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Hyderabadi haleem

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Hyderabadi haleem
Hyderabadi Mutton Haleem.jpg
Hyderabadi Mutton Haleem garnished with Cilantro, Egg, Fried Onion, and Lime.
Alternative namesHyderabadi Harees
Place of originIndia
Region or stateHyderabad, Telangana
Created byOriginated from the Chaush (Hyderabadi Arabs)[1]
Main ingredientsPounded wheat, lentils, goat meat, ghee, dried fruit and saffron

Hyderabadi haleem (/ˈhdərəbɑːd həˈlm/) is a type of haleem popular in the Indian city of Hyderabad.[2][3] Haleem is a stew composed of meat, lentils and pounded wheat made into a thick paste. It is originally an Arabic dish and was introduced to the Hyderabad State by the Chaush people during the rule of the Nizams (the former rulers of Hyderabad State). Local traditional spices helped a unique Hyderabadi haleem evolve,[4] which became popular among the native Hyderabadis by the 19th century.

The preparation of haleem has been compared to that of Hyderabadi biryani. Though Hyderabadi haleem is the traditional hors d'oeuvre at weddings, celebrations and other social occasions, it is particularly consumed in the Islamic month of Ramadan during Iftar (the evening meal that breaks the day-long fast) as it provides instant energy and is high in calories. This has made the dish synonymous with Ramadan. In recognition of its cultural significance and popularity, in 2010 it was granted Geographical Indication status (GIS) by the Indian GIS registry office,[5] making it the first non-vegetarian dish in India to receive this status.


Haleem originated as an Arabic dish[1][6] with meat and pounded wheat as the chief ingredients. It was introduced to Hyderabad by the Arab diaspora during the rule of the sixth Nizam, Mahbub Ali Khan, and later became an integral part of Hyderabadi cuisine during the rule of the seventh Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan.[7][8] Sultan Saif Nawaz Jung Bahadur, an Arab chief from Mukalla, Hadhramaut, Yemen, who was among the seventh Nizam's court nobility, popularised it in Hyderabad.[1][9] Addition of local flavours to the original recipe resulted in a taste distinct from other types of haleem.[10]

Officially introduced in Hyderabad[edit]

Hyderabadi haleem was officially introduced in Madina Hotel by Aga Hussain Zabeth, the Iranian founder of the hotel in 1956.[11]

The hotel which opened in 1947 in the Waqf property named Madina Building at Pathargatti which the rent from it was used to serve Haj pilgrims, Madina hotel is one of the oldest restaurant in the Hyderabad.[12] After renovation of Madina hotel it was inaugurated by the last Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan in 1956.[13]


Mixed wheat, dal and other grains

Traditionally, Hyderabadi haleem is cooked on a low flame of firewood for up to 12 hours in a bhatti (a cauldron covered with a brick and mud kiln). One or two people are required to stir it continuously with wooden paddles throughout its preparation. For home-made Hyderabadi haleem, a Ghotni (a wooden hand masher) is used to stir it until it reaches a sticky-smooth consistency, similar to minced meat.[14][15]


Spices used in preparing Hyderabadi Haleem

The ingredients include meat (either goat meat, beef or chicken); pounded wheat; ghee—(milk fat rendered from butter, also called clarified butter); milk; lentils; ginger and garlic paste; turmeric; red chili pepper spices such as cumin seeds, caraway seeds (shah zeera), cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, black pepper, saffron, jaggery, natural gum, allspice (kabab cheeni); and dry fruits such as pistachio, cashew, fig and almond. It is served hot topped with a ghee-based gravy, pieces of lime, chopped coriander, sliced boiled egg and fried onions as garnish.[7][16][17][18]


Different variants have been introduced catering to regional taste and requirements. A meethi (sweet) variant of haleem is consumed as breakfast by the Arab diaspora in Barkas neighbourhood of the city.[19] The chicken variant is less popular, even though it is lower priced. A vegetarian version of haleem, in which dry fruits and vegetables are substituted for goat meat, is available at some eateries in Hyderabad.[20]


