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Cooking with Ma (Pt.1) - haleem

Cooking with Ma (Pt.1) - haleem
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  • Cooking with Ma (Pt.1) - haleem

    Post #1 - August 17th, 2006, 8:08 pm
    Post #1 - August 17th, 2006, 8:08 pm Post #1 - August 17th, 2006, 8:08 pm
    Currently on sabbatical (read: in between jobs), I’ve had the good fortune to spend some time back at home, where I’ve undertaken an apprenticeship with Ma in the kitchen. After having left the house about a decade ago, my cooking still doesn’t even approximate what I grew up on, so I’ve decided to spend some time learning exactly what constitutes a mom’s “pinch” or “handful” etc. I’m still inexperienced enough that I require a stepwise protocol in the kitchen, and can’t cook with emotion as my guide, so I sought to at least extract a few skills to improve my chops.

    First up was the dish I’d probably choose to have as my last on this planet – haleem. As with most recipes, there are a handful of variations, and with this particular dish the main variations differ in the kind of grain, kind of meat, and the final texture.

    We used 4 different kinds of lentils (moong, masoor, urad, channa), crushed wheat and barley. Everything except the barley was cooked on a low flame with various spices until the channa daal finally became tender. We then ran this through the food processor, followed by the cooked barley.

    For the meat, we used veal, shanks I believe, with the bones, along with paya (feet). I gasped at the thought of using precious paya for the haleem until my mom calmly smiled and showed me our freezer-chest full of meat. Hey, the proof is in the paya. So, on we went with cooking some onions through, browning the meat, adding garlic/ginger, cayenne, coriander powder, turmeric, etc until the onions had pretty much dissolved. And then out came the pressure cooker and an hour later, one look at the meat caused it to slip off the bones. I paused to take a slurp of this broth, which hit the back of my throat like a very good bourbon, and was intoxicatingly rich & tasty. No stopping for tastes, Mom says, so we run the meat through the food processor. And we run it for far longer than I’d like, but apparently Dad’s preference is for a smooth end-product, and so we lovingly oblige (actually, I was a little p*ssed since I like a few chunks in mine). Then, the lentils & the meat became one. And I felt like the little boy I once was eating haleem for the first time. I even had the perfect milk pairing to complete the nostalgia.


    Image


    Next up is paya, nehari, and a variety of other dishes I need to know how to make.

    -Nab
  • Post #2 - August 18th, 2006, 1:29 am
    Post #2 - August 18th, 2006, 1:29 am Post #2 - August 18th, 2006, 1:29 am
    Nab,

    An extremely enticing post! Many thanks, though I confess that in my ignorance, I'd love to have a little more detail about the cooking process. The photo is driving me crazy and I want to try to make haleem myself... It looks and sounds absolutely wonderful.

    Could you elaborate a little? And also, though I'm not really a ludite (witness my use of the internet), I don't have a pressure cooker (nor have I ever used a microwave, not even once, cross my heart and hope to kill)... Anyway, any suggestions concerning how to make haleem without these new-fangled pressure cookers?

    Damn, that picture looks so good...

    Antonius
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #3 - August 18th, 2006, 6:36 am
    Post #3 - August 18th, 2006, 6:36 am Post #3 - August 18th, 2006, 6:36 am
    Antonius, I only wish I was capable of providing the kind of rich detail & food history that I enjoy with your cooking experiences. Here's my stab at it:

    To the uncooked lentil mixture goes salt, pepper, cayenne pwdr, turmeric pwdr, and a few heaping spoonfuls each of ginger & garlic paste (we use these so much in our cooking that it makes great sense to grind it up and jar it). This is cooked on a low flame until the channa dal becomes tender, since it takes the longest time. Very important to avoid burning the others. The barley is simply boiled until it has become very tender as well -- no need for spicing or anything.

    As for cooking the meat, this is done like most Pakistani dishes to start. A large onion is roughly chopped and cooked until translucent in vegetable oil. To that goes the meat, and you have to brown the meat well, but the point is not so much to sear it and then drop the heat to low for many hours like a typical braise. The point is to keep cooking and continually stirring it until the onions have pretty much liquidized and have become unified with the water that comes out of the meat, and the spices that were added, and the additional water that you add (little at a time) to make sure the pot is never dry. This is the brown masala that most dishes are based on. The flavor resides here, not so much in the actual meat itself. My mom always used to tell me to perform this job, and it's called "boon", or at least that's the root of the word, and I never really knew what that meant until recently.

    With regards to pressure-cooking -- Antonius, our "new-fangled" pressure-cooker is actually from about 1972. A good Indian friend turned my mom onto pressure cooking when she first moved here since most folks back home cook all their food in pressure cookers to save on gas. No big deal if you don't have one, just need to cook for many hours until the meat is reaaaaalllly tender. May have to keep adding a little bit of water.

    After you've run both the grains & the meat through the food processor, you need to combine them together, and this is where you add alot of garam masala, or a little, to suit your taste. Garam masala can be added at the end by each person as well. Also at this point, we added a pretty large amount of oil to the mixture to give it a sheen, since it's a little dull-looking and dry at this time.

