Mamma’s secret recipe for Haleem is now yours. Recreate the meaty magic.

blankEvery 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.chillies

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.

Author: InaFryingPan

With a family legacy of ingenious cooks, a nutritionist and chef-extraordinaire mother, and a father who introduced me to steak and caviar when I could barely reach the table, I had no choice but to acquire a keen awareness of food during my childhood years in Dubai. But it was only after I found myself on a college campus in Philadelphia – far away from home, too cheap as a student to spend on anything other than pizza, and with dorm rooms that had little rat-holes of kitchens if they even had them at all – when I developed a heightened appreciation of food. An appreciation of food that I once ate every night at the dinner table in Dubai, but that was now an entire ocean away. I lusted for the culinary treasures that lay outside the stale walls of my college dining hall, hijacked friends’ kitchens to try my hand at something, anything , remotely edible, and greedily raided different websites in search of highly-rated restaurants. With my move to New York to work for a consulting firm that secretly harbored self-professed foodies, my appreciation transformed into a passion, an addicition. I felt like everyone around me in New York was talking about food: where to get the best cupcakes, pizza slices, banh mi, kati rolls, pho, fried chicken, and every other food item out there that is just a plain old dish in some part of the world, but that’s become hyped to unforeseen proportions in New York. What fuelled my addiction over time was travel to different cities, both for work and play, which gave me unfettered access to the culinary havens of not only New York, but also of DC, Virginia, Chicago, Houston, Vegas, Austin, Seattle and even a little city called Bentonville (Arkansas!). After 9 years away from home, I’ve finally taken the leap to come back to Dubai – with not just an awareness, but genuine appreciation and passionate addiction for what I’d taken for granted as a child. Mom, I’m back to reclaim my seat at your dinner table, and to rediscover this city with its ever-expanding menu of international flavors.

6 thoughts on “Mamma’s secret recipe for Haleem is now yours. Recreate the meaty magic.

  1. Dima Sharif says:

    Arva you have taken such a mouthwatering photo of Haleem, every time I see it, I droooool lol and especially now that I can make it, gosh its spectacular!!! love it and thank you and your mama for sharing, love her too :)

    1. Arva says:

      Thanks for giving mum and moi the opportunity to share Haleem goodness with the world on your blog Dima! (with the added perk that I got to polish off the bowl of haleem when mum made it for this photo ;) …)

  2. jmjdubainew says:

    I liked it and am sharing your recipe in my facebook account.

  3. Sameera says:

    Hey i was so looking forward to make this haleem but when i click the link it says page is not found


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