleem has also earned great appreciation from other communities in India for its delicious taste and mouth-watering aroma. The salted variety is popular during the month of Moharram and Ramadan. The high-calorie haleem is the perfect way to break the Ramadan fast (iftar). The ingredients are beef or lamb, wheat, barley, lentils, spices and ghee and sprinkled with lemon juice and/or spicy masala to adjust flavor to the taste of the eater. Legend has it that it took nearly a week to make a perfect dish of haleem.
Haleem and khichra
In South Asia, both haleem and khichra are made with same ingredients. In khichra, the chunks of meat remain as cubes, while in haleem the meat cubes are taken out of the pot, bones are removed, meat is crushed and put back in the pot. It is further cooked until the meat completely blends with the lentils, wheat and barley mixture.
A traditional haleem made in Bangladesh is made by firstly soaking wheat, barley and Bengal gram lentil overnight. A spicy meat gravy called korma is prepared until the meat becomes tender. The wheat, barley and Bengal gram are boiled in salt water until they are tender. The cooked wheat, barley and lentils are then mixed with the meat gravy and blended with a heavy hand mixer to obtain a paste-like consistency. The cooking procedure takes about 6 hours to be completed. However, haleem preparation varies in different regions. The Iranian haleem is made differently than Bangladeshi or Indian versions, and typically contains sugar, cinnamon, and turkey meat.
Although a high-calorie dish, haleem is full of nutrition as the whole wheat, barley, lentils and meat combined together form an excellent source of fiber and protein.
Haleem can be served with chopped mint leaves, lemon juice, coriander leaves, fried onions, chopped ginger root, and/or green chilies. In Pakistan, haleem is usually eaten with naan or with any type of bread or rice.
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- "The history of haleem - The Sunday of Guardian". The Sunday of Guardian.
- "A culinary history of Haleem - The Times of India". The Times Of India.
- "Biryani, Haleem & more on Hyderabad's menu". Times of India. 16 August 2011. Retrieved 18 August 2011.