This hearty dish is usually considered heavy due to the large amount of ghee or oil that is often used. But don’t be afraid to leave it out, this can be a delicious super-food without all the excess fat. There is no end to the combination of whole grains one can add to haleem. You can make it with a portion of oats or pearl barley, leave out the whole wheat if you can’t find it, mix up the lentils according to availability. I use chicken breast here, many recipes use beef or lamb. Feel free to adjust according to your circumstances and I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
- 1 c. whole wheat grains (see picture)
- 1/3 c. chena dal (yellow split pea)
- 1/3 cup moong dal (green lentil)
- 1/3 c. masoor dal (red lentil)
- 1 – 2 T. vegetable oil
- 2 onions, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
- 1 T. ginger-garlic paste (or ginger and garlic freshly grated)
- ½ tsp. Garam masala powder
- 1 tsp. red pepper (cayenne), reduce if you don’t want your sinuses cleared
- ¾ tsp. coriander powder
- ½ tsp. turmeric
- Salt to taste (about 2 tsp.)
- ½ pound chicken breast, cut into small strips
Garnish with any of following:
- ½ tsp. garam masala (on the whole dish, or serve at the table)
- Chopped cilantro (fresh coriander leaves)
- Green chillis, chopped
- Ginger, cut into thin match sticks or chopped
- Onion, sliced and well browned
- Lemon wedges
- Plain yogurt
Pick over the wheat and lentils, put them all together in a bowl, rinse and leave to soak for 4-6 hours.
Fry onions on low-medium heat in a large stock pot, stirring often. Brown the onions but don’t burn them (about 8-10 min.). Then add ginger-garlic and all spices and salt. Cook stirring for about 1 minute. Add the chicken and cook briefly while draining the wheat and lentils. Add wheat and lentils to the chicken and spice mix. Cover all the ingredients with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, on low heat for 1 – 2 hours.
Stir occasionally, adding more water if needed, until the lentils are soft. Remove from the heat. Blend with a hand mixer, or mash down with a potato masher to make it smooth. It will be the consistency of very thick soup or refried beans. Serve with the garnishes you like. Eat with a spoon, or with nan. This is enough for several people. It freezes well too. Enjoy!