Halim, also known as Haleem, is a meat and lentil stew/soup that is popular in the Middle East and India. Halim is a warming street cuisine in Mauritius, served as a thick soup.
Halim merchants used to offer the soup in colorful plastic bowls with a Chinese soup spoon (strange, but tradition!) when we were kids. Its allure is undeniable; the burst of flavors and melt-in-your-mouth slow-cooked meat make it impossible to resist.
The Halim in Mauritius is considerably different from the Halim in India. Ours is thinner, with simple black lentils and cracked wheat instead of numerous grains. The Halim is more like a soup than porridge, and because of our French history, Halim is best served with a french baguette! This is one of the most loved street food in Mauritius.
Prep Time: 25 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins
Total Time: 60 mins
Ingredients for Halim (Haleem):
- 2 tbsp olive oil (or vegetable oil)
- 1 medium onion
- 250 g lamb mince
- ½ cup brown lentils (or other lentils)
- ½ cup split yellow peas, soaked overnight (or another dhal)
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1-inch ginger
- 4 tbsp mint leaves, chopped (¼ cup)
- 4 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped (¼ cup)
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp chili flakes (optional)
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- ½ cinnamon stick
- 4 cloves
- 3 cardamom pods
Preparation of Halim (Haleem):
- Slice the onion very thinly. Add the olive oil to a big nonstick saucepan over medium heat, followed by the onions after the oil has heated up.
- Allow 7 to 10 minutes for the onion to turn golden brown and crispy. Half of the onions should be removed and saved for topping.
- Add the entire spices, chopped garlic, and ginger (or garlic ginger paste) to the remaining onions and stir for a minute or two, until aromatic.
- The onions and spices should be pushed to one side of the pan. Allow the mince to brown slightly on the exterior by splitting it up into little pieces.
- Cover with 4 cups of water and add the lentils, soaked dhal, salt, mint, and chili (if using). Cook until the lentils and dhal are softened, covered (around 20-30 minutes).
- Remove the haleem from the heat and stir in half of the coriander. Last but not least, remove the entire spices (they tend to float at the surface).
Serve the halim with crusty bread, lemon slices, and the saved fried onions and chopped coriander on the side.