This spin-off of Hyderabadi Haleem is a creamy stovetop sensation, starring chicken breast. Balanced with less oil yet bursting with authentic flavours, this reinvented classic remains true to its roots while offering a wholesome Indian dinner option.

Top view image of a serving vessel with haleem, topped with fried onions, ginger strips, and cilantro leaves.
Designed to be freezer-friendly for easy meal prep during Ramadan and beyond.

As a dietitian who adores South Asian cuisine and its nourishing qualities, I’m so excited to share this delightful Haleem recipe. I think it strikes the perfect balance between health and flavour, offering a cozy creamy indulgence without compromising flavour.

If you’re eager to expand your collection of homemade Indian recipes, ones that are not just delicious but also diabetes-friendly, then this haleem dish is tailor-made for you!

Why you’ll LOVE this recipe

  1. Time-Saving Convenience: No need for extra steps of cooking meat and lentils separately, as they are combined in one pot. This streamlines the cooking process and saves valuable time in the kitchen.
  2. Filling & Balanced: Packed with nourishing goodness to help keep you full for longer.
  3. Versatility: Swap chicken for your preferred meat, making this recipe adaptable to your taste preferences and dietary requirements.

Love lentils as much as I do? Dive into the comforting flavours of Chicken Dhansak with Brown Lentils. It’s sublime! And if you’re into salads and need a satisfying recipe, whip up my Kale Mediterranean Salad. It’s my go-to anti-inflammatory recipe! For a vegan delight, indulge in the creamy Dhal Makhani (Vegan Coconut Lentil Curry)

Perspective image of a serving vessel with haleem, topped with fried onions, ginger strips, and cilantro leaves.

Haleem: What is it?

Haleem, known by various names like daleem, halim, and more, stands as a robust stew originating from Pakistan, and Hyderabad, India. It boasts a thick consistency and is crafted from an amalgamation of diverse grains, lentils (dal/daal), and meat (lamb, goat, beef, chicken).

During Ramadan, it holds a special significance as it’s traditionally enjoyed as an Iftar meal due to its hearty, wholesome, and nutritious qualities, providing sustenance after a whole day of fasting.

Whenever I indulge in a bowl, it’s like savouring a sumptuous aromatic porridge filled with rich flavours. The creamy texture and beautiful blend of spices create a deeply comforting sensation that just makes me sink into a cocoon of comfort. Trust me, once you try it, you’ll keep coming back for more!

Nutrition highlights

If you’re looking to create a balanced plate that truly satisfies, haleem is the ideal choice. Its combination of grains, chicken and lentils provides a hearty meal and ensures a good balance of nutrients. This comforting dish offers:

  • An excellent source of protein (26 g per serving), courtesy of lean chicken breast and lentils
  • Heart-healthy fats from olive oil
  • Rich in dietary fibre, thanks to the lentils and grains
  • A source of key vitamins and minerals from aromatic spices

Haleem recipe ingredients

Indian spices on a round silver tray with bowls of chicken, lentils, onion, and tomato nearby.
While the ingredient list may seem extensive, it’s a reflection of the intricate and vibrant flavours integral to traditional Indian cuisine.
Two containers of lentils and wheat on a round straw mat: one soaked and the other dry.
Soaking the haleem mix with wheat and lentils softens them, reducing cooking time and ensuring they blend seamlessly into the stew-like consistency of the haleem.
  • Haleem mix (soaked in water overnight)
  • Chicken breasts
  • Olive oil
  • Cumin seeds
  • Bay leaf
  • Nigella seeds
  • Black cardamom seeds (crushed)
  • Green cardamom seeds (crushed)
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Coriander seeds
  • Fennel seeds
  • Mace
  • Star anise
  • Red chilli powder
  • Turmeric
  • Salt
  • Tomato purée

Garnishes:

  • Olive oil
  • Onion
  • Honey
  • Chaat masala
  • Garam masala
  • Cilantro
  • Ginger (thin strips)

Cooking method tip

The way to elevate your haleem experience is by allowing it to simmer gently over low heat for an extended period, giving it an occasional stir along the way. This slow-cooking technique works wonders, coaxing the flavours to meld together seamlessly while ensuring that the grains and lentils reach the desired softness and tenderness. To level up, blitzing a portion of the haleem towards the end helps to achieve that smooth, porridge-like consistency.

