This is a thick, hearty Hyderabadi (ancient India, with strong Arabic roots) stew that is still a very popular Pakistani dish. It takes longer to assemble the ingredients than it does to actually make the dish, so don't let the long ingredient list scare you away. It's really very simple, and though not particularly attractive (technically you're probably not all that particularly attractive when you're camping either, I'm guessing), it's unbelievably delicious.
Treat this as you would any other dish with more spices in it than anything else -- adjust the amounts to suit your particular tastes. We tend to go heavy on the ginger (my choice) and heavy on the chili powder (kids' and husband's choice), lighter on the turmeric (which is why my Haleem is not as brilliant a yellow as you may see if you get this at a restaurant).
It's best to make everything at home, freeze it, and take it camping already vacuum sealed -- this way all you need to do is reheat it. It's traditionally served with fried onions, which can be made at your campsite or, if you'd prefer, just take a can of those French's dried onion things and some extra cilantro to top it off.
Dang. I have a turkey roasting in the oven right now, but what I really want for dinner is some Haleem...I hate when that happens...
2 T ghee (or butter, if you don't have or can't find ghee)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" cubes
1/4 lb wheat berries, soaked in warm water for at least an hour (2 hours is better)
1/2 cup split yellow lentils, boiled until soft but not mushy
3 yellow onions, thinly sliced or diced
1 T garlic paste *
1 T ginger paste *
1/2 t garam masala
3 green cardamom pods
1 small cinnamon stick
1 t turmeric powder
1 T red chili powder
1 T ground coriander
2 bay leaves
1 t cumin seeds
1 small handful fresh mint, chopped
1 small handful fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped
salt and pepper
fried onions for garnish, if desired
- Melt ghee in a large, heavy bottomed pot. Add chicken and saute until chicken is fully cooked. Remove chicken, reserving fat in the pot.
- While chicken is cooking, bring wheat berries to a boil in plenty of salted water. Let simmer for at least 40 minutes or until very soft. Add cooked lentils to the pot and remove from heat.
- Add onions to the pot in which you cooked the chicken. Saute until very soft but not brown, about ten minutes. Add garlic paste, ginger paste, garam masala, cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon stick, turmeric, chili powder, coriander, bay leaves, and cumin seeds. Add 1 cup water and stir, simmering for about ten more minutes.
- Add chicken and wheat berries/lentils to the pot, along with about 3 1/2 cups of water. Stir, cover, and cook over low heat another 30 minutes.
- Remove the cinnamon stick and bay leaves. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until the lentils and wheat berries form a thick paste and the chicken pieces are about the size of orzo (looks like super fat rice, if you haven't seen orzo before).
- Season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with fried onions, mint, and coriander.
* = if you can't find garlic or ginger paste (most grocery stores now carry it in their produce section), very finely minced garlic and ginger may be substituted. Their flavors are actually better than the pre-made pastes, but the texture will be a little different.