Letter H stands for Hyderabad, the capital city of Andhra Pradesh. Hyderabadi cuisine is not only famous for its rich and spicy Biryanis and curries but also for equally rich and decadent desserts. Hyderabad’s cuisine is an amalgamation of Mughlai, Turkish and Arabic along with the influence of local Telugu and Marathwada cuisines.
Utmost care is taken in choosing the spices and other ingredients for the dishes. Therefore the addition of a certain herb, spice, condiment or a combination of all these add a distinct flavor and aroma. The key ingredients are coconut, tamarind, peanuts and sesame seeds which are used extensively in main dishes.
Even though I grew up in Hyderabad, I have no knowledge of the actual ‘Hyderabadi’ dishes. We were never big on eating out and there were only handful of Hyderabadi dishes that my mom would make for us like Bagara Baingan and Mirchi ka salan.
As I was thinking of what to make for the letter H, the first dish that came to my mind is Hyderabadi Biryani. But I wanted to make something different and further research led me to this Vegetarian Haleem recipe on VahreVah Chef.
I don’t know why I always thought Haleem is a type of meat, I guess I got mixed up with Halaal and Haleem. Thanks to food blogging, I’ve learnt that Haleem is like a porridge made with broken wheat, barley, meat and lentils. Skip the meat and this is a completely vegetarian dish that is very filling and tastes great.
Typically haleem is a slow cooked dish that requires broken wheat and lentils to be soaked overnight and then cooked until tender and then ground to a smooth consistency. This recipe uses ground broken wheat and oats and the dish is pressure cooked making it perfect for a weeknight meal, especially on a cold winter night. I added some mixed veggies to make it a complete meal.
I modified the original recipe a little bit based on my pantry ingredients. Please check out the original recipe here to get the complete ingredient list.
¼cupSoy waterGranules - soaked in hot for 10 minutes
2Onions- medium, thinly sliced (I used a white and a red onion)
½cupMixed Vegetables (I used frozen mixed veggies with carrot, peas, green beans & lima beans)
2 - 3chiliesGreen - slit
Lime Lemons/ - for garnish
Grind the ingredients Broken wheat to Jeera from the list (a total of 12 ingredients) into a coarse powder. This comes up to about 1 cup of powder.
In a saute pan, heat 2tbsp oil and fry the chopped onions on medium flame until lightly browned around the edges and caramelized, about 15-20 minutes. Set aside until ready to use.
In a pressure cooker, heat 2tbsp oil or ghee, add the chopped nuts and fry until golden. Next add the slit green chilies and cook for 1 minute.
Add almost all of the caramelized onions, reserving some for garnish, mix well and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Next stir in mixed vegetables and cook for 2 minutes.
Drain and squeeze out the water from soy granules. Add this to the pressure cooker, mix well and cook for 1 minute.
Add the milk and scrape the bottom to pick up all the stuck bits. Simmer for 1-2 minutes.
Add 3 cups of water, chopped herbs, salt and the powder. Mix well to make sure that there are no lumps. Bring this mixture to a soft boil.
Cover the pressure cooker and cook on medium-low flame for 15 minutes until everything is cooked through. Once the pressure dissipates, open the lid and mash the mixture to get the silky smooth texture. I like mine a little chunky, so skipped this step, but traditionally haleem is served smooth, so choice is yours.
Serve hot garnished with chopped herbs, lime/lemon wedges and sauteed nuts on top.