External image
image icon A slideshow of Hyderabadi haleem preparation images. Published on Flickr

Hyderabadi haleem is a high calorie dish which gives instant energy as it contains slow-digesting and fast-burning ingredients.[21][22] It also contains dry fruits rich in anti-oxidants.[16][23] The meat and dry fruits make it a high protein food. A new low-cholesterol variety by using emu meat, rich in minerals, phosphorus and vitamins, was introduced in 2013.[24][25] The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), a local civic body that monitors health and safety regulations in the city, has set up hygiene and quality standards to be followed by the eateries selling it.[26]


Ghotni a wooden hand masher, used to muddle meat and wheat while cooking haleem until it becomes a thick paste.

Hyderabadi haleem is regarded as an international delicacy.[27][28] In Hyderabad, the dish is often consumed at celebratory events such as weddings.[21] It is consumed especially during Iftaar, the evening meal following the day-long fast, observed by Muslims during the month of Ramadan.[29][30]

Places to try Haleem[edit]

Shah Ghouse Café, Cafe 555, Pista House, Grill 9, Parivar, Bahar Cafe, Chicha's, Peshawar, Grand Hotel, Prince and Bahar Cafe are some of the places to try Haleem in Hyderabad[31]

In Hyderabad and neighbouring areas, the month of Ramadan is synonymous with Hyderabadi haleem.[32] During the 2014 Ramadan season, 5 billion worth of Hyderabadi haleem was sold in the city,[33] and an additional 25,000 people were employed in the preparation and sale of haleem.[34] The connoisseur chefs are paid salaries of up to 100,000 (US$1,400) a month plus benefits,[35] As of 2011, during Ramadan there were 6,000 eateries throughout the city that sold haleem (70% of which are temporary until Ramadan ends),[36][37] and 28% of Hyderabadi haleem produced in the city was exported to 50 countries throughout the world.[36]

