Haleem- a dish that has notes of both gourmet and comfort food, is one of my favorite South Asian meals. It consists of meat or chicken, cooked with grains, pulses, and oats for a long time with fragrant spices until the meat is so soft that it blends with the grains and turns into a porridge consistency. With the Instant Pot and a handy immersion blender, you can have this dish ready in an hour when it normally takes 4-5 hours on the stovetop.
My Memories of Haleem
I have fond memories of being a kid and my mom making Haleem for dinner parties. She'd start early in the day because it needs to cook for hours for the meat to fall apart. Once it was done cooking, she'd use this huge wooden spoon to mix the stew until everything blended together. We'd serve it with chopped green chilies, cilantro and ginger and sprinkle some lemon juice and chaat masala on top. Warm fluffy naans are the best accompaniment to this dish, but you could just as easily eat it with a spoon.
Now I'm going to confess 2 things:
1- This is not a recipe for traditional haleem that takes hours, the wooden spoon and a ton of elbow grease that is required to keep stirring the big pot. My haleem recipe takes 45 minutes to an hour and doesn't require any elbow grease. I use an immersion blender instead
2- Instead of gathering and grinding all the spices like my mom still does, I use a spice mix that also includes a packet of grains and pulses. After trying a bunch, my favorite mix is the Shan Masala Shahi Haleem Mix. You can find it at any South Asian grocery store OR you can just order it from the comfort of your home right here on Amazon, my favorite store.
It is completely fair to say that my haleem doesn't taste as incredible as the one made with my mom's authentic method. However, this is a great option for busy moms or working couples. It makes a ton, enough that you can easily freeze half of it for another day. It is also relatively fast, super delicious and a perfect warm meal for a cold winter day. Want the recipe? It's right after the jump.
Instant Pot Haleem
- 1 package Shahi Haleem Mix Lentils & Pulses
- 1 package Shahi Haleem Mix Spice Mix
- 2 tbsp Ghee
- 1 large Onion, minced
- 1 tbsp Ginger garlic paste
- 1 whole Chicken Breast- cubed
- 1 lb Boneless Beef cubes
- 1/4 cup Rolled Oats
- 1.5 quart Chicken/Beef Broth or Water
- 2 tbsp Ghee/oil
- 1/4 whole Onion- thinly sliced
- 2 whole Chillies
- 1 handful Chopped Cilantro
- 1/2 piece Ginger, thinly sliced
- 2 whole Green chillies, diced
- 1 whole Lemon, cut in wedges
- 2 tbsp Chaat masala
- Soak the entire package of the Shahi Haleem Pulses and Lentils in warm water for at least 20 minutes to half an hour. Drain prior to adding to the pot
- Turn on the Instant Pot to the Saute setting on High, and wait until the display reads HOT. Add the oil and brown the onions and ginger garlic paste until onions have caramelized.
- Add the meat with 1/2 the package of the Shahi Haleem Spice Mix to the pot and stir-fry the meat for 3-5 minutes until all the pieces have color. Add the pulses, lentils and 1/4 cup rolled oats to the pot and mix well.
- Add 1.5 quart of water or broth. Make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot. Place and lock the lid, making sure the knob is on Sealing.
- Set the pot to cook for 45 minutes on the Beef/Stew Setting. Let the pot NPR for 10 minutes and then QR.
- Mix well and then using an immersion blender, gentle blend around the pot for 3-4 seconds to blend the mixture around the pot. Do NOT overblend or it'll become all goopy and look like baby food. You want your haleem to have some texture and pieces of meat without being completely pureed.
- In a small frying pan, heat the oil and fry the onions until golden. Add the red chiles and sautee for a minute or two and then pour the entire mix in the pot of haleem. Mix well. Set the IP to the Slow Cook setting and let the mixture cook for 15 minutes.
- Use the cilantro, ginger, green chilies as garnish and serve with a twist of lemon and sprinkle of chaat masala with a side of fluffy naan OR just eat with it a spoon.