    Garnish with fresh cilantro, ginger matchsticks, thai bird chilies, lime juice, and taarka (fried onions).

    Hope this helps.

    -Nab
  • Post #4 - August 18th, 2006, 6:50 am
    Post #4 - August 18th, 2006, 6:50 am Post #4 - August 18th, 2006, 6:50 am
    tatterdemalion wrote:Next up is paya, nehari, and a variety of other dishes I need to know how to make.

    Nab,

    Wonderfully interesting post, looking forward to the next 'installment'

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #5 - August 18th, 2006, 8:34 am
    Post #5 - August 18th, 2006, 8:34 am Post #5 - August 18th, 2006, 8:34 am
    tatterdemalion wrote:After you've run both the grains & the meat through the food processor, you need to combine them together, and this is where you add alot of garam masala, or a little, to suit your taste. Garam masala can be added at the end by each person as well. Also at this point, we added a pretty large amount of oil to the mixture to give it a sheen, since it's a little dull-looking and dry at this time.

    Garnish with fresh cilantro, ginger matchsticks, thai bird chilies, lime juice, and taarka (fried onions).

    Hope this helps.


    Nab,

    Yes; many thanks for giving the further details. One more question: what kind oil should one add at the end? Sesame, perhaps? Peanut? If more than one is appropriate, what's your (family's) preference?*

    I'm really taken with the idea of using barley in this combination. Thanks again and, like Gary, I'm looking forward to future installments.

    Antonius

    * Or is it ghee and I'm just interpreting the word 'oil' in too narrow a sense?
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #6 - August 18th, 2006, 9:49 am
    Post #6 - August 18th, 2006, 9:49 am Post #6 - August 18th, 2006, 9:49 am
    Yes; many thanks for giving the further details. One more question: what kind oil should one add at the end? Sesame, perhaps? Peanut? If more than one is appropriate, what's your (family's) preference?*


    We used vegetable oil. The smell of it kind of turned me off, but my mom said you have to use something that won't distract any flavour from the haleem itself. And once it was incorporated into the stew, and then warmed in the stove, you couldn't smell or taste it.

    -Nab
  • Post #7 - August 18th, 2006, 3:44 pm
    Post #7 - August 18th, 2006, 3:44 pm Post #7 - August 18th, 2006, 3:44 pm
    Jeezz Nab.. all these years and you never invited me for dinner... shame on you! :P I'd buy a ticket to Canada for that haleem.
  • Post #8 - August 21st, 2006, 9:33 am
    Post #8 - August 21st, 2006, 9:33 am Post #8 - August 21st, 2006, 9:33 am
    Really a great post, I know what you mean about it taking some time to learn what " a pinch" of a this is or how much of each to put it - whenever I ask my mother how much say ground coriander she will put in a dish the answer I get is "enough".

    Anyway, haleem is a dish which I have strong memories of - my grandfather would always try to make this at home, remembering it from iftar celebrations in kashmir, though he was more a persistent than talented cook, and it wasn't one of my grandmother's liking. Maybe because of this I have never really spent much time making it myself. Also I confess to the dish being a little heavy for me, especially as eaten in the morning - It just makes me want to go back to sleep.

    Do you always use veal? My memories of the dish always are of lamb/goat - but of course in india that would be more likely than in pakistan.

    there's a lot of nice haleem info on this thread at egullet with some articles written by one of my favorite writers on indian food, the poster "vikram" I especially like the idea of distributing haleem through the post offices
  • Post #9 - July 7th, 2018, 9:12 am
    Post #9 - July 7th, 2018, 9:12 am Post #9 - July 7th, 2018, 9:12 am
    Video of Hyderabad street food and making haleem.
    -----> Link
    Haleem.jpg Haleem in Hyderabad
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #10 - July 7th, 2018, 4:00 pm
    Post #10 - July 7th, 2018, 4:00 pm Post #10 - July 7th, 2018, 4:00 pm
    If you can get past the horribly irritating narrator, that was an amazing video.
  • Post #11 - July 7th, 2018, 4:21 pm
    Post #11 - July 7th, 2018, 4:21 pm Post #11 - July 7th, 2018, 4:21 pm
    lougord99 wrote:If you can get past the horribly irritating narrator, that was an amazing video.
    Yes, absolutely, The Food Ranger a bit of a dweeb, but I watch religiously as its 100% food in interesting places. I also watch Strictly Dumpling, can be annoying as well, and the infinitely less irksome Migrationology. All three on YouTube. Almazan Kitchen is the king of YouTube cool cooking shows.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #12 - July 8th, 2018, 3:27 pm
    Post #12 - July 8th, 2018, 3:27 pm Post #12 - July 8th, 2018, 3:27 pm
    Is eleven years and ten months the record for the oldest bump on LTHF? :o
    Learn what Bing prefers you not know: http://208.84.112.25/~pudgym29/bookmark4.html

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