Every time some food-hunting soul asks me for a good biryani or haleem restaurant recommendation, they receive a discouraging shrug and a claim that no place can do it like mamma does. Not helpful I know, but t’is the truth.
All is not lost. You can now attempt to recreate the creamy meaty magic, laced with ghee, crunchy golden onions and slivers of raw ginger because mum finally documented her recipe this Ramadan. If you want to ecstatically hug me for the recipe (or more usefully, gift me this KitchenAid ice cream attachment), you very well may, but the real person to thank is Dima Sharif, a Dubai-based blogger whom I respect greatly and who interviewed me for our household Ramadan trade secrets. Mamma cooked up cauldrons of haleem, with my pestering her at every critical step along the way to approximate measurements that had never really been measured before. I even helped to puree one half of a quarter pot (I do fully realize that makes it a mere one eighth of a pot, but one half of a quarter sounds like a greater share of the work.) I did as many taste tests as I possibly could, and also meticulously photographed the haleem so that you’re convinced to make the stuff, garnish it with onions and coriander, and serve it with lemon halves…on the back of an old, scarred roti pan that hopefully your mum doesn’t miss in the moment that you pinched it from her cupboard.
In her true altruistic spirit, mamma also donated her stuffed chilies recipe. The sesame seed and tamarind chutney stuffing is the stuff that fasting dreams in Ramadan are made of.
And for whatever reason, if you really don’t have the biceps to pound up this porridge (or your blender is broken.), then head over to this restaurant that I’ve eaten at more times in the past 2 weeks than I’d dare admit. They dollop out an authentic haleem that’s still no comparison to mum’s, but it’s the best one deserves for copping out of making it at home.