This recipe for haleem with beef and lentils, is the ultimate slow-cooked wonder. 






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (402 votes)

It's full of gentle spices and warm comfort, and a Pakistani favourite. Haleem gets its lovely sticky consistency from constant stirring, so give yourself up to the hypnotic cooking and enjoy the aromas as you do.


  • ½ cup each chana dal, urid dal, mung dal and barley 
  • ½ cup wheat berries
  • 1 kg beef or lamb on the bone, meat cut into chunks 
  • 2 tbsp crushed garlic 
  • 2 tbsp grated ginger 
  • 2½ litres water 
  • 2 tbsp clarified butter (ghee) 
  • 1 pinch saffron colour (optional) 
  • ¼ tsp ground fenugreek 
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander 
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin 
  • 1 tbsp chaat masala spice mix 
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder 
  • 1 tsp turmeric 
  • salt 
  • 125 ml (½ cup) vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, sliced 
  • 1 tbsp garam masala 

To serve

  • chaat masala spice mix 
  • finely sliced green chilli 
  • julienned ginger 
  • coriander leaves 
  • sliced lemon
  • roti, naan or chapattis

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Soaking time overnight

You will need to begin this recipe 1 day ahead.

Soak the dal and barley together overnight. Partly crush the wheat berries in a mortar and pestle and soak for 1½ hours.

Drain the lentils and grains, place in a large heavy-based saucepan with meat and bones, garlic, ginger and water and bring to the boil. Simmer for around 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Remove the bones and continue to cook for about 1 hour or until the meat starts to fall apart.

Add the ghee, saffron colour, fenugreek, coriander, cumin, chaat masala, chilli powder, turmeric and salt and cook for another 1 hour, stirring regularly to help the ingredients break down and blend into each other. The stew will start to look very thick and sticky.

Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan and fry the onion until brown and caramelised. Add the onion (reserving ¼ cup) and garam masala to the stew. Cook for a further 15 minutes.
Scoop onto plates and garnish with the remaining fried onions, chaat masala, chilli, ginger, coriander and lemon. Serve with roti, naan or chapattis.


Photography by Benito Martin. Styling by Lynsey Fryers. Food preparation by Alice Storey and Georgina Larby. Creative concept by Belinda So.

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