Pakistan – Desi Murgh Haleem

by Dahiza Umar


Haleem is a very popular dish not even in one country but in the Middle East, Central Asia, etc. This dish is assumed to be a part of Royal cuisine. This dish has many ingredients especially legumes and pulses. This dish is cooked mainly by pulses. Different pulses used in Pakistan are mixed together with any meat curry then mixed well into a thick paste-like texture to serve. In this dish meat of any sort can be used but only present in the shredded form. In Haleem, meat is mixed into the pulses paste to give a very good taste and thickness to the dish, also a protein element. Different legumes have different cooking methods and timing. So every legume is set to cook differently and then mixed. This mixture of legumes and pulses gives a very amazing taste. These pulses are cooked separately, meat curry cooked separately, mix all elements together.

In different areas, meat stock is prepared by adding bones with meat flash. This stock gives the richness of flavors and very umami texture and flavor to the dish. There are some special events in which haleem is a must to cook. Like in Pakistan, haleem is a dish cooked at special events like Eid, Ramzan dinners, Shabrat, etc.

Haleem took a very long time to cook, because we need to cook every element separately and then mixing. Whenever Haleem is cooking in my kitchen, almost all utensils are used in making different elements. Then a lot of spices are added in cooking haleem. There is some special spice mix used separately to cook the only haleem. The aroma of haleem is that’s way different from other curries. Because it has the addition of special spice mix.

Haleem is popular in different regions and states are given below :

  • Middle East
  • Central Asia
  • South Asia
  • Indian Sub-continent

It is said that haleem’s different varieties are cooked in different countries according to their cooking method with some variations:

  • KESKEK : It is popular in Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, etc.
  • HAREESA : It is popular in Arabs, like dubai, UAE, Iraq, etc.
  • DALIM : It is cooked in India, Bangladesh, etc.


  • Chicken Haleem
  • Lamb haleem
  • Degi haleem
  • Khichra
  • Haressa
  • Daal haleem
  • Hyderabadi haleem
  • Beef haleem
  • Daleem


This dish is from the cuisine of Punjab. As a Pakistani, this dish is originated from Punjab cuisine but it is popular throughout Pakistan and cooked like a daily food. Whenever it comes to the Punjab region of Pakistan, it is said that the dishes from Punjab have different aromas and tastes. In Punjab, food is usually cooked in clay pots and this is the thing that makes the Punjabi food different touch and flavor. This cooking procedure in which clay pot or earthen pot is used gives an amazing aroma to the dish with very good taste.

Moreover, there is also an impact of fresh food and spices added to their food. Like when haleem is cooked, this dish has a different aroma from other curries by addition of some spices, and those spices when freshly cultivated and add to this dish give it a kick of aroma and very delicious taste.

Some dry spices are used so they are freshly cut, washed, dried, and then used in the dishes. This is a very unique way to cook dishes in Punjab. First, using clay pots and other is using fresh spices and vegetables.


When we are talking about the food of Pakistan, street food is very popular. Everything that is served in the restaurant is also served in street food at hawkers at low prices. There are many hawkers, having a large pot filled with haleem and they used to sell it in different bags with Naan (bread) and other condiments to add on.

Naan Hallem is a dish that is very popular among hawkers. They used to stay all day at the roadside area where they sell the haleem with naan. This is the lunch or dinner of many rickshaw drivers and other many people. There are many different shops famous for delicious haleem and naan.


Haleem is famous for these condiments that are served with haleem. Without these servings, haleem is incomplete. This increases the taste and presentation of haleem.


Haleem is served by adding fried onions over the top of the serving.


This is optional to add ginger over the top because some people don’t like to add raw ginger to their plates.


This is also a very colorful addition to the yellow haleem. Green on yellow looks very nice. Some people use to add green chilies to their food and some like to stay on mild flavors.


Cilantro and mint leaves are a must to add on the top one for garnishing and the other for good flavor.


Lemon is added so we can make our haleem tangy and sour flavor for more deliciousness.


There are different sauces and salads served with this dish as the full platter and whole meal.


