It’s not simply biryani that evokes a number of dialogue and debate in Hyderabad. Proud Hyderabadis will inform you that their haleem – the quintessential Ramadan porridge with pounded meat blended with damaged wheat, barley and lentils, is the most effective in India. I’ve explored Hyderabad’s iconic meals institutions a number of instances together with a Ramadan stroll via the previous metropolis.

Saima Afreen, an area meals and life-style author who accompanied me tells me that the important thing ingredient is a top quality wheat that locals name the sharbate gehun. While Pista House is arguably Hyderabad’s hottest cease for haleem in Hyderabad, I fee the Haleem at Rainbow restaurant at Abids the most effective I’ve ever tried. It was Chef Aamer Jamal who helped me unearth this spot. He’s an area with a bagful of tales in regards to the metropolis’s meals tradition. Rainbow is without doubt one of the few eateries that serves Haleem around the yr.

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The idea of a finely mashed meat dish mixed with wheat has its origins within the Middle East. There’s the story of Gregory the Illuminator, the patron saint of Armenia who was providing a charity meal and ran out of meat. Wheat was added to the cooking pots and when the cooks seen that the wheat had caught to the underside, Saint Gregory gave them the command – “Harekh” or stir. Most Armenians will inform you that the dish Harissa owes its identify to this incident. It’s served there on Easter day and is obtainable as a charity meal to at the present time.

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Harees is now an integral a part of cuisines throughout the Arab world with refined variations. Cardamom pods are utilized in Saudi Arabia and in some international locations it is served with a sprinkling of parsley. It’s a quintessential a part of competition feasts like Eid ul-Fitr and in addition at weddings. The Mappila Muslims of Kerala are one of many communities in India whose tradition and delicacies has been formed by an intermingling of Arab and Indian tradition. It goes again to the seventh Century AD when enterprising seafaring Arabs left their indelible footprints on the shores of Kerala method earlier than the Khyber move was even on the map.


Adida Rasheed is without doubt one of the finest identified Mappila culinary consultants. During my latest interplay together with her at The Park resort in Chennai, our dialog drifted to Haleem and to a model that North Kerala is aware of as Aleesa or Alsa. This is an everyday at festivals and weddings and never only a Ramadan specialty. While Haleem is normally a savoury dish that’s served at completely different spice ranges, Aleesa might be had two methods. That’s not the one distinction between Haleem and Aleesa that each might be traced again to the Harees within the Middle East.

Coconut milk is without doubt one of the components that defines the flavours of the Aleesa. In areas like Kozhikode and Malappuram it is served as an accompaniment with dishes like hen roast and in addition eaten as a candy dish with a sprinkling of sugar that complement the fried raisins and cashew nuts which can be sprinkled on the Aleesa. While Haleem is crafted with mutton, aleesa can be made with hen. The use of entire spices lends the aleesa a unique flavour profile. You can attempt making this dish at residence with our simple recipe.

Aleesa – Recipe

Recipe courtesy – Suhara Ahamed


Broken wheat / samba wheat: 2 cups (soak in a single day)

Mutton or hen (boneless): 250 gm

Cinnamon: 2 small items

Cloves: 2

Cardamom: 2

Salt: to style

Coconut milk: 2 cups

For garnish:

Shallots: 5-6 (finely chopped)

Raisins: just a few

Cashew nuts: just a few


  1. Soak the wheat in a single day
  2. Pressure cook dinner wheat with mutton, salt (do not add an excessive amount of, since this may also be served as a candy dish) and the entire spices for about half-hour
  3. Mash effectively. You can even mix it in a mixer
  4. Add 2 cups of coconut milk and cook dinner on a low flame for 10-Quarter-hour (Make positive you stir continuously to keep away from the combination sticking to the pan)
  5. Fry the shallots until they’re golden brown and in addition fry the cashews and raisins for the garnish. Top the aleesa with this.
  6. Serve it with sugar or as a aspect with hen roast

About Ashwin RajagopalanI’m the proverbial slashie – a content material architect, author, speaker and cultural intelligence coach. School lunch bins are normally the start of our culinary discoveries.That curiosity hasn’t waned. It’s solely received stronger as I’ve explored culinary cultures, avenue meals and superb eating eating places internationally. I’ve found cultures and locations via culinary motifs. I’m equally captivated with writing on shopper tech and journey.

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