This post may contain affiliate links.
Traditionally, it is cooked in the month of Muharram to mourn the martyrdom of Imam Hussain Ibn Ali. Apart from that haleem is delicious and unique food enjoyed all year round by all South Asians.
Now, I want to clear one thing first. In Bohra terminology Haleem is made with wheat, barley, meat and spices. This recipe also seems a healthy fusion of Arabic Harees with Indian spices.
The regular haleem with wheat, meat, lentils, barley, rice and spices is called khichra as per bohra terminology.
This recipe is of traditional bohra Haleem served in Jumaat khana with Kadhi, bharta (eggplant salad) and Karak double roti. The kadhi is the regular yogurt and gram curry that South Asians make for Pakora curry.
The combo of haleem and curry is yummy. The taste is different from Pakistani Haleem but delicious for sure. Do try it and let me know the feedback in comments.
Traditionally, haleem is made with beef but I’m using mutton in step by step pictorial. You can use any meat (except chicken) with the same recipe. Haleem is a feast and should be served with all accompaniments. You can serve samosa on side and soji halwa as dessert.
How to make it?
Grind ginger, garlic and green chilli into a paste. Hara Masala is ready. Set aside. (Please follow measures in recipe card above picture shows a little less than mentioned.)
Soak wheat and barley overnight. Discard the water in morning. (Tip:My mom would soak grain in the day and cook grains whole night on slowest flame. So she can proceed with cooking quickly next day. A little longer but convenient way.)
Take soaked grains in a heavy bottomed pot and fill water. The water level should be 2 inch above the grains. Add salt and Hara masala. Cook for 1-2 hours on medium-slow flame. Add more water if needed.
This step is important, the grain should be very soft and fully cooked. Let the grain cool then blend with immersion blender or in jug. (Add water as required since the grains get really heavy on the motor adding a little water helps ease the blending process.)
The wheat is ready.
Cumin, turmeric,pepper, cloves, coriander powder, red chilli powder, cinnamon and black cardamom; we'll use these spices in meat.
While wheats cooks wash meat and add all above spices and hara masala. Also fill pot with 1 ½ cup of water.
Mix well and cook for 30-40 minutes until tender on medium slow flame.
Press the meat with fork to check tenderness. The meat should shred easily with fork.
Drain excess gravy of meat in wheat pot. (I grinned my wheat after mixing this gravy as visible in photo. More liquid makes it easy to grind.)
Here's the cook meat with bone. Separate the bone from meat.
Pound the meat so it becomes shredded.
Mix meat in wheat that is already grinned. Now resume cook of slow flame with occasional stirring. Add water if required.
This is the most important step. You need to pound haleem in circular motion (clockwise and anti-clockwise) for at least 10 minutes. You can use a traditional haleem pounder or ghotna. If you don't have one.
Then use a sturdy thick spatula. (This is the step where brothers, husbands and sons move in to put there share in cooking.) We do this pounding to create a sticky smooth texture in haleem.
Fry onion on medium flame in 2-3 batches. Save the oil in the end for tempering.
For crispest onions, add a pinch of salt while frying. Drain oil of each batch in strainer. Strainer also allow more exposure to air. Then spread the onion on kitchen towel. Repeat with all batches.
Ground aniseeds into fine powder.
Use this aniseed powder along with other spices for tempering. For frying use leftover oil from onions.
Add the tempering to the haleem. Mix well and adjust spices and salt now. (Last tips, since we'll mix haleem with Kadhi so keep haleem slightly thick and not runny. )
Finally serve with all accompaniments.
You can cut this recipe to half but usually haleem is something you share with friends, neighbours and relatives. And you can freeze it too for later use. Lastly, you can make Haleem paratha just like Leftover Daal paratha.
Mutton Haleem Recipe (Bohra Style)
For Hara Masala
- 3 inch ginger
- 8 cloves of garlic
- 10 green chillies
For wheat prep
- ½ KG whole wheat, ( geho) soaked overnight
- 125 grams barley pearls, (jauw) soaked overnight
- Water , as required
- 1½ tablespoon hara masala, as prepared
- salt, to taste
For meat Preps
- 750 grams meat pieces with bones, Mutton or Beef, I used mutton leg
- 3 tablespoon of Hara masala
- 2 tablespoon coriander powder, (dhaya)
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds, (zeera)
- 1 tablespoon red chilli powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 4 cloves, (laung)
- 3 inch cinnamon stick, (dal cheeni)
- 1 black cardamon, (bari elaichi)
- salt to taste
- 1½ cups water
For Fried onions
- 2 cups oil
- 6 medium onion, sliced
- 2 tablespoon fennel seed, , powdered (sauf)
- ½ tablespoon red chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon whole spices powder, (garam masala)
- 3 green chillies sliced
- 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1 teaspoon ginger powder, (soonth)
Accompaniments ( not included in nutrition calculation)
- Kadhi, same as pakora curry
- Karak Double roti
- Bharta, (eggplant salad)
- Chat masala
- lemon wedges
- 3 inch ginger thinly sliced
- 2 green chillies thinly sliced
For Hara Masala
- Blend green chillies, garlic and ginger together to make a paste called hara masala.
For Wheat Preparation
- Drain the water of soaked wheat and barley.
- In a thick based pot put soaked wheat, soaked barley, hara masala and enough water to fill pot 2 inch above the grains. Cook for about 1 hour on medium flame until soft and mushy. Cooking time may vary.
- Let the wheat cool. Then blend with immersion blender or jug blender. Add more water if needed for easy blending. ( Do not make thin paste keep the wheat mixture a little gritty)
For Meat Preparation
- In another pot put all the ingredient of meat preps and cook for 30 minutes on medium flame until tender. The meat should easily shred when pressed with fork.
- Pour all gravy of meat in prepared wheat pot and let the meat cool. (Grinds grain after adding this liquid gravy to grains.)
- Separate the bones from meat and pound with metal mortar (dasta) to separate meat thread.
- Discard the bones and add the meat to the wheat pot.
- Mix well and resume cooking on low heat.
Pounding (ghotna) :
- Haleem needs to be pounded in circular motion to create sticky consistency (laice). You can use a traditional haleem pounder (ghotna) for this or use a sturdy wooden spatula. You might need to add more water to adjust consistency.
- While haleem cooks on slow flame mix haleem in circular motion clockwise and anti clockwise for 10 minutes, with interval. (The haleem will splutter, reduce flame or turn off flame if needed while pounding).
- While wheat and meat cooks and cools, prepare garnish.
- Fry sliced onions in a wok in three batches until golden. Remove fried onion from wok with slotted spoon. Drain excess oil of each batch in strainer and shake strainer to separate onion threads. Then spread on kitchen towel for crispiest golden onions.
- Save the oil after frying last batch for tempering.
- In the same wok, heat remaining oil and add all ingredients of tempering. Fry for 1 minute until fragrant and add to haleem.
- Adjust salt and add chat masala if you like spicy haleem.
- Serve hot haleem with accompaniments and fried onions. Enjoy!