How to make chicken haleem on the stovetop in 5 steps

I’ve broken down the method of making chicken haleem on the stovetop in 5 steps. Here’s a visual guide to walk you through the process:

Step 1: Temper spices and sauté aromatics:

Cumin seeds, bay leaf, and other seeds tempering in oil in a cook pot.
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add cumin seeds, bay leaf, nigella seeds, and crushed cardamom seeds. Temper the spices until lightly golden and when they release their aroma.
Onion, garlic, and ginger on top of tempered seeds in a cook pot.
Sauté onion, garlic and ginger on medium heat until golden. The onion should be translucent.

Step 2: Create haleem masala:

Indian powdered spices on top of fried onions and seeds in a cook pot on a mobile cooktop.
Reduce heat to low and stir in coriander seeds powder, fennel seeds powder, mace, star anise, red chilli powder, turmeric, and salt.
Spiced onions topped with tomato puree in a cook pot.
Follow with tomato puree and stir well.

Step 3: Add chicken, haleem mix and simmer

Spiced tomato-onion mixture topped with chunks of chicken breast in a cook pot.
Add chicken and increase the heat to medium. Cutting the fillets into very small chunks contributes to the desired consistency.
Spice-coated chicken breast chunks in a cooking pot.
Coat the chicken with the masala and cook for a few minutes.
Orange-colored liquid-filled cooking pot on a mobile cooktop.
Add drained haleem mix with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer for about 1 hour and 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

The cooking time may vary based on factors such as your cooking pot and heat source. The goal is to end up with a thick and creamy haleem.

Sodium Savvy: Easy swaps to dial down salt

For a flavourful twist that reduces salt intake without sacrificing taste, try replacing some of the salt or chaat masala in your recipe with fresh lemon juice and extra chillies.

Step 4: Prepare fried onion:

Onion slices in oil in a fry pan.
Heat olive oil in a pan and fry sliced onion stirring regularly. Thin slices ensure that they brown evenly and develop a beautiful colour.


Golden fried onions slices in a frying pan with honey.
When the onions turn dark brown, adding honey enhances their sweetness and deepens the flavour.

Step 5: Blend, garnish & serve:

Close up top view of a cook pot filled with haleem topped with fried onion, cilantro and ginger strips.
Toward the end of cooking, blend half of the haleem for a smoother – more traditional consistency. Serve hot, garnished with chaat masala, garam masala, fried onions, cilantro, and sliced ginger.

We love to serve this alongside Soft Homemade Roti, Multigrain Paratha, or Naan.

For a complete list of ingredient measurements and detailed step-by-step instructions, you can find everything you need in the printable recipe card located at the bottom of this post.

Substitution do

Instead of chicken breast, you can use boneless lamb or beef chunks for another rich and hearty variation of this recipe. Simply follow the same cooking instructions, adjusting the cooking time as needed to ensure the meat is tender and cooked through.

Close up perspective image of a serving vessel with haleem, topped with fried onions, ginger strips, and cilantro leaves.

How to make haleem in the Instant Pot

  1. Temper Whole Spices: Start the Instant Pot on sauté mode and heat olive oil. Add cumin seeds, nigella seeds, crushed cardamom seeds, and bay leaf. Temper briefly until the spices release their aroma.
  2. Sauté Aromatics and Chicken: Add chopped onions, garlic, and ginger to the pot, and sauté until onions are translucent. Stir in the dry spices and salt. Add the chicken pieces and sauté until they are browned on all sides.
  3. Pressure Cook: Add the soaked and drained haleem mix along with 4 cups of water to the Instant Pot. Close the lid, set the valve to sealing, and pressure cook on high for about 20-25 minutes. Allow for natural pressure release before opening the lid.
  4. Prepare Fried Onion: While the Instant Pot haleem is cooking, fry onion in oil until dark brown. Drizzle with honey and set aside.
  5. Adjust Consistency, Blitz & Garnish: Once cooking is complete, blitz or blend about half of the haleem for a smoother consistency. Serve hot, garnished with fried onions, chopped cilantro, and sliced ginger.