Sanjeev Kapoor, an entrepreneur of Indian cuisine, mentions in his book Royal Hyderabadi Cooking that the preparation of haleem in Hyderabad has become an art form, much like the Hyderabadi biryani.[38] In 2010 Hyderabadi haleem was awarded Geographical Indication status by the Indian GI registry office. It became the first meat product of India to receive a GI certification.[22][39] This means that a dish cannot be sold as Hyderabadi haleem unless it meets the necessary standards laid down for it.[37][40]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Shahid, Sajjad (16 August 2011). "Biryani, Haleem & more on Hyderabad's menu". The Times of India. Retrieved 18 August 2011.
  2. ^ "The history of haleem: How a bland iftar dish from Yemen got Indianised". Archived from the original on 28 July 2014.
  3. ^ "The haleem debate: Why some Indian Muslims are renaming the Ramzan delicacy 'daleem'".
  4. ^ "Hyderabad, where Ramadan is incomplete without haleem".
  5. ^ "On the food trail in Hyderabad, where Ramzan is incomplete without haleem".
  6. ^ "Ramadan, the month of unprecedented shopping in Hyderabad". Overseas Indian. Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, Government of India. October 2006. Archived from the original on 30 May 2013. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
  7. ^ a b Siddique, Mohammed (18 August 2010). "In Hyderabad this Ramzan? Try the Haleem". Rediff. Archived from the original on 20 August 2010. Retrieved 24 August 2010.
  8. ^ Dey, Pranesh (5 December 2004). "How the city succumbed to a new taste". The Times of India. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  9. ^ Nanisetti, Serish (10 June 2016). "How haleem conquered Hyderabadi hearts". The Hindu. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  10. ^ Karen Isaksen Leonard (2007). Locating home: India's Hyderabadis abroad. stanford university press. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-8047-5442-2. Archived from the original on 3 January 2014. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
  11. ^ "Madina Hotel owner felicitated for bringing haleem to city". The Times of India. 2 August 2011.
  12. ^ "Hyderabad new Madina hotel opens no resemblance to the past". Deccan Chronicle. 17 May 2018.
  13. ^ "Hyderabadi haleem over the years". The Hindu. 17 August 2012.
  14. ^ Vyas, Sheetal (12 September 2010). "Deccan delight". Sify. Archived from the original on 29 January 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
  15. ^ "Hyderabadi Haleem to go global, outlets in US planned (Business Feature)". Business Standard. 29 July 2013. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
  16. ^ a b "Haleem boosts sex life". The Times of India. 14 August 2011. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
  17. ^ "Famous Hyderabadi Haleem dish gets patented". Gulf News. 3 September 2010. Retrieved 3 June 2013.
  18. ^ Latif, Bilkees I. (1999). The Essential Andhra Cookbook with Hyderabadi Specialities. Penguin Books (India). pp. 95–97. ISBN 978-0-14-027184-3. Archived from the original on 20 March 2018.
  19. ^ "Barkas Street, a little Arabia in Hyderabad". Archived from the original on 25 October 2012. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
  20. ^ "Get ready for veg haleem". The Times of India. 26 October 2003. Archived from the original on 3 January 2017. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
  21. ^ a b "My love affair with the Haleem began during Ramzan". The Sunday Guardian. 17 June 2012. Archived from the original on 14 November 2013. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
  22. ^ a b "Hyderabad Haleem' gets Geographical Indication certification". Indian Council of Agricultural Research. 2010. Archived from the original on 18 June 2013. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  23. ^ "The Hyderabad haleem is now a Rs 100-crore brand name". Deccan Herald. 18 June 2012. Archived from the original on 21 July 2012. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
  24. ^ Jayaram, P S (22 July 2013). "Hyderabadi haleem is now low-cholesterol". Khaleej Times. Archived from the original on 5 November 2013. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  25. ^ Radhakrishna, G S (20 July 2013). "Meat of ostrich cousin low in fat". The Telegraph (India). Archived from the original on 5 November 2013. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  26. ^ "Haleem on the radar". Post Noon. 10 July 2013. Archived from the original on 6 August 2013. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  27. ^ Ciezadlo, Annia (30 January 2012). "Haute bedouin cuisine with Mezlai's Ali Ebdowa". The Daily Beast. Archived from the original on 30 May 2012. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  28. ^ Davidson, Alan (1981). Food in Motion: The Migration of Foodstuffs and Cookery Techniques. Oxford Symposium. p. 77. ISBN 978-0-907325-07-9. Archived from the original on 20 March 2018.
  29. ^ Saqaf, Syed Muthahar (21 September 2009). "'Nonbu Kanji,' a noble thing that paves way for communal harmony". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 8 November 2012. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  30. ^ Alluri, Aparna (10 August 2012). "Hyderabad's Charm Found in Ramadan Delights". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 12 June 2013. Retrieved 3 June 2013.
  31. ^
  32. ^ "Hyderabadi haleem now a click away". Rediff. 14 September 2007. Archived from the original on 25 May 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2012.
  33. ^ Nemana, Vivekananda (21 July 2014). "... How Haleem Got All Hot and Heavy in Hyderabad". Yahoo! News. Archived from the original on 12 August 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
  34. ^ "Mumbaiites get Haleem-ed". MiD DAY. 8 August 2012. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
  35. ^ "Hyderabadi Haleem treat for Vijayawadians". The Siasat Daily. 2 August 2011. Archived from the original on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  36. ^ a b "Taste and wealth". Business Standard. 20 August 2011. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  37. ^ a b Hyderabadi Haleem now close to being patented. NDTV. 2 September 2010. Archived from the original on 4 December 2011. Retrieved 24 August 2010.
  38. ^ Kapoor, Sanjeev (2008). Royal Hyderabadi Cooking. Popular Prakashan. p. 3. ISBN 978-81-7991-373-4. Archived from the original on 3 January 2014.
  39. ^ "Geographical indications journal no:37" (PDF). Government of India. 4 January 2011: 9. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 December 2011. Retrieved 18 June 2012. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  40. ^ Hyderabadi haleem now officially an asset of AP. IBN Live. 2 October 2010. Archived from the original on 11 September 2010. Retrieved 24 August 2011.

Further reading[edit]

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