Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Easy Haleem

Not too long ago in one of my blogs, I mentioned making Haleem over inauguration weekend. A friend later asked me for my recipe/method and since I was writing it out for her, I figured I'd share with all of you as well! To make life simpler (and not have to buy 10 different types of grains) I buy the Shan Haleem mix, available at most Indian/Pakistani grocers. Make sure you buy the regular or Shahi Haleem Mix and not the Easy Haleem Mix (unless you prefer to have very slimy consistency). Also, the National Brand isn't so tasty... they don't have the right spices nor the right grains. In addition to the pulses in the box, I add a few grains which we usually have at home. It is up to you if you want to add all or some of these to your Haleem.

1 box Shan Haleem mix (packet of grains etc soaked for 1 hour)
1/2 cup channa daal (soaked for at least 2 hours)
1/2 cup brown basmati or long grain rice (soaked for 30 min to 1 hour)
1/4 cup oats (normal - not quick cook) or barley
1/4 Bulgar or cracked wheat (optional)
1lb beef (shank, without bone)
1lb beef with bone
ginger paste (about 1tbsp)
garlic paste (about 1.5 tbsp)

Make sure you soak everything that needs to be soaked well in advance so when it comes time to make your Haleem, all you do is add everything step by step. Heat some oil in a large stock pot or big dutch oven and add the washed meat, ginger and garlic paste. Saute until the meat is no longer bright red, then add 1/2 to 3/4 packet of the spice mix (depending on how spicy you want it)... I never add the whole packet because it's just too much. If you want, you can also add even less of the spice packet but put some fresh garam masala and cayenne pepper (laal mirch) on your own to add spice/flavor. Mix and saute for a few minutes on medium heat.

Now add all of your grains/pulses, 1tbsp salt and about 8 to 10 cups of water (do not use the water in which your grains were soaking). Stir, cover and turn heat up to high. Check occasionally and when the water/haleem starts to boil, turn the heat down to medium or medium high...depending on electric or gas respectively. Let the mix cook for a few hours, stirring on and off (maybe every 30 to 40 min). As the haleem is cooking, you will see the meat starting to fall off the bone (maybe after 2.5 to 3 hours). At that point turn your heat down to medium low or low. After another hour or so, you can turn off the heat and remove (pull out) all the pieces that have/had bone (making sure to remove all bone from the pot). You want to pull the meat off the bone and keep aside. You can also take out some more of the bone-less meat if you want your haleem more chunky (that's how I like it).

Then take a hand blender or a large masher and grind/mash the haleem. You want it to be a thick soupy consistency but not too watery. If it is too thick, you can add more water or if it is too watery, put it back on the heat to thicken. Add the rest of the meat back to your haleem and mix well. Break down any large pieces of meat with your spoon, turn the heat back on to medium and cook while on the side you brown some onion (one small to medium onion sliced fine) in about 3/4 cup of oil. You will want to add the browned onion with oil to the haleem as bhagaar/thurka. Before adding the onion, taste to make sure you have enough salt.

When browning the onion, you can cut and brown some extra to keep on the side as one of the garnishes. Additional garnishes, which are kept to the side, are chopped cilantro; finely chopped green chillies; fine sliced (julienned) ginger; lemon or lime and chaat masala.

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