Arva's Mum's Secret Recipes

In yesterday’s post I had shared with you my chat with my good friend Arva Ahmed, who is a UAE Food blogger at “I Live In A Frying Pan” and our favourite local food tour conductor, owner of the first and best food tour company in the UAE “Frying Pan Adventures“. We had been talking about India, and specifically about Ramadan in India, Indian Cuisine and what the Indian people eat during the month of Ramadan. You can check out our chat on this link.

Arva and her mother were very generous to share with us what Arva Refers to as “mum’s zealously guarded secret Pakodas recipe” on this link and today she shares with us another one of her mum’s decadent recipes: the famous and best loved “Haleem”, which Arva describes as: “Mum’s version of Haleem knocks the pants off the restaurant ones because she uses the heat-inducing garam masala with appropriate restraint. Her haleem spice mix hits the right spot in your tummy without burning a painful hole through it.” Well, let’s make this Haleem and see how it compares with the less wholesome restaurant versions!


  • ¼ to ½ kg Mutton, either boneless or on the bone
  • 3/4 cup of mixed three lentils (equal parts of: Masoor, Moong and Tuwar)
  • 1/2 KG whole wheat kernels (available specifically for harees in local supermarkets)
  • 2 tbsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
  • 5-6 medium red onions
  • Green chillies – To taste
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp coriander powder
  • Salt – To taste
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Ginger – thin slivers for garnish (optional)
  • Coriander, chopped – for garnish (optional)
  • Lemon – quartered
  • Ghee – for garnish (optional)

The night before making Haleem, wash the lentils and wheat. Soak overnight in lots of water.

On the day of making Haleem, keeping one aside, thinly slice all the onions and deep-fry them in hot oil until golden brown. Drain the onions on a paper towel until they are completely dry and crispy.

Mix the lentils, meat, wheat, ginger garlic paste, turmeric, coriander powder, salt, onion (quarters) and oil in a pressure-cooker or slow cooker. Cook until the wheat kernels soften, then leave to cool.

Once cooled, blend the mixture along with approx. 4 tbsp of the fried onions. If you are using meat pieces on the bone, then first remove the meat off of the bones and then blend. If you prefer to have a few whole pieces of meat in your haleem (or more correctly, called kichda if the meat chunks are left in), reserve a few of the meat chunks before blending.

Blend to a smooth, creamy paste, adding in warm water to help in the blending process if required. The final texture of the haleem should be fine enough where you cannot taste any textural variation from the lentils or wheat, but not overly watery. If you spoon a dollop of haleem back into the mixture, it should not be a stiff lump but the impression of the spoonful should form clearly.

Add back any whole meat chunks that you may have kept aside.

To serve, melt some ghee and drizzle over the haleem, then garnish with coriander and lots of fried onions. Serve slivers of ginger and quartered lemons alongside.

Haleem tips

  • To heat the haleem before serving, place the pot atop a flat griddle or tawa (flat plate for making Indian breads) an hour before mealtime. Let the haleem heat through slowly, mixing it ever so often to avoid it sticking to the edges.
  • Some people like to add an extra touch to their haleem – a sunny side-up egg. Crack an egg over the hot haleem (before you add the fried onions and coriander garnish) and drizzle sizzling hot ghee over the yolk to let it cook. Let your guests break through the yolk while serving themselves, so that it seeps out over the haleem and adds an additional layer of richness and flavour.
  • You may actually cook the entire haleem a day before (this would involve soaking the lentils and wheat two nights before). Haleem keeps well in the refrigerator.
This Haleem recipe and the Haleem bowl photograph, are provided by Arva Ahmed and are her property. They are published on this blog with her permission. Please do not copy or use them without her permission.

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