  • Green chutney
  • Mint sauce
  • Green chili sauce
  • Tomato Raita


  • Onion rings
  • Cucumber slices
  • Mixed vegetable salad
  • Tomatoes and onions


Different breads are served with haleem like :

  • Sada naan
  • Khameeri roti
  • Khameeri naan
  • Kulcha
  • Butter naan
  • Roti
  • Roghani naan


Haleem is originated in the Indian subcontinent from the dish popular in Arabs, HAREESA. This dish is similar to haleem but different in cooking method and some ingredients. Hareesa was introduced to the Indian subcontinent by Arab soldiers and from that time, this dish was cooked and loved by people of that time. After the separation of India, Pakistan, this dish was added to the national cuisines and is now popular worldwide.

In the 10th century, a book named ‘‘kings and caliphs and lords and leaders” written by  Abu Muhammad al-Muzaffar ibn Sayyar has the recipe of this dish.


There are many different types of haleem served in Pakistan and also outside Pakistan with different names and elements.


Keskek is a dish of Turkish cuisine that has the same ingredients but the final result of this dish is different from Haleem. It has the addition of the same ingredients like meat, barley, lentils, etc. This is popular in other countries like:

  • Turkish cuisine
  • Iranian Cuisine
  • Greek cuisine


Harees are also known as BOKO BOKO, JAREESH, HAREESA, HARIS, etc. It is cooked with wheat, porridge, meat and has less addition of any spices. It is saltier and less spicy. It is served by adding butter and some green cilantro leaves.

In Arabic, Harees means MIXED OR MASHED. This dish is also like a mashed mixture of wheat and meat together.


  • Preparation time : 20 minutes
  • Cooking time : 60 minutes
  • Total time : 1 hour and 20 minutes


  • Calories : 300
  • Protein : 19 grams
  • Carbohydrates : 40 grams
  • Fats : 19 grams


lentils :

  • Split chicken pea lentils : 1 cup
  • Skinned black grams splits : 1/2 cup
  • Red lentils: 1/2 cup
  • Porridge/ oats : 2 cups
  • Rice : 1.2 cup
  • Yellow lentils : 1/2 cup

Chicken curry :

  • Onions : 2
  • Chicken boneless : 750 gram
  • Tomatoes : 2
  • Garlic paste : 2 tablespoons
  • Ginger paste : 2 tablespoons
  • Green chili paste : 2 tablespoons
  • Red chilies : 1 teaspoon
  • Salt : 1 teaspoon
  • Turmeric powder : 1 teaspoon
  • nutmeg powder : 1/2 teaspoon
  • Cinnamon powder : 1 teaspoon
  • Cumin powder 1 tablespoon
  • Coriander powder : 1 tablespoons
  • Yogurt : 250 grams


  • For lentils and porridge, we need to boil them until all are tendered and easily mashed.
  • Take 2 glass of water and add porridge in it amd add salt with turmeric powder to boil it.
  • No take all other lentils in a cooking pot with 4 glass of water and salt, let them cook until all the lentils are tendered completely.
  • On other side lets start the preparation for chicken curry.
  • Take onions and add oil in pot and let them fry for 10 minutes so the onions are brown in colour.
  • Add chicken and garlic ginger paste and fry for 10 more minutes.
  • Now add 2 glass of water with all the spices and let the chicken cook for 30 minutes.
  • We need to cook chicken until it shred into thin chunks and mashed completely into curry prepared.
  • Now add yogurt into the curry mixed with shredded chicken pieces.
  • When all the lentils are cooked, let them cool and mashed into thick paste in mixer or blender.
  • We need to mash the lentils properly like a paste.
  • Now mashed curry and mashed lentils are mixed together into one cooking pot.
  • Now this is the mixture ready to cooked together.
  • Let the flame on medium scale and cover the lid to cook haleem for more 20 minutes so chicken and lentils are mixed properly.
  • Now haleem is ready to serve.


  • Mint leaves : few
  • Cilantro leaves : few
  • Green chilies : 2 chopped
  • Julienne cut ginger : 4 tablespoons
  • Fried onions : 1/2 cup
  • Lemon slices : 4
  • Take a bowl add haleem into and and garnish it with condiments listed above.
  • Serve!
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