Haleem is Pakistan’s slow-cooked dish of choice. A South Asian iteration of the Middle Eastern harisa, haleem is a spicy porridge of slow-cooked grains and meat melded together. Best prepared to feed a crowd, make sure you serve it alongside generous helpings of browned onions, lemon or lime wedges, green chile, cilantro, chaat masala, and julienned ginger.
- Bring four quarts of water to a simmer and add grains. Add salt to taste, 1 tbsp red chile powder, turmeric powder, and ½ sliced onion. Dial heat to low and cover. Let it simmer for approximately 2 hours. Stir every once and a while to make sure that the grains do not stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Once the grains are fall-apart soft, drain excess water and transfer to a food processor. Give it 4 or 5 whizzes to soften the texture, and transfer grain mixture to a large pot.
- Once the grains are boiling, begin to prepare the meat curry. Heat 1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil in a large pot. When the oil is sizzling hot, add onions and fry on medium heat till they are golden brown and crisp, about 7 minutes, more if necessary. Be careful not to burn. Once onions are ready, transfer to a paper towel to drain excess oil.
- Move the saucepan to a cooling rack and let it cool. Heat remaining oil again on low heat, add ginger and garlic paste, and let it fry for a few seconds. Add meat, salt to taste, and whole spices (black cardamom pods, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon stick), and fry on medium-high heat till the meat is evenly cooked, about 5-7 minutes.
- Stir in coriander powder, garam masala, and remaining red chile powder into the yogurt. Add fried onions and the spiced yogurt to the meat. Continue to cook on medium-high heat for another 5-7 minutes till the oil begins to separate.
- Lower heat. Add five cups of water and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook till meat is tender and falling apart, roughly 1 to 1½ hours. Stir meat frequently to make sure it does not stick to the bottom.
- Once the meat is ready, take out whole spices with a slotted spoon. Transfer meat mixture to a food processor and mince till it has an even consistency. Once ready, transfer to the pot with the grains.
- On low heat, begin to stir the grain and meat mixture together till it is well blended, about 5 minutes. Top with crispy, fried brown onion.
- Serve alongside finely chopped green chile, cilantro, julienned ginger, chaat masala, lemon or lime wedges, and naan.
Maryam Jillani is TASTE's Cook In Residence, and the founder of Pakistan Eats.