Haleem- The Healthy Way

Haleem is an extremely popular soup dish in the Indian community of South Africa. However multiple versions of this soup can be found in different parts of the world, predominantly in the Middle East and the Indian sub-continent.

It is simply a soup which contains wheat, barley, lentils and meat. However adaptations have been made over time to accommodate for the modern lifestyle.

Traditionally Haleem is made using lentils, wheat rice and mutton. However it can be a bit heavy on the belly especially during the fasting month of Ramadhan. My mother in law has a family recipe that was passed down to her by her mother in law and now she has shared it with me. We have however, altered it to accommodate for a healthier lifestyle as well as easier preparation.

Ingredients- Haleem

  • 1 chicken, cut into small pieces
  • 1 big onion, minced
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 4 – 5 curry leaves
  • 1 handful of coriander leaves
  • 2 tbsp. crushed garlic
  • 1 tbsp. fine green chilli
  • 4 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt A/R
  • 4 cups oats
  • 1 tbsp. ghee

Ingredients- vegaar*

  • 1 tbsp. ghee
  • 1 onion sliced in rings
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds

Ingredients – salad

  • ½ cup safari brown vinegar
  • ¼ cup coriander. Chopped finely
  • ½ onion sliced thinly
  • 1 green chilli , sliced thinly

Method

  1. Boil the oats in water , once cooked fully, liquidise until smooth and set aside
  2. In a blender add the coriander leaves, garlic and green chilli, blitz all together to form a paste. (add a little water if necessary)
  3. In a large soup pot, braise the onion, curry leaves and cumin in the ghee.
  4. Once the onions have softened add the chicken along with the chilli-coriander paste that you have prepared.
  5. Add the coriander powder, turmeric and 1 tsp of salt to the chicken
  6. Let the chicken cook until well done on a low heat.
  7. Thereafter add the liquidised oats and boil with the chicken
  8. Add water if the Haleem is too thick.
  9. At this point you can add more salt if required to the Haleem. I usually add an additional teaspoon or two of salt.

To prepare your vegaar

  1. Warm up the ghee in a shallow pan, thereafter braise all the ingredients until golden brown.
  2. Pour over the Haleem, stir in and serve.

Salad

  1. Combine all the ingredients for the salad together
  2. Add to the Haleem once you have dished out individual servings.
  3. I suggest ½ tablespoon, if you like you can add more!

This dish is a staple in our home during Ramadhan, I find it  filling and yet it doesn’t leave you feeling uncomfortable afterwards. It can be considered as healthy as it’s made mainly of oats and is a great alternative to having fried foods.

You can substitute the chicken for mutton if you prefer and if you like you can make a big batch and keep it in the freezer, it stays exceptionally well!

The main flavour of this soup comes from the green chilli, therefore add as much chilli as you would like to your Haleem!

Happy cooking

Rizwaana

*vegaar- an Indian house-hold term used for the braising of onions in ghee with spices.

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