Haleem - Mulani Family
"As part of the Willow House newsletter we are featuring recipes that are treasured by Willow House families. Food can play a huge role in remembering our loved ones and honoring their memory. This month, I had the pleasure of speaking with Asiya Mulani about the haleem recipe that her husband, Parvez, loved to enjoy on his birthday. Thank you Asiya for sharing your story and this traditional Indian dish with all of us."
- Marissa Rogina, Willow House Intern
What recipe did you/your family choose? (Marissa)
I chose my haleem recipe. (Asiya)
Why did you chose this particular recipe?
Parvez loved to eat. His favorite thing to eat was haleem. I had not made it in years, since it takes the whole day to make, but I decided to make it for his birthday, which was actually the last birthday of his we had together. Making haleem is very labor intensive. He said to me, “You know what? Every birthday I would like you to make it for me.” So I did. He did not ask for much and only asked me to make it once a year for his birthday. After he passed away, the kids and I decided to continue to make it every year on his birthday. I also used to make a marble cake for his birthday, since he did not really like frosting or any other cakes really.
What memories does this recipe bring back?
Haleem reminds me of his birthday since I would make it for his birthday. On his birthday he just wanted to stay in and be with us, me and the kids, and he loved my cooking. Daddy’s birthday was always the four of us at the house, that how we always did it. He was just a different kind of person, he was just so marvelous. He was the simplest person, he would throw huge amazing parties for me and the kids, but for his birthday he just wanted to stay in and spend time with us, the people he loved most. He lived for us.
Do you/your family continue to make this food? Are there any specific occasions?
My kids wanted to make the marble cake for his birthday this year but I told them that I told Daddy that I would make haleem for him too. It was actually helpful to make it on his birthday, which was the first birthday we had without him. I was very scared how the kids were going to react but when we started cooking they were so involved. It has helped all of us. We even put on his favorite music that he would listen to and we were joking that he would keep reminding us to stir and to stir. It was a happy memory, with the three of us in the kitchen. The kids did not cry when we were cooking, only when it was time to cut the cake. My son even tried the haleem. It was very spicy, but he ate it! Cooking it helped us through the day and it took so long that we did not have time to be sad. It helped us; we felt like he was there and we were doing it for him. Daddy’s birthday was always the four of us at the house, that’s how we always did it.
400 g meat, 4 boneless portions
1 medium sized onion, sliced
1-2 cup(s) oil or ghee
Shan Shahi Haleem Mix (contains 1 sachet of Shan Masala and one sachet of pulses and grain mix)
Heat half a cup of ghee/coil, add meat, and the Shan Shahi Haleem Mix. Stir fry for a few minutes. Add pulses and grain mix. Add 12 cups of water. Cover and cook on low heat until meat is completely tender (about 4-6 hours). Stir occasionally. Remove bones and discard. Blend mixture to a coarse paste with a wooden spoon or crease grind half the quantity in a blender. Do not grind to fine paste. Add 1-2 cups of water if desired. Cook on low heat for 20-30 minutes. Heat remaining ghee/oil and fry the sliced onions until golden. Pour into the haleem. Cover and cook on low heat for 20-30 minutes. Garnish with Shan Chaat Masala, fried onions, finely chopped ginger, green chiles, green coriander, and lemon juice.
"I was very scared how the kids were going to react but when we started cooking they were so involved. It has helped all of us."