Haleem, as you would know, is a delightful mix of grains and meat. It is cooked over a slow fire for long hours, so that by the time it is done, the dish is a creamy mash redolent with the flavours of meat, grain and spices. If you want, you can add some fried onions and chopped green chillies to it. Squeeze a wedge of lemon if you like it tart, and you have a meal that you can't forget.
Hotel Mustafa is off Matia Mahal, in Haveli Azam Khan. It's a tiny place opposite Shabrati, which is a well-known eatery in the area where we found Hyderabadi specials in Purani Dilli.
Mustafa's haleem is cooked with broken wheat, some urad dal and chicken. This is cooked with a potli ka masala, a mix of black cardamom, cinnamon, coriander seeds, bay leaf, cinnamon, patthar ka phool, khus and other flavouring agents and spices.
Once the chicken is done and has turned really mushy, it is garnished with browned onions. Mustafa adds small pieces of cashew nuts to the chicken, a dash of lime juice and desi ghee on top. And the dish is simply superb. This is a new place, and came to me as a real surprise. It's good to have a Hyderabadi food outlet in the Walled City.
What makes this haleem special is the smooth texture and taste. The chicken is cooked so well that it has a creamy consistency, and the taste envelopes the flavours of the spices. Haleem is a meal in itself, for it is heavy and nourishing. In some parts of the country, it is made and sold only during the feasting period of Ramzaan. It is also a breakfast meal, and gets you ready for a hard day's work.
Recipe To Prepare Delicious Haleem
500g boneless chicken, 100g broken wheat, 3 large onions, 1tbsp ginger-garlic paste, a pinch of turmeric, chilli powder to taste, half tsp garam masala, 1 cup yoghurt, oil for frying, juice of 1 lemon
Slice the onions and fry them. Take half the fried onions out. Fry ginger and garlic with the remaining onions in the oil.
Season with salt and turmeric, and then add chilli powder and fry them some more time. Add chicken and cook. Once almost done, add whisked yoghurt and stir.
When the oil comes to the top, take off the stove. Take the chicken out, allow it to cool.
Grind it with boiled and ground broken wheat. Put this back on the stove, add garam masala and green chillies.
Fry for a few minutes. Add the lemon juice and then serve garnished with the browned onions.
(Courtesy: HT & Shutterstock)