Since my daughter has been back to
school germ factory for three weeks now, the entire family has managed to catch a cold. My cooking game is weak — not only do I prefer making grilled cheese for the kids and flopping on the couch to whipping up a decent dinner, when I actually do attempt to cook I can’t smell anything and everything tastes weird. I’ve made stuff but everything is just meh. I’m like the dad in Eat Drink Man Woman (without all the crazy skill to start with).
In addition to our light sickness blues, my mother-in-law who had been visiting for the last four months left yesterday to go back to Pakistan. We’re all sad. She is sweet and funny, and we loved having her around and now the house feels a little empty.
She did leave us with an enormous multi-pot batch of haleem, the deliciously lacy and muddy mashed up dish of wheat and beef and lentils. The night before she left she had Shan and I standing over the stove furiously stirring our respective sputtering pots, and now we have a fridge and freezer full to remember her by – and should my cooking mojo return, I have the basic recipe from the Dalda cookbook (Pakistan’s go-to) so I can make it again and remember this summer.
From the Dalda Cookbook
- 1 ½ cup cooking oil or ghee
- 3 lbs of stew beef
- 1 tbsp garlic paste
- 1 tbsp ginger paste
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 2 tbsp red chilli
- 1 ½ tbsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp turmeric
- salt to taste
- 1 lb of haleem wheat (which I think is the same as bulgar), crushed and soaked in water for at least an hour, or overnight
- pinch of baking soda
- 1 cup of chana dal, soaked and boiled
- 3 medium onions, thinly sliced
- limes, cilantro, sliced ginger, chopped green chilis and chaat masala for garnish
Heat oil or ghee on medium heat. Add meat, garlic, ginger, garam masala, red chilli, ground coriander, turmeric, and salt. When the meat is brown, add water and cook on medium heat until very tender (almost falling apart), stirring and adding more water if necessary.
In a separate pot boil wheat grains with lots of salted water. When the grains become tender and mushy add a pinch of baking soda and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes.
Add wheat to the meat and mix well, stirring continuously (we did this for 15 min or so). Grind the lentils in a food processor, adding about 2 cups of water to make a thick paste.
Add the lentil paste into the meat and wheat mixture and stir to mix well (this makes a lot so you will probably need more than one pot – mix as well as you can). Cook on low heat and for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring often. End result should be very thick, and when a spoon is pulled out you can see little strands.
Fry the sliced onion in clarified butter until very brown, remove to a paper towel.
Serve haleem with fried onions, limes, cilantro, sliced ginger, and chaat masala.
Ami actually added rice, and also made an onion and chili tarka for this, so I’ll may edit this when I eventually make it. But that’s the basic recipe!