Saturday, August 26, 2023

Haleem's Evolution in Hyderabad

Haleem, a renowned culinary delight from Central Asia, manifests as a savory meat stew that garners special acclaim in Hyderabad, particularly during the month of Ramadan. Its origins can be traced back to the beloved Arabian dish known as Harees. The earliest recorded recipe for Harees dates back to the 10th century and is found in a cookbook compiled by the Arab scribe Abu Muhammad al-Muzaffar ibn Sayyar. This compilation featured dishes esteemed by prominent individuals in Baghdad, including kings, caliphs, lords, and leaders.

With the expansion of the Arab empire into diverse territories, Harees made its way to various corners of the world. The introduction of Harees to the Indian subcontinent was facilitated by Arab soldiers from the Hyderabad Nizam's army, who introduced it to the city.

It's believed that Arab traders also introduced this dish to India as "harees" during the 17th century, within the reign of the sixth Nizam, Mahbub Ali Khan. However, its true integration into Hyderabadi cuisine occurred during the rule of the seventh Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan.

During that historical epoch, rulers introduced haleem, which had its origins in the Gulf countries and Iran. In these regions, the dish exhibited less spiciness and a mild sweetness due to the restrained use of spices. Gradually, it underwent evolution, becoming an indispensable element of Hyderabadi cuisine. Over time, the dish underwent an Indian metamorphosis through the addition of indigenous spices, dried fruits, clarified butter (known as "desi ghee"), and a distinctive cooking approach.

This enhanced rendition, enriched with a fusion of local spices and ingredients, deviated from the original Arabian dish and embraced the name "Haleem."
Haleem's Evolution in Hyderabad