Thursday August 25, 2011


Hearty, delectable Haleem is savored through the Muslim world, from Persia through much of South East Asia. It's too good, however, for the Muslims to have monopoly over it. Ancient Jews cooked up cauldrons of it and today, Christians in Syria and Lebanon make harisa, as haleem is known in those parts of the world, to celebrate the feast of the Assumption. Hindus in Hyderabad have deft knowledge of the best places to score some haleem.

Haleem is meant to be shared. Traditionally, cooks would stand over their pots of haleem and hand  it out to everyone who passed by: pilgrims, neighbors and strangers.

The method of making haleem has remained largely unchanged over all these years. The wheat is simmered gently overnight, till the kernels pop open and dissolve into a textured creaminess.  Meat and spices are added and the slow bubbling continues till the meat falls apart in melting shards. It's fabulous at its simple best, but can be elevated with a sprinkle of cinnamon, a swirl of fragrant ghee and a smattering of crunchy, caramelized onions. The smell and taste of haleem completes Ramadan for many.

Check the recipe for haleem.


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