Haleem is a popular Hyderabadi delicacy. It’s a dish of the royals with roots originating in Ancient Persia. Most of us think of Hyderabadi Dum Biryani when we think of Hyderabad’s culinary claim to fame. But, Haleem is another speciality locals crave.
We tried an authentic version at Karam Podi restaurant. But, sadly, that restaurant didn’t survive the pandemic. Thankfully, we still found a delicious Hyderabadi Haleem recipe to share with you. Ours comes from Hyderabadi chef Afsha Beg courtesy of our friends at The Culinary Lounge.
About Hyderabadi Haleem
Hyderabadi Haleem is especially enjoyed during Ramadan. It’s nutritious and delicious. So, after long days of Ramadan fasting it’s a popular Iftaar* meal. Some even say the Iftaar feast is incomplete without it.
While known as street food in other parts of the world, in India, Hyderabadi Haleem is the first non-vegetarian dish to be listed as a Geographical Indication System (GIS) specialty. What makes it so special?
It’s the ultimate comfort food. Classified as a stew, it’s cooked to the consistency of porridge. Generous amounts of ghee give it a deeply satisfying flavour. And, to be authentic, mutton must be the meat component.
Haleem is traditionally cooked overnight on a slow fire. So, simmer it over several hours. And remember, you can make it ahead. It keeps well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Enjoy it for family dinners. And use it as a new mainstay for buffets or potlucks.
*Iftaar is the evening meal with which Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast at sunset.
Hyderabadi Haleem Recipe
Yields 8 servings
Prep Time 60 minutes
Cooking Time Several hours
Total Several hours
2 cups cracked wheat (dalia)
2 kilograms boneless mutton (lamb or goat), trimmed of any fat
water as required
2 teaspoons garlic paste (divided)
2 teaspoons ginger paste (divided)
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 teaspoon garam masala (divided)
¼ teaspoon turmeric (divided)
5 Tablespoons urad dal
5 Tablespoons chana dal
3 Tablespoons toor daal
3 Tablespoons yellow moong dal
6 green chillies (divided pinch and then rest)
½ teaspoon peppercorns
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1-inch cinnamon stick
1 cup finely cut coriander leaves (divided half and half)
2 cups yogurt (curd)
½ cup ghee
1 cup finely sliced onion, fried in oil until crispy then drained and set aside
½ cup cashews, slightly toasted
¼ cup finely chopped mint leaves
Lemon wedges for the garnish
Wash and soak the broken wheat for at least 30 minutes.
Add the mutton to a pressure cooker with about 1 cup of water, put it over medium heat and pressure cook for 20 minutes. Cool enough to open the lid, add ½ teaspoon of the garlic and ginger pastes, the salt, red chilli powder, garam masala and a pinch of turmeric and pressure cook for 8 to 10 minutes more before removing the lid and simmering for another 15 to 20 minutes. You know it’s done when you can easily shred it. Shred all the meat then and set aside.
Place the soaked cracked wheat, urad, chana, toor and yellow moong dal with 8 to 10 cups of water in a large pot and add the remaining ginger and garlic pastes, remaining turmeric and 2 to 3 green chillies plus the peppercorns and bring to a boil. Cook until the water is completely absorbed. Then, transfer to a food processor or blender and blend for a few seconds. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat and add the cinnamon stick plus the cooked, shredded lamb, remaining green chillies, half of the coriander leaves and cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the yogurt and cook, stirring occasionally for another 10 to 15 minutes. Then, add 3 cups of water and bring to a boil.
Stir in the blended broken wheat and dal mixture while adding a little ghee as you go until it is completely blended into the mixture. Simmer for at least 30 minutes more.
Enjoy hot, garnished with fried onions, cashew nuts, lemon wedges, the remaining coriander and the mint leaves. Tip: never add lemon while cooking but do enjoy a squeeze with the finished dish.