How haleem became such a popular Ramadan meal

Hosted by

Writer Anusha Kulal says people will travel great distances to try different types of haleem, like the bowl served at the Hotel Peshawar. Photo by Ashis Nayak.

Haleem, a porridge made with soft wheat and goat, is eaten by Muslims in various forms throughout the world. 

In Hyderabad, the eighth largest city in India, haleem is beloved, especially during the holy month of Ramadan when it becomes a staple of the nightly iftar meal. During the holy month, the legendary Pista House restaurant makes approximately two tons of this dish each day. Writer Anusha Kulal explored the culinary significance of haleem for Eater. 

Traditionally, the dish involves pounding wheat for hours and hours as it cooks over an open flame. In 2010, Hyderabadi haleem became the first non-vegetarian dish in India to receive Geographical Indication status. The "official" recipe calls for a very specific ratio of meat to wheat, 10 parts meat to 4 parts wheat, which makes it calorically dense and perfect for someone who's fasting from sunrise to sunset.