wheat kernels, rinsed and soaked overnight
yellow split peas, rinsed and soaked overnight
barley, rinsed and soaked overnight
basmati rice, rinsed and soaked for one hour
red lentils, rinsed and soaked for one hour
moong daal, rinsed and soaked for one hour
yellow onion, thinly sliced in half rings
Kosher salt to taste
Kashmiri red chile powder (if using cayenne red chile powder, adjust per taste)
boneless beef chuck or lamb shoulder, fat trimmed and roughly chopped in 1-inch pieces
ginger and garlic paste
black cardamom pods
2-inch cinnamon stick
garam masala powder
Haleem is Pakistan’s slow-cooked dish of choice. A South Asian iteration of the Middle Eastern harisa, haleem is a spicy porridge of slow-cooked grains and meat melded together. Best prepared to feed a crowd, make sure you serve it alongside generous helpings of browned onions, lemon or lime wedges, green chile, cilantro, chaat masala, and julienned ginger.
- Bring four quarts of water to a simmer and add grains. Add salt to taste, 1 tbsp red chile powder, turmeric powder, and ½ sliced onion. Dial heat to low and cover. Let it simmer for approximately 2 hours. Stir every once and a while to make sure that the grains do not stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Once the grains are fall-apart soft, drain excess water and transfer to a food processor. Give it 4 or 5 whizzes to soften the texture, and transfer grain mixture to a large pot.
- Once the grains are boiling, begin to prepare the meat curry. Heat 1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil in a large pot. When the oil is sizzling hot, add onions and fry on medium heat till they are golden brown and crisp, about 7 minutes, more if necessary. Be careful not to burn. Once onions are ready, transfer to a paper towel to drain excess oil.
- Move the saucepan to a cooling rack and let it cool. Heat remaining oil again on low heat, add ginger and garlic paste, and let it fry for a few seconds. Add meat, salt to taste, and whole spices (black cardamom pods, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon stick), and fry on medium-high heat till the meat is evenly cooked, about 5-7 minutes.
- Stir in coriander powder, garam masala, and remaining red chile powder into the yogurt. Add fried onions and the spiced yogurt to the meat. Continue to cook on medium-high heat for another 5-7 minutes till the oil begins to separate.
- Lower heat. Add five cups of water and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook till meat is tender and falling apart, roughly 1 to 1½ hours. Stir meat frequently to make sure it does not stick to the bottom.
- Once the meat is ready, take out whole spices with a slotted spoon. Transfer meat mixture to a food processor and mince till it has an even consistency. Once ready, transfer to the pot with the grains.
- On low heat, begin to stir the grain and meat mixture together till it is well blended, about 5 minutes. Top with crispy, fried brown onion.
- Serve alongside finely chopped green chile, cilantro, julienned ginger, chaat masala, lemon or lime wedges, and naan.
Maryam Jillani was TASTE's Cook In Residence, and the founder of Pakistan Eats.