Hyderabadi Haleem


Wheat and Lentils

  • ▢1 cup cracked wheat or haleem wheat
  • ▢½ cup lentils combination of yellow and orange, see note
  • ▢¼ cup pearl barley

Meat Stew

  • ▢1½ cups avocado oil or peanut oil, most will be leftover
  • ▢3 yellow onions large, thinly sliced, 4 cups
  • ▢2 lbs lamb with bones (or other meats)
  • ▢1½ tablespoons grated ginger
  • ▢1½ tablespoons grated garlic
  • ▢1 cup yogurt whisked
  • ▢4 teaspoons garam masala see note
  • ▢1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ▢1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ▢1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ▢1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ▢½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ▢1½ teaspoons salt adjust per taste
  • ▢2 green chilies chopped, remove seeds for less spicy
  • ▢2 quarts water or lamb stock, more if needed
  • ▢2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • ▢1 tablespoon chopped mint
  • ▢2 tablespoons ghee


  • ▢Fried Onions, Fresh Mint, Fresh Cilantro, Cashew Halves, Lemon Wedges, Ghee


  • Soak haleem wheat in water overnight (soak 30 minutes if using cracked wheat). Soak the lentils for 30 minutes.
  • Heat oil in a wide deep frying pan and fry sliced onions in batches until light golden brown and crisp. Do not crowd the pan. Drain onions on paper towels and set aside (See note for easy haleem).
  • In a cooking pot, heat 1 tablespoon oil and brown the meat. Add ginger, garlic and sauté couple minutes. Then add yogurt and cook 5 minutes.
  • Next add half the fried onions, 3 teaspoons garam masala, ground coriander, ground cumin, chili powder, turmeric, ground black pepper, salt, green chilies and stir couple minutes.
  • Add two cups of water or stock and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat, place a lid and let it simmer for 1 to 2 hours until meat is well done.
  • While the meat is simmering, take wheat, barley, lentils and 4 cups of water or stock in another large cooking pot. Bring it to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for one hour until the grains and lentils are mushy.
  • Separate the bones from meat and discard. Shred the meat very well using forks, potato masher or meat pounder and add it back to the meat sauce.
  • Using a hand blender or table top blender, blitz the cooked grains and lentils to a smooth paste.
  • In a large cooking pot, combine shredded meat with the gravy, grains-lentils mixture, 2 tablespoon cilantro, 1 tablespoon mint and bring it to a boil. Lower heat and let it simmer for 30 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon garam masala and simmer 10 minutes. Use extra water or stock as needed
  • Drizzle ghee on top. Garnish with remaining fried onions, chopped cilantro, chopped mint, toasted cashews. Serve lemon wedges on the side.


  1. Lentils: Use a combination of split dehusked lentils — chana dal (split baby chickpeas), masoor dal (red lentils), moong dal (split mung beans), urad dal (split black lentils).
  2. Meats: You can also use beef, goat, veal or chicken. Adjust the cooking time.
  3. Onions: Use a mandolin slicer for thinly sliced onions.
  4. Storage: Refrigerate leftovers for 5 to 6 days. Freeze haleem in small portions for couple months.
  5. Flavored Ghee Topping: Heat some ghee, turn off the stove and stir in pinches of paprika, turmeric, dried mint and drizzle on haleem.
  6. Optional Toppings: Toasted cashews, sliced chilies, julienned ginger.
  7. Haleem Spice Blend: For this recipe, instead of garam masala you can grind together – 8 green cardamom pods, 2 black cardamom pods, 8 cloves, 4 inch cinnamon stick, 2 tablespoons dried rose petals, 1 teaspoon shahjeera, ½ teaspoon black pepper and ½ teaspoon mace.
  8. Readymade Haleem Mix: Indian stores carry Shaan and National brand haleem boxes with readymade mixtures of wheat and lentils. Their spice packets are too pungent. I make my own as above.
  9. Oil: Most of the oil will be leftover after frying.
  10. Slow cooker: Haleem can be slow cooked to a perfect consistency as the long cooking time will help soften the meat, grains and lentils very well.
  11. Instant pot, Pressure cooker: These devices will cut down the cooking time and especially suitable for my easy haleem below.
  12. Easy Haleem: (easier only if you dont want to fry onions)
    • Heat ½ cup oil and sauté onions over medium high heat until golden brown, for 20 to 25 minutes. Set half the browned onions aside for garnish later. Discard unused oil as needed.
    • Add meat to the pot and brown it. Then add ginger, garlic, yogurt, spices, salt, chillies and sauté for 5 to 10 minutes.
    • Add drained cracked wheat (don’t use whole haleem wheat), lentils and herbs. Add 1½ quarts water or stock and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat and let it simmer for 2 hours, stirring in between, adding water as needed and until meat is well done.
    • Discard bones and shred the meat. Blend the wheat and lentils. Add meat back and simmer.
    • Top with ghee, fried onions, garam masala and chopped herbs.