I am just feeling really blank as I open this post and sit to type something. This Ramadan has been so different, that it had been initially difficult to digest but we took it in and accepted the change. Earlier this week, Lubna had bumped up her guest post on the blog, and as I read through it, I had gone back to some of the earlier posts like this Masala Aleesa I had done for her blog during one of the Ramadans. How much is Ramadan a celebration here, but had gone really sobre this time, thanks to one virus. There are a lot of matters to ponder on this. It just took a miniscule matter, that is not visible to the eye, to topple everything that we had called “normal”. We are slowly but surely adjusting to the new normal.
Having said that, there are still some matters we haven’t got really adjusted to. The e-learning thing is literally taking away the whole day for the girls. They hardly have any time for themselves in between the assignments, uploads and the homeworks. They can’t wait for school to reopen and personally meet their class mates. But I seem to like the “work-from-home” routine. Never in my whole life have I done this. It was only last month that we started doing it, thanks to restrictions and that too with so many glitches. However, it is working fine and I love the flexibility. I agree, it seeps into your personal space, since the line is blurred. But I still try to stick to the same working hours and not go beyond, because then we would never have the time for ourselves, or that matter, for the tasks that are meant to be completed, especially now when we are unable to even take outside help. We are also getting used to spending more time at home. Before, being home was equated to boredom, but now, it is replaced with playing board games, simply speaking to each other, helping out in the kitchen, or just reading some books. Alhamdulillah, not everything is ho-hum, there are still something positive to take out of it… And then, no unnecessary going out, which means much more time for Ibadah than ever before…
I have been wanting to make Haleem in my kitchen since long. For those who don’t know, Haleem is a power packed meal of whole wheat and lentils, sometimes with the addition of barley, some protien like chicken or mutton and some spices, all blended together to make a bowl of goodness. It is found in North Indian and Pakistani cooking, with some basic difference in the spices used. I totally love a good warm bowl of creamy Haleem, topped with fried onions, and some ghee on top. It is one of my guilt pleasures. Hehe… This was one main reason why I had asked Lubna to particularly ask for Haleem as her guest post. HD’s staff had bought this pack of Pakistani curry masala, which she said is used in Haleems and curries that they make. It was languishing in my kitchen for the past three months till I finally decided to take out and use it. If you actually take opinions from around, you will notice that majority will vouch for the Shaan Haleem masala. I actually like to depend on a spice blend I can make from what is available in my kitchen, but till I discover it, maybe let me continue to use what I have… 🙂
Even though Haleem is known to be a lot of hard work, I used two pressure cookers for it. I made sure I soaked the whole wheat and dals well in advance so it cooked quicker. I cooked them till they were literally broken down. In the other cooker, I cooked the meat along with the spice blend and some more ingredients. Then I took the bones off, added all the stock and meat into the cooked wheat-lentil mix and blend the mixture. Of course, the major part of this dish is the garnish. I had frowns here when they saw the raw ginger on top, but believe me, that bite into it is what makes it so amazing! I haven’t added much of ghee into my haleem, so you will see it is a little dry, but go ahead and pour as much as you want to make it more richer. The quantity mentioned below made almost a full 7 litre pressure cooker. So if you are making for a small family, go half or even quarter of the below recipe. It is such a filling meal that you may not want to eat a lot! It is also an extremely freezer friendly meal, so any excesses, make sure to push it into your freezer and pull it out during one of those extremely lazy days. 🙂 Off to the recipe…
- 1½ cup whole wheat
- ¼ cup urad dal
- ¼ cup chana dal
- ¼ cup moong dal
- ¾ tsp turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- 1 kg chicken, cut and cleaned
- 2 heaped tbsp haleem masala powder
- 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
- 3 green chillies, slit
- ½ tsp garam masala
- FOR TOPPING:
- 3 tbsp ghee + more to drizzle on top
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 2 inch pc ginger
- 3 green chillies
- ¼ bunch coriander leaves
- Soak the whole wheat and the lentils for 3-4 hours. Change the water in between.
- Add into a pressure cooker, with more than double water. Add the turmeric and salt, and cook till all mashed up. I cooked on high for one whistle and let it be on simmer for an hour.
- Meanwhile, in another cooker, add the cleaned chicken, haleem masala, ginger garlic paste, green chillies and salt to taste. Cook on medium flame for 5-6 whistles and allow the pressure to go by itself. The chicken should fall off the bone.
- Once both are done, remove all the bones from the chicken. You can keep the soft bones. Dump all the stock and chicken into the cooked wheat mixture. Add more hot water to loosen the mixture.
- With a hand blender, blend the mixture till smooth. Finish off with the garam masala powder.
- Heat ghee in a saucepan. Fry the onions till browned. Drain and set aside. Add the ghee into the prepared haleem.
- Julienne the ginger. Slice the green chillies and chop the coriander leaves.
- Serve hot after garnishing with the fried onions, ginger, chillies and coriander leaves on top with more ghee as preferred.