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Spicy Tangents

Hearty and wholesome halim

While the mind effortlessly conjures up images of huge cauldrons placed on low simmer on crude brick kilns, the aroma that emanates tantalizes the nose. Close your eyes and you can sight people queuing beside the sizzling furnace and either relishing the thick brown paste or holding out their bowls for an extra ladle.

Halim has always remained a hot favourite of many, so much so that it is a staple iftar dish in many a households.

This traditional wheat porridge has its roots in the Arabia. Even today, sweet and salted halim variants are served for breakfast in the homes of the Arabs, living in the Barkas region.

Halim is made of wheat, meat (usually beef or mutton, but sometimes chicken or minced meat), lentils and spices. This dish is slow cooked for seven to eight hours, which results in a paste like consistency, with the taste of spices and meat blending with wheat.

A quick and easy way to make halim at home is using the halim mixtures, available in the supermarkets.

The authentic halim makers, specialised in halim, like Mama Halim in Kalabagan, have been well loved for ages. The popularity and the subsequent demand of halim have impelled many restaurants, and even individuals in many areas, to make the dish on a commercial basis during Ramadan.

For now, the entire city, old or young, rich or poor, waits for the halim season; the growing lovers of the dish have already roped in to savour each spoonful of the peppery, meaty fare. The dish has evolved as a `must-have' delicacy during the month of Ramadan.

1½ kg mutton\beef
½ kg wheat grains, crushed and soaked in water for 1½ hours
1 cup gram lentils, soaked and boiled
3 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp garlic paste
1 tbsp ginger paste
1 tsp garam masala powder
2 tbsp red chilli powder
1½ tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
salt, to taste
a pinch of soda
1½ cups dalda banaspati or any clarified butter (ghee)
Ingredients for seasoning garnish:
1 bunch of fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
1 bunch of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
green chilli, finely chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds, roasted and ground
1 tsp garam masala powder
2 medium size pieces of ginger root
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 lemons, cut in quarters
2 cups of any clarified butter (ghee)

Heat clarified butter in a pan. Put meat in the pan, add garlic, garam masala powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, and salt. Cook on medium heat.
In a separate pan boil wheat grains with lots of water, add salt. When the grains become tender and mushy add a pinch of soda and cook further for 15 to 20 minutes.
Now mix the wheat grains with the meat and mix well. Stir continuously so that both are mixed properly. Now grind the lentils in a food processor. Make it into a thick paste by adding 2 cups of water while processing it.
Pour the lentil paste into the meat and wheat mixture and stir to mix well. Place the pan on a heavy tava or griddle on low heat and cook for 30 to 40 minutes.
Fry the sliced onion in clarified butter and drain on absorbent paper towel. When the halim is cooked, sprinkle fried onions, garam masala powder, fresh mint, and coriander leaves. Garnish with cumin and ginger. Keep a little of the seasoning separate and serve with halim.
Serve hot with fried onions, garam masala powder, fresh mint, and coriander leaves.

By Zion Ara Hamid
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed

On The Cover

The classic look of the 40s is as fashionable today as it was almost half a century ago. Fused with latest trends, this can be the suave look this festive season.
Hair, Make-up and styling: Farzana Shakil Make-over Salon
Model: Trina
Photo Courtesy: Farzana Shakil


The cover photograph of Star Lifestyle, Volume 8, Issue 14 featured on Tuesday September 2, 2008 showcased an ensemble by Shahrukh Amin of Almira, which went unstated in our line of credit. We regret the oversight and any inconvenience that resulted.
Check out Almira for their exclusive embroidered saris.

Model: Trina and Sonya
Photo: Abu Naser
Hair, make-up and styling: Farzana Shakil's Hair and Makeover Salon
Wardrobe: Almira



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