I have enjoyed seeing the Instant Pot trials of Haleem across Instagram this Ramadaan. There are varying ways to prepare this, and the end goal is to prepare what is considered a laborious meal in minimal time.
Here are some findings from my tests:
In most cases, lentils need to be soaked when preparing Haleem or any dish with lentils.. I know from experience that an Instant Pot doesn’t require lentils being soaked. I washed the lentils 4 times until the water ran clear and left it to soak while I prepared the rest of the ingredients. This cuts down on 2 hours of prep time.
This dish traditionally takes 2h45m to 3 hours to cook. With multiple tests using Chicken, the cooking time has been brought down to 1hr50m.
Recipe: There are 4 essential steps to this recipe.
Time-saver tip: Use ready-mixed dry lentils labeled as ‘soup mix’ from any Indian grocer. This comes in a 1kg pack that has all the necessary lentils in it. I would suggest using 1 cup from this quantity for 1kg of chicken.
If you don’t have access to these packs, here are my suggested lentils and quantities:
- ½ cup barley
- ¼ cup green dhal
- ½ cup Chana dhal
- ½ cup pea dhal
- ¼ cup pink lentils
This combination needs to be washed until the water runs clear. It is recommended to soak it overnight but it cooks in half the time using your Instant Pot.
Add the washed lentils and wheat and 7 cups of water. Set the Instant Pot to Pressure Cook and push the button again to change to More – this increases the time to 35 mins.
Tip: Instant Pot recommends adding 1 tsp of olive oil to this mixture to stop any foaming / frothing when you release the pressure.
Allow a 5 min NPR and then quick release remaining pressure.
Empty into a bowl and once cool enough to handle, blitz to a smooth consistency. Be careful not to burn while blitzing the lentils. The extra water helps prevent the burn notice and keeps the lentils thick but not pasty.
Haleem is made up of the soup part and the meat. The meat needs to be cooked with spices to create the flavour and add the necessary bulkier protein to this soup.
For this we return to the Instant Pot using the Sauté and Pressure Cook function.
Switch the Sauté function and set to 20 mins, add:
- ½ cup of ghee
- 1 grated onion
- 2 to 3 whole cardamom pods
- 1 to 3 whole cloves
- 1 Bay leaf
- 1 small 2cm cinnamon stick
- 1 dried red chilli
- 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
- 2 sprigs of curry leaf
Allow this to brown until the 8 minute mark.
1kg chicken (I usually request my butcher to cut it to curry sized pieces which are smaller. Use all parts of the chicken even the boney meat as this has the most flavour)
Add the following spices.
- 1 tsp ground garlic
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cumin powder
- 1 tsp ground coriander powder
- 1 tbsp salt
- Half a tsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp Red masala (combination of ground red chilli, garlic and ginger)
- 2 small grated tomato
Allow the onion to cook until slightly browned.
Add the grated tomato and Sauté until the cycle is done.
Add 2 cups of water to deglaze and scrape down the inner pot and sides very well to make sure nothing is sticking. Set to Pressure Cook for 20 mins.
The idea is to pressure cook the meat so that it falls off the bone.
Once complete, allow a 15 mins natural release and then quick release the remaining pressure. Discard all of the bone leaving behind the shredded meat.
Add the pulsed lentil mixture to the cooked chicken.
Add 3 cups of water
Add 1/2 cups of Oats
Stir well and ensure nothing is sticking at the bottom of the inner pot.
Set to Pressure Cook and adjust Pressure Level to LOW, set time for 10 minutes.
This will help combine the lentils and meat and to cook the Oats, creating the soup.
When the time is up, allow it to stand for 5 mins and then quick release the pressure. The end result will be a lovely thick soup.