Easy Chicken Haleem
Easy Chicken Haleem is a thick stew with pureed grains, lentils, and chicken. It is a popular comfort food in the Indian sub-continent regions & Middle East.
Easy Chicken Haleem is brought to you in partnership with Farmer Direct.
I had haleem for the first time in Chicago at Sabri Nihari and have been hooked ever since. I made a version with couscous and chicken eons back but I am too embarrassed to link horrible/blurry pictures. So let's start over with Easy Chicken Haleem. Haleem actually reminds me of khichdi & Steel Cut Oats & Mung Bean Porridge except that everything is pureed into smooth, paste-like consistency.
I used to think food from South Asian sub-continents like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal taste just the same (after all we use same spices, lots of onion and garlic right?) but oh boy, I was so wrong. They use similar spices and ingredients but the cooking technique, the ratio of ingredients used, and the taste is distinctively different and simply delicious. Haleem is eaten mostly in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and certain regions of India as a comfort food throughout the year and also during Ramadan (holy month of fasting in Islam)
I am sure each region does their haleem differently; the recipe for Easy Chicken Haleem is adapted from the spice packet itself which is very similar to Pakistani style (but don't quote me on that because clearly I am not an expert when it comes to Pakistani food).
Easy Chicken Haleem as the name suggests is pretty simple to cook; it's almost an one pot recipe that requires 2 hours of cooking time (most of it is inactive time) Compared to most recipes, the ingredient list looks a little bit long as haleem requires different grains (I am using a combination of wheat berries & quick rolled oats from Farmer Direct) and lentils (from Farmer Direct) but I promise it is worth every spoon of it.
or the purpose of convenience, I went with the store-bought Haleem spice mix but My Ninja Naan has a spice mix you can try. Like most packaged spices, it is pretty high on the sodium side (7900 mg for the packet) but when you make a large batch to feed 6-8 servings, you are looking around 1000-1300 mg sodium per serving. So don’t fret too much and enjoy Easy Chicken Haleem that is actually full of fiber, protein, and other essential nutrients!
Easy Chicken Haleem requires a bit of planning. Grains and lentils needs to be soaked prior as it reduces cooking time significantly, removes the phytic acid, & makes it easier to digest grains and lentils. Depending upon how much time and how many cooking pots you have available, I have some notes below in the recipe section.
The spice mix can be easily purchased from the Indian/Pakistani grocery store; there are several other brands but I just picked this one. You can also find quick cook haleem mix with grains/lentils so don’t get confused with that (unless you want that).
Traditionally, haleem is made with wheat berries, barley and lentils (chana dal, urid dal, mung dal). I switched things up by replacing barley with quick rolled oats & different lentils (split mung beans, split green lentils & French lentils). The whole idea is to use different combination grains & lentils to create a thick consistency.
Can we talk about my favorite part of Easy Chicken Haleem? The toppings – crunchy fried onions, sliced, ginger, chili…chopped mint, cilantro, lemon wedges, chopped cilantro, and chaat masala if you like. Garnishes add another layer of texture and flavor so feel free to pick and choose what you like (for me it’s all about the crunchy fries onions).
Just a reminder on Farmer Direct - you can find their products such as oats, flax seeds, and hemp in the bulk bins (especially at Whole Foods). Buying in bulk has many benefits such as less material waste, reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, less food waste as you can buy what you want, and cheaper across the supply chain. It's a win-win situation for all. If you are interested to try Farmer Direct products, I am hosting a giveaway on my instagram for 3 winners (open to the US & Canada only).
Easy Chicken Haleem
Author: Dixya @Food, Pleasure, and Health
- 1/2 cup wheat berries (it is labeled as haleem wheat at the grocery store)
- 1/2 cup quick rolled oats
- 1/3 cup split mung beans
- 1/3 cup split green peas
- 1/3 cup French lentils
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1.5 lbs cubed chicken (skinless, boneless)
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon garlic paste
- 1 tablespoon ginger paste
- 1 packet haleem spice mix (50 grams)
- Garnish: sliced ginger, fried onions, sliced chili pepper, mint, cilantro, lemon wedges, chaat masala
- Rinse and soak wheat and lentils overnight or at least 8 hours.
- Heat a large stock pot with 10 cups of water and bring it to a boil.
- Drain water from wheat and lentils and add to the pot. Allow it to cook for 25-30 minutes until tender. Towards the very end, add oats.
- Remove from heat and blend/mashed everything together and keep it aside.
- Rinse the same pot or use a different pot to heat oil over medium heat.
- Fry onions until golden brown, which takes 10-12 minutes. Stir every few minutes.
- Add ginger, garlic, and chicken to the pot and let it cook for 8-10 minutes.
- Add the haleem spice mix and cook for additional 10 minutes.
- Add 5 cups of water and cook on low heat for about an hour. Chicken should be tender to touch.
- Remove from the heat.
- Use a hand mixer to mash the chicken and add grain/lentil mix to the pot. It should have a smooth, thick consistency.
- Cook them together for 10-15 minutes right before serving.
- Garnish heavily and enjoy it warm.
- if you have two pots and ninja cooking skills, you can cook lentils/grains in one and fry onions, chicken on another. It saves a little bit of time.
- if you are short on time, you can cook lentils/grains one day and do the onions/chicken part the next day.
- you can cook haleem ahead of time. It reheats really well and can also be frozen. I suggest freezing haleem in small portions in an air-tight container properly. Allow it to defrost before reheating it again.