The beginning of Ramadan marks the beginning of a fasting month for Muslims to move away from worldly distractions and to instead focus on prayer and patience. During these 30 days, every healthy adult abstains from eating or drinking from the moment the sun rises until the sun sets. The meal eaten before sunrise, suhoor, is comprised of nutritious foods such as fresh fruit, filling breads, and fiber-rich vegetables to keep the person energized throughout the day. Iftar is the evening meal that breaks the fast; nourishing entrees and decadent desserts are commonly served.

Haleem is one of the most popular dishes to serve at iftar. It’s delicious and satiates hunger after fasting all day without being too heavy on the stomach so other dishes can be enjoyed. This hearty porridge-like stew is made of tender slow-cooked meat, cracked wheat, lentils, and cooked with ginger-garlic paste and fragrant spices.


  • 1 lb. boneless beef
  • 1/4 cup black lentils
  • 1/4 cup pink lentils
  • 1/4 cup green lentils
  • 1/2 cup gram lentils
  • 1/2 cup bulgur wheat
  • 2 tsp. turmeric powder, divided
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 tsp. ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 tsp. whole spices
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 8 green chilies, chopped
  • 2 tsp. red chili powder
  • 2 tsp. coriander powder
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Add the bulgur wheat to a bowl with water and soak overnight.
  2. Soak all of the lentils in a separate bowl of water for 2-3 hours before cooking.
  3. Drain the soaked lentils and add to a large pan with 6 cups of water and 1 tsp. of turmeric powder. Boil together until the lentils are tender and mushy.
  4. In a separate small pan, boil the bulgur wheat with 2 cups of water and 1/4 tsp. of turmeric powder until soft and mushy.
  5. Heat the oil in a large deep pan over medium heat. Add in the onions and fry until golden brown.
  6. Add in the ginger-garlic paste and whole spices. Sauté for about 3 minutes then add the meat.
  7. Once the meat starts browning, add in the tomatoes, green chilies, chili powder, remaining turmeric powder, and coriander powder. Season to taste with salt. Cook together until the tomatoes blister and soften.
  8. Pour in just enough water to cover the meat and let cook until the meat is tender. Shred the beef by mashing it down with the back of a large spoon.
  9. Add the lentils and bulgur wheat into the pan with meat and mix well. Let cool slightly.
  10. Transfer the mixture into a food processor and blend well together.
  11. Pour the mixture back into the pan and cook over low heat for an additional 10-15 minutes or until it has thickened.
  12. Garnish with crispy fried onions, chopped green chilies, julienned ginger, and a lemon wedge before serving.

*Original recipe from The Recipes PK.

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