What’s the difference between Harees & Haleem?

During Ramadan there are a lot of places that have started serving Haleem and few outlets that serve Harees as well

Confused as to the difference between them? Read on….
Harees: A meat and wheat porridge which is a popular Arab dish traditionally served during Ramadan season and during special occasions like weddings, birthday’s,anniversaries etc.

Process: The meat to wheat ratio is 1:1 and the wheat is boiled before adding, soaked over night or sometimes the wheat is beaten to a paste/pulp form during the making process. Spices used are Cinnamon, Cumin, Cardamom and few others

History of Harees coming to Hyderabad: The Arab soldiers (Mostly from Yemen) who migrated to India to serve in the Nizam’s Army stayed in the barracks area, the name got twisted into what we now know as Barkas. The warrior community called Chaush who were known for their fighting prowess and serving the Nizam as their personal bodyguards were instrumental in bringing this dish to Hyderabad. It used to be served as breakfast & lunch for the people who used to go to battle so that they have strength throughout the day, gradually it found its way to being served at Iftar’s and feasts

Variants: Hyderabad has two versions of Harees,the Khari and the Meethi available. Khari true to its name is bland by Hyderabadi standards and available at majority of the harees outlets and Meethi actually has sugar mixed with it which is available only in the barkas area. Kashmir and few other places also have rice used instead of wheat in making it.

How Harees became Haleem: The bland version of Harees had few additions made to it, Garam masala, Onions, Garlic, Ginger, Red chilli, Coriander, turmeric etc in the spices section , Gram lentils along with 1:3 ratio of wheat to meat i.e 1Kg wheat to 3Kg meat which gives the Haleem its thickness and uniqueness, hence the G.I status

Difference between Harees and Haleem in layman’s terms :

1) Ratio of wheat to meat    : 1:1 vs 1:3
2) Taste                                   : Bland vs Spicy
3) Consistency                       : Semi liquid vs Thick porridge

Common misconception is that if chicken is used for preparation of the dish then it is called Harees. Chicken was actually used in Harees because it was cheaper in price hence affordable by all & lamb became the rich man’s option. All three i.e Chicken, Mutton & Beef can be used in preparation of both Harees and Haleem.

You would find the spicier version of Harees in the market as well i.e all ingredients of Haleem are used in its preparation but with the meat to wheat ratio of Harees.

The word Haleem means Patient and Merciful and the process of making Haleem is lengthy and tiresome so you definitely need to have patience. Few articles online and in the print media state that the name should be Daleem derived from the word Daliya/Daalcha which means porridge instead of Haleem which is one of the names of Allah. Authenticity of such claims are yet to be proven hence individual discretion advised

Please feel free to leave your comments and feedback below


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  • Reply
    Ranjit Pradhan
    June 9, 2016 at 9:36 am

    Probably you are right about e everything but just one fact around 30 to 40 years ago chicken was far far too expensive then mutton. Mutton was once or twice a week but chicken was a rarity those days. No Broiler chicken then you see .

    • Reply
      Taher Syed
      June 9, 2016 at 10:17 am

      It was not just the price. Chicken was not considered worthy by many rich folks for Haleem but you have made a good point. Will research more on this and makes changes as and when I get more details

      Thank you

  • Reply
    June 15, 2016 at 9:43 am

    Good info

  • Reply
    Kamaal Ahmed
    October 30, 2016 at 9:12 am

    Taher, i have read articles on Haleem before but yours is definitely the simplest, purest and the most informative one. Appreciate your research and honesty.

  • Reply
    August 19, 2019 at 8:17 pm

    You made a mistake. Harissa and Harees are not the same. Harissa is a sweet desert. Harees is the on with the meat.

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