Food safe storage

I typically make a larger batch because it stores exceptionally well. After cooking, transfer any leftovers to an airtight container and transfer to the refrigerator. It keeps well for approximately 3-4 days. When reheating, adding a small amount of water can help restore its original consistency. For longer-term storage, freezing is definitely a great option. This recipe maintains its quality for about 2 months in the freezer. Simple thaw in the fridge, reheat and enjoy!

Birdseye image of a serving vessel with haleem, topped with fried onions, ginger strips, and cilantro leaves.

If you give this healthy main dish a go, I’d love to hear from you! Share your rating, leave a comment, and be sure to tag me on Instagram @DesiliciousRD! Seeing your creations makes my day!

Desi~liciously Yours, Shahzadi
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Perspective image of a serving vessel with haleem, topped with fried onions, ginger strips, and cilantro leaves.
5 stars (1 review)

Get the Recipe:

Easy Stovetop Haleem With Chicken Breast

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Yield: 4 servings
This spin-off of Hyderabadi Haleem is a creamy stovetop sensation, starring chicken breast. Balanced with less oil yet bursting with authentic flavours, this reinvented classic remains true to its roots while offering a wholesome Indian dinner option.

Video

Ingredients
  

Haleem

  • cups Haleem mix, "Desi Haleem Mix" rinsed 5 times using cold water, soaked overnight and drained before cooking
  • 300 g chicken breast, skinless, boneless, cut into very small cubes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, extra virgin
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • ¼ tsp nigella seeds
  • 2 black cardamoms, seeds only, crushed
  • 10 green cardamoms, seeds only, crushed
  • 1 bay leaf, extra large
  • 1 onion, large, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 inch ginger, peeled and grated
  • 3 tbsp corinader seeds, blitzed into powder
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds, blitzed into powder
  • tsp mace, powder
  • ¼ tsp star anise, powder
  • ¾ tsp chilli powder, red, hot
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp salt, sea salt
  • ½ cup tomato puree, sauce, not tube variety

Garnishings

  • 1 onion, large, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, extra virgin
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp chaat masala
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ½ cup cilantro, washed, finely chopped, leaves and stems
  • 3 inch ginger, peeled, cut into thin strips

Equipment

Instructions
 

Chicken Haleem

  • In a large pot over medium heat, warm olive oil. Add cumin seeds, bay leaf, nigella seeds, and crushed cardamom seeds, then temper until lightly golden and aromatic.
  • Sauté onion, garlic, and ginger over medium heat until golden and translucent.
  • Reduce heat to low and incorporate coriander seeds powder, fennel seeds powder, mace, star anise, red chilli powder, turmeric, and salt, stirring well.
  • Stir in tomato puree until combined.
  • Increase heat to medium and add chicken breasts, ensuring they are coated with the masala. Cook for a few minutes.
  • Add drained haleem mix and water, bringing to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer for about 1 hour and 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • In a separate pan, heat olive oil and fry sliced onions until dark brown. Add honey, stirring to coat.
  • Towards the end of cooking, either use a hand blender to blend half of the haleem for a smoother consistency, or remove about half and blend separately before mixing it back with the remaining haleem.

Garnishings

  • Serve hot, garnished with chaat masala, garam masala, fried onions, cilantro, and sliced ginger.

Notes

Food for thought

  • While the ingredient list may seem extensive, it’s a reflection of the intricate and vibrant flavours integral to traditional Indian cuisine. We won’t cut corners when it comes to delivering the true taste of Hyderabad, so expect a culinary experience that’s bold, aromatic, and utterly satisfying.

Food safe storage

  • I typically make a larger batch because it stores exceptionally well. After cooking, transfer any leftovers to an airtight container and transfer to the refrigerator. It keeps well for approximately 3-4 days. When reheating, adding a small amount of water can help restore its original consistency. For longer-term storage, freezing is definitely a great option. This recipe maintains its quality for about 2 months in the freezer. Simple thaw in the fridge, reheat and enjoy!

How to make Haleem in the Instant Pot

  • Temper Whole Spices: Start the Instant Pot on sauté mode and heat olive oil. Add cumin seeds, nigella seeds, crushed cardamom seeds, and bay leaf. Temper briefly until the spices release their aroma.
  • Sauté Aromatics and Chicken: Add chopped onions, garlic, and ginger to the pot, and sauté until onions are translucent. Stir in the dry spices and salt. Add the