Haleem (also referred to as daleem, Halim, and many others.) is a Pakistani, Indian and/or Hyderabadi stew made with numerous grains, lentils, and meat. Haleem is nourishing, wealthy in vitamins, healthy, comforting, chatpati (hot/bitter/highly spiced/tangy)

Historically, each component is cooked separately, then blended together and sluggish-cooked to obtain the thick and luscious texture. The ensuing interwoven or ‘laced’ consistency is Haleem’s distinguishing feature. Like nihari, Haleem is a celebratory, stand-alone dish that’s often served on unique occasions.


Lentils and Rice

  • 1/4 cup chana dal, yellow split peas
  • 1/4 cup mash dal, split urad lentils
  • 2 tbsp masoor dal, red lentils
  • 2 tbsp split moong dal, yellow lentils
  • 2 tbsp basmati rice

Whole Spices

  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1-2 black cardamom
  • 2-3 inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2-3 green cardamom pods, leave whole or remove seeds and grind into a powder using a mortar and pestle
  • 4-5 cloves leave whole or grind into a powder using a mortar and pestle

For the Instant Pot

  • 2 (~300 g) small onions or 1 large, cut into eights
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 inch piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup neutral oil such as grapeseed or canola
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1 lb beef stew meat, cut into 1 – 1 ½ inch cubes
  • 2 medium tomatoes, quartered
  • 1-2 green chili peppers, stems removed
  • 1 tbsp haleem masala powder, homemade (see post for recipe) or store-bought
  • 1-2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 1/4 tsp salt or to taste, use at least 2 ½ tsp per pound of meat if using homemade haleem masala
  • 2 tbsp whole milk yogurt
  • 3 cups water

After cooking

  • ¼ cup rolled oats, or sub instant oats
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp garam masala


  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 inch ginger, julienned
  • 1-2 green chili peppers, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon or lime, cut into wedges
  • chaat masala or garam masala – optional
  • mint leaves – optional


  • In a medium bowl, combine the lentils and rice and rinse a few times. Fill the bowl with warm water and allow to soak. Set aside.
  • Place the onion, garlic, and ginger in a food processor and pulse to chop finely (but not blend).
  • Turn Instant Pot on Sauté mode and set to More. Once hot, add oil, ghee, and chopped onion mixture. Sauté for about 8-10 minutes, until the onions are lightly golden. While the onions are sautéing, add all the spices listed under Whole Spices.
  • Add the meat and sauté until the color of the meat changes (~5 minutes). Meanwhile, pulse to chop the tomatoes and green chilies in the food processor. Set aside.
  • Add the spices (Haleem masala, red chili flakes, and turmeric) and salt and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the yogurt and chopped tomato mixture along with 3 cups of water.
  • Drain the soaked lentils and rice and add it to the Instant Pot. Mix to combine. Cancel Sauté. Cover the Instant Pot and set the valve to Sealing. Select the Meat/Stew Setting to set the pressure time to 45 minutes.
  • Allow the pressure to naturally release for at least 5 minutes, and then manually release the remaining pressure. Open the pot, and use a slotted spoon and tong to remove the beef pieces and add them to the food processor. Discard any large whole spices (the bay leaves, cinnamon stick, etc.) as they come up. Pulse to process the beef until it is just shredded and stringy but not smooths (7-8 pulses).
  • Use an immersion blender to blend the dal until smooth. (You can also blend in the food processor after shredding the beef.) Turn the Instant Pot on to Sauté mode and set to Less.
  • Add the shredded beef and rolled oats and stir. Sauté for 3-5 minutes to cook this mixture down. Once the Haleem starts bubbling, cancel sauté and cover with a lid. Select Slow Cook and set to More. Add 1/2-1 cup water if the Haleem thickens. Allow to cook, stirring occasionally, for an additional 20-30 minutes, or until a ‘laced’ consistency is achieved.

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