Harees ~ Emirati Wholewheat Mash

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Ramadan is incomplete in this part of the world without a regular supply of “Harees”. I bet anybody who has been here will agree.


“Harees” is nothing that whole wheat slow cooked along with mutton and bones till nicely mashed. Umma would say that in those days (early 80s), she has seen the maids at the Arab houses would have a huge pot outside the house kept on a makeshift stove, with fire from dried date palm or wood and they would stir in once in a while to ensure it doesn’t stick. The harees would be cooked for hours till you are unable to distinguish the whole wheat nor the mutton. The bones that would be floating on top would be fished out and then the harees would be packed in casseroles with a generous topping of ghee, called as “smen”. These are then distributed to the mosques, labour camps and to all the needy across. Sometimes, on our way back to home from work, we can see people lined up to collect these casseroles of “harees” from the Ramadan tents that come up in every nook and corner of the country.


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Umma never liked harees, till almost the time she was leaving the country. She regrets the quantity that she would throw in her ignorant days, may Allah forgive her! The harees is such a wholesome food that it serves enough for dinner and will keep you full for a long time. In the initial days, we would daily get our stock of harees and some delicious biriyani and umma would be the happiest, since she wouldn’t have to cook that night. πŸ˜€ As years went by, our supply dwindled, don’t really know the reason. πŸ™ Of late, we get it when we least expect it and since it stays well in the fridge for days, it acts well for the rainy days.


Making it at home is actually a breeze if you have a pressure cooker – which we Indians are guaranteed to have! If you notice, this is so similar to the Aleesa that is served in Thalassery, but with a little Kerala touch. I am sure that it is the influence of the spice trading in those days. The method of cooking is ditto though there is the difference of coconut milk and fried onions in the Malabar version (which I normally don’t do – lazy reasons! πŸ˜‰ ), and is mostly cooked with chicken since mutton is not very widely available and is expensive too. The flavoring though is the same – cinnamon, salt and pepper. Let’s quickly go the recipe… Do try to make it since it is really easy and a super filling meal too!


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Linking to The Schizo Chef’s “Ramadan Around the World” event…




Harees ~ Emirati Wholewheat Mash

Course Main Meals
Cuisine Emirati
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 3
Author Rafeeda


  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat soaked overnight
  • 350 gm mutton with soft bones
  • 3 1/4 cup water
  • 1 big stick cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Ghee for topping


  • Add all ingredients in a pressure cooker.
  • Cook on high for three whistles and then keep on simmer for 40 minutes.
  • Switch off and allow the pressure to go by itself.
  • Open the lid, fish out the cinnamon and the hard bones that are on the top.
  • Using a hand blender, blend the mixture till almost smooth.
  • Serve hot with ghee...

Join the Conversation

  1. Its was so interesting to read through and know about harees… with the mutton and wheat it sounds so filling…. looks yumm

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thank you so much Anupa… it is indeed filling… πŸ™‚

  2. Ramadhan Kareem rafs

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thanks a lot Babitha…

  3. Tempting too much rafee

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thanks a lot Beena…

  4. Looks yumm. I have never used a presseure cooker am a little scared of it have a phobia that it might explode lol. Maybe will get one soon to try recipes like this

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      We use our pressure cooker everyday, and all of mine… hehe… Thank you so much Nammi…

  5. Sounds interesting…. With just cinnamon and pepper will it be pleasing for ‘the masala people’ of Kerala? .. Asking just out of curiosity

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      It is an acquired taste… like I mentioned, umma never liked it till recently, but we have always liked it.. just drizzle our normal spicy chicken curry and it just takes it to another level… Thanks a lot Sherien…

  6. This looks so delicious and love the creamy texture!

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thanks a lot Anu…

  7. yummy and filling

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thanks a lot Ruxana…

  8. Looks creamy and very flavoursome!

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thanks a lot Angie…

  9. I never made Harees before. I always thought that it is a very difficult dish to make. But your recipe looks pretty easy. Will try this sometime, maybe for suhoor. Whole wheat is nurukku kothumb right?

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Not nurukku gothambu, dear, the whole one… in outlets here, it is marked as harees… we use it for chakkara gothambu too… This is so filling as well… Thanks a lot Sadia…

  10. Thanks Rafeeda for this recipe. Harees is my all time fav. Will definitely try it out.

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thank you so much Shanaz…

  11. Looks so yummy, will try this recipe..thanks for sharing

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thanks a lot Suja…

  12. Aleesa! I tie up all the whole spices in a clean cloth and add them so it is easy to just remove it before blending it. Thats my moms way. Some days I just add everything like this! πŸ˜› It is very evident how Malabar food is influenced with Arab or vice versa! πŸ˜›

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Since it is only cinnamon, it doesn’t take effort to fish it out… πŸ˜› Yes, quite a lot of influence! Thanks a lot Fami…

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