The weather is getting colder which means ‘tis the season of soups and stews! Haleem is a popular Pakistani/Indian meaty stew, with variants throughout the Middle East and South Asia, and is especially made and served during the cold winter months.  Much like its American counterpart Chili, Haleem is best enjoyed with an assortment of garnishes.  It’s not uncommon to find fried onions, chaat masala, lemon wedges, chopped cilantro, and julienned ginger at a spread where it’s being served.

I used to make Haleem with pre-packaged Shan spices, but to be completely honest, I don’t like using pre-packaged spices.  I did quite a bit of research and finally decided upon adapting Chef Zakir’s recipe (on a side note, this dude is so hardcore! Look at his hat!).  This recipe does require a lot of time, even though there isn’t much work, there is a lot of waiting time.  The pulses need to soak and then be cooked, and the meat needs to be cooked long enough so that it can be easily shredded.  What I like to do is soak the pulses overnight and cook the meat up to the point where all of the spices have been added, then transfer to a slow cooker and let it cook on the lowest setting overnight.  Then in the morning, all I have to do is shred the meat, cook the lentils, and mix everything together, temper, and simmer.  Easy peasy and so dang good! 🙂



Yield:  6-8 Servings


For Haleem:

  • 1 cup broken wheat/ dalia
  • ½ cup split bengal gram/ channa daal
  • ½ cup red lentils/ masoor daal
  • ½ cup skinless black gram/ skinless urud daal
  • ½ cup split mung beans/ moong daal
  • ½ cup pearl barley
  • ½ cup boneless beef, cubed
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste
  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 green chilies, halved lengthwise
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon red chili powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder

For Tempering:

  • ¼ cup oil
  • ½ onion, sliced thinly

For Garnish:

  • Lemon/ Lime, in wedges
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Chaat Masala
  • Ginger, julienned
  • Fried onions


In a large bowl, combine wheat, bengal gram, red lentils, black gram, mung beans, and barley.  Add enough water so that the lentils are completely covered, and allow to soak overnight, or at least a few hours.

Drain the lentils/pulses, transfer to a large pot filled with water, and cook over medium-high heat for 1 ½ hours, or until the mixture has reduced by  half and has thickened significantly.

Using an immersion blender, puree the mixture until smooth.

In a separate pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the sliced onions and sauté until golden brown.  Add the beef and ginger-garlic paste and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Add the tomatoes, green chilies, turmeric, and red chili powder and mix well.  Cook until the tomatoes have lost their shape, about ten minutes.  Add salt, garam masala, cumin powder, coriander powder, and ½ cup water and mix well.  Cook until the oil starts separating from the gravy, about 7 to 10 minutes.  Add about three cups of water, lower the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for a few hours, until the meat is tender and easily shredded. (Note: Meat mixture can be transferred to a slow cooker and cooked on low setting overnight to achieve tenderness.)

Separate the meat from the gravy and shred with a fork.  Using an immersion blender, puree the gravy until smooth.

Add shredded meat and gravy to the pureed pulses.  Cook over medium-low heat until well combined and slightly reduced, about 30 minutes.

In a small fry pan, heat tempering oil over medium-high heat.  Add the sliced onion and fry until golden brown.  Add onions and oil to haleem, and turn off heat.  Let the haleem sit uninterrupted for half an hour before serving.

Serve with garnish.


16 responses

  1. This looks incredible. And perfect for winter! I’m pretty new to Indian cooking. What is/where do you get broken wheat/ dalia, split bengal gram/ channa daal, and skinless black gram/ skinless urud daa.

    • Thanks for stopping by! Broken wheat is just that, pieces of wheat; Channa daal and urud daal are both different types of lentils/pulses used in south Asian cooking. All of these ingredients can be found at your local pakistani, indian, or middle-eastern stores 🙂

  2. ohh this looks uber delicious. I so like chef zakir- a simple fan with no fuss (as that of rahat) and great recipes 😀 But I still do like shan’s haleem mix for a quicky. Bookmarking this in my foodie list 🙂

    ps: great blog – just stumbled upon

  3. Hardcore? Omg you are soooo funny 😛 Chef Zakir is quite popular here though I don’t watch cooking shows so never tried his recipes. And omg I love love Haleem with naan. I should ask my mum to make it soon 😀 Btw isn’t this the 15th again? Another month added to the age of your cute little baby (:
    Stay blessed!

    • Awww, you remembered the 15th 🙂 Thanks so much, it means the world to me 🙂
      And as for Chef Zakir’s cooking shows, I don’t watch them either because I don’t get live Pakistani channels at home. However, I have heard amazing things about him from some of our relatives. I was looking up ways to make Haleem without the boxed spice-mix, and lo and behold I found the video and written recipe to his version of haleem. The interest, such a blessing ain’t it?

  4. Awesome!!!! I have always used Shaan packets for haleem but never liked the amount of sodium in it and it is so mirchi too. How did this compare the the Shaan Masala one? Love that your posted a recipe….definitely need to try this…everyone in my home loves haleem! the skinless urud daal…is that the same daal that is used in daal makhani???

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