The very moment we start talking of food, the first name that comes to our mind is the grand old city of Hyderabad. Located in the state of Telangana, it is the hub of all tongue-ravishing delicacies inspired by the Nizam style of cooking. One such dish is the Hyderabadi Haleem, which has captured the hearts of many across India.
Haleem is traditionally eaten by the followers of Islamic faith, in the evening after breaking a day long fast during the month of Ramadan before Eid. Typically, Haleem is a dish made of lentils, ground wheat and curd with a generous sprinkling of meat all over it. Originating from the Middle- East, it was brought to India during the Afghan and Mughal invasions and was adopted by the different states in their own unique ways of cooking.
The Haleem from Hyderabad was started by the Chaush people and then taken up by the Nizam, who made it immensely popular by the 19th century. It consists of a unique mix of spices and is semi-solid in consistency.
A typical recipe has the main ingredients as Mutton, ground wheat, urad dal, chana dal, curd, and small amounts of several spices like ginger paste, garlic paste, garam masala, cinnamon, coriander, red chilli powder, green chillies, turmeric, peppercorn and ghee.
The process is as follows:
The mutton is to be stripped of any fat and mixed with small amounts of ginger paste, garlic paste, red chilli powder, garam masala and a minuscule amount of turmeric powder. After pressure-cooking it for about 7 minutes, it should be shaped into small pieces and kept aside.
The wheat is mixed with two types of dal and then boiled with turmeric, ginger paste, red chillies and salt. Later, it is blended together to form a thick mushy paste.
In a pan, the mutton is sautéed along with green chillies, coriander and curd. After adding three cups of water, add the blended mixture from before and simmer it with ghee for about 45 minutes.
Serve it garnished with coriander, lemon wedges and cashews.
A dish that can be savoured as a meal or even as a snack, there is no doubt as to its popularity- which goes beyond the boundaries of faith and class. A clear testimony to its immense fan-base is the long queue outside all Haleem shops during the month of Ramadan. If you have not tasted it yet, make sure to have your quota of this heavenly preparation at least once in your life!