Haleem is a traditional Pakistani slow-cooked stew made of beef, lentils, and oats. This slow-cooker recipe makes it easy to enjoy this wholesome comfort food that's loved all over the world. This recipe is easy-to-follow and gives the most authentic results. Naturally gluten-free!
Combine all the lentils and rice in a medium-sized bowl and fill with warm water. Use your hand to gently swirl the grains around until the water becomes murky. Tip the bowl to take out the excess water and repeat until the water runs clear. Let these soak in water for an hour and then strain.
In a large pot, add the strained lentils and 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then remove the foam and lower the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 1 hour. Make sure the chana dal (yellow split peas) has completely cooked, as it takes the longest. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Strain using a colander.
Heat oil and ghee in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the whole spices and onions and sauté until lightly golden, about 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for about a minute until the raw smell disappears and the onions have deepened in golden color. Add the meat and continue to sauté until the color of the meat changes.
Add the rest of the ingredients listed under meat (from the tomatoes to the haleem masala powder) and mix well. Add 4 cups of water and raise the heat to bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium, cover and simmer until the meat is cooked, about 1 1/2 hours in a regular pot. Keep checking this periodically to ensure the meat doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. Add more water, if necessary.
Once the meat is tender, place a large bowl under a strainer and strain so that the meat and stock separate. Use a fork to remove the beef pieces and set them aside. If you're using bone-in meat, separate the meat from bone and discard the bones.
Discard any large whole spices (the bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon stick, and cardamoms) from the strainer and add the rest of leftover onion/tomato masala to the beef. (It’s okay if some whole spices remain in there. You'll notice them later in the process.) Reserve the stock water (it will be about 2 cups. If not, add water to make it 2 cups).
Line your slow cooker with a slow cooker liner (optional). In a food processor, blend the lentils and grains until smooth. Transfer this mixture to the slow cooker. In the same food processor, use the pulse function to chop the meat so that it is shredded but not completely smooth and mushy like the lentils and rice. You want the chunks gone but you want to maintain the shredded texture (or strands of the meat) as much as possible.
Transfer this beef mixture to the slow cooker. Then add the oatmeal and 2 cups of the stock and mix well. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours. Then remove it from the heat and allow to cool until you can refrigerate it. Refrigerate overnight.
The next day, cover and cook on low again for 5-6 hours (add a bit of water if you'd like a thinner haleem). Open the lid, turn the heat setting to high, and taste to adjust seasoning. Stir in the freshly cracked black pepper and garam masala, if using. Allow the haleem to cook, stirring occasionally, with the lid open for about 30 minutes or until the desired texture is achieved.
Place the haleem in your serving bowl. I've found the temperature of the haleem isn't too hot in the slow cooker so you can also transfer it to a regular pan and raise the heat if you'd like.
Heat oil and ghee a little over medium heat. Add the onions and saute, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. You'll have to stir more cautiously toward the end because you want them the deep brown color but not burnt.
Pour the tadka over the haleem and mix. Garnish as desired with the garnishing and serve with more garnishing on the side.