Ramadan 2023: Chef Nurul Bashar's Haleem And Sheermal Recipes
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The sacred month of Ramadan has arrived, signifying a time of fasting, prayer, and spiritual contemplation for Muslims around the world. Along with these religious practices, it is also a time to indulge in delectable dishes during 'sehri' and 'iftar'. The holy month of Ramadan sees various streets and corners teeming with vendors selling mouth-watering Iftar delights such as kebabs, samosas, biryani, nihari, seviyan, phirni, malpua, and many more. These stalls attract not just Muslims but people of all faiths who flock to them after prayers to indulge in these scrumptious treats to their hearts' content.

But if you have friends and family coming over for iftar, there's no better way to create an authentic experience than by preparing a home-cooked meal consisting of two of the most sought-after dishes, haleem and sheermal. A simple, porridge-like dish made from wheat, lentils, and meat (usually mutton in India) that has been slow-cooked for many hours, haleem is said to have a long-standing history in India that may go way back to the Mughals. The dishes served in Mughal courts revealed their diverse origins: Turkic, Persian, and Arabic. In fact, the widely renowned Hyderabadi haleem we relish today is said to have originated from the Arabian harissa, which was introduced by Nizam's Arab palace guards (largely Yemenis) during the 19th century. This delectable dish gained fame when a nobleman began serving it at his feasts. Even today, its popularity in the Barkas area of Hyderabad, which was home to the former Nizam's barracks, is seen as evidence of its military origins.

On the other hand, "Sheermal", the name itself, gives us an idea of its richness, with 'sheer', meaning milk, and "mal," or "maal," loosely connoting "rich food". This delectable delicacy has its origins in the kitchens of the Nawabs and the Avadh aristocracy and was considered a dish for the upper class. According to chefs and accounts, sheermal was initially prepared on a hot iron griddle. With its slight sweetness and soft texture, sheermal is known to be the perfect complement to the delicately spiced stews of Awadh and the kebabs, providing a delicious contrast of flavours and textures.

And while we know how preparing elaborate meals during Ramadan can be overwhelming, if you are up to cooking a storm in the kitchen for a perfect pair of haleem and sheemal, we’ve got a great recipe right here, straight from the kitchen of the Radisson Blu MBD Hotel, Noida, where their Master Chef Nurul Bashar weaved magic at the recently concluded Nawab-e-Nizam festival.

How To Make Haleem


  • 50 g dalia (broken wheat)
  • 1 tablespoon of chana dal (split Bengal gram)
  • 1 tablespoon urad dal dhuli
  • 1 tablespoon moong dal
  • 5-6 almonds 
  • 5-6 cashew nuts
  • 1 litre of water

For Mutton Marination

  • ½ kg mutton 
  • 250 g of mutton bones (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1 ¼ tablespoons red chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper powder
  • 2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste
  • 180 g curd

For Cooking 

  • 5 tablespoons ghee
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 8-10 cardamoms 
  • 7-8 cloves 
  • 10-12 peppercorns 
  • 8-10 allspice
  • 2 teaspoons shahi jeera
  • ½ cup onion (sliced)
  • 2-3 green chillies, slit
  • A handful of coriander leaves
  • A handful of mint
  • Salt as required.
  • 1 litre of water

For Garnish 

  • Fried onions 
  • Fried cashews 
  • Chopped mint and coriander leaves


  • Combine the dhalia with the dals and wash with water twice. 1 litre of water should be poured over it and left to soak for at least an hour before boiling them together. You can cover them and cook them on low heat. And add more water while it's boiling if required.
  • Once cooked, it should be mushy and thick. Remove it and let it cool completely before adding them to a mixer grinder and grinding it into a paste.
  • Now place the meat and the bones in a bowl and add all the spices, salt, ginger-garlic paste, and curd. Mix it well and leave it aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Heat ghee in a pressure cooker. Add cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, peppercorns, allspice, and shahi jeera and let them cook a bit in hot ghee.
  • Add onions and cook them until they are just about to turn brown. Add the marinated meat at this stage, and on high heat, cook the meat for 15-20 minutes. This bhunai (cooking) is important to impart a good flavour. While cooking the meat, add fresh mint and coriander leaves along and cook them.
  • Pour water and close the lid. Bring it to a quick boil so that the pressure cooker gives out the first whistle. Now lower the heat and cook for another hour or until the meat is overcooked to the point where you can insert a fork into it and the meat fibres separate effortlessly.
  • After an hour, turn off the heat and let the pressure cooker sit for 10 minutes. Then carefully release the steam and open the lid. Strain the ghee floating on top of the meat into a separate bowl.
  • Separate the meat and discard the bones using tongs. Return the meat to the thin curry in a kadai. With a masher or churner called a mathani, gently press the meat to separate its fibres. This step does not require the heat to be turned on.
  • Add the pureed grains and lentils to the meat and switch on the heat. Mash the meat once again for 10 minutes. As soon as the meat porridge comes to a boil, cook it until ghee begins to ooze out from the sides. At this point, taste and adjust the salt, and optionally add a small amount of ghee that was previously removed.
  • When haleem is cooked perfectly, it should effortlessly slide off the spoon. Then, transfer it to a serving plate or platter and decorate it with fried onions, fried cashews, mint, and coriander leaves. Finally, pour some leftover ghee on top and serve it hot.

How To Make Sheermal 


  • 2 cup refined flour 
  • 4 tablespoon sugar 
  • 4 strand saffron 
  • 3/4 cup milk 
  • 1/2 cup ghee 
  • 2 Pinches salt 


  • Soak the saffron strands with hot milk in a small bowl and leave it for 20 minutes.  
  • In a bowl, add refined flour, sugar, and salt and mix them well. Add ghee and milk in batches and knead to form a soft dough. Cover it with a damp cloth and leave it aside for 2-3 hours. 
  • Knead the dough again and make equal-sized balls from it. Roll into a thick and round chapati. Use a fork to poke some holes in it. 
  • Now heat an oven to 240 degrees Celsius and put the sheermal on it. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until golden brown in colour. Repeat the step to make more sheermals from the dough. 
  • Once done, smear the saffron-soaked milk mixture on the sheermal and serve. You can also drizzle some honey on top to add extra sweetness.