Haleem (Persian: حلیم or هلیم, Telugu: హలీమ్, Bengali: হালিম, Hindi: हलीम ) is a stew popular in the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Indian subcontinent. Although the dish varies from region to region, it always includes wheat or barley, meat, and sometimes lentils. Popular variations include keşkek in Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan and northern Iraq; Hareesa in the Arab world and Armenia; Halim in Bangladesh; Khichra in Pakistan and India.
Haleem is made of wheat, barley, meat (usually minced meat of beef or mutton (goat meat or Lamb and mutton) or chicken), lentils and spices, sometimes rice is also used. 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 Harees (also written as Jareesh). According to Shoaib Daniyal, writing in The Sunday Guardian, the first written recipe of Harees 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. The Harees was cooked as the Arab empire was extended to different parts of the world.
Harees was introduced in the Indian subcontinent by the Arab soldiers of the Hyderabad Nizam's army to the city.[self-published source?] Today, Harees is still available in the Arab quarter of Hyderabad, an area called Barkas, where the dish is called Jareesh. 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 Pakistanis and Indian Muslims.
In Pakistan, Haleem is available all year round, as well as in most Pakistani restaurants around the world. Haleem is sold as a snack food and street food in Pakistani bazaars throughout the year.
Haleem has become a popular dish in the cities of Hyderabad, Telangana and Aurangabad, Maharashtra (Aurangabad, the first capital of Hyderabad State) in India. Originating from an Arabic dish called Harees, Haleem was introduced to the region during the Mughal period by foreign migrants.
In the Indian subcontinent, 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.[self-published source][self-published source]
A traditional haleem is made by firstly soaking wheat, barley and gram lentil overnight. A spicy meat gravy called Korma is prepared until the meat becomes tender. The wheat, barley and gram are boiled in salt water until they are tender. The cooked wheat, barley and lentils are then mixed with the meat (Beef or Mutton or Chicken) 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.
A high-calorie dish, haleem provides protein from the meat and fibre and carbohydrates from the various combinations of grains and pulses.
Haleem can be served with chopped mint leaves, lemon juice, coriander leaves, fried onions, chopped ginger root or green chilies. In some regions of Pakistan, Haleem is eaten with Naan or with any type of bread or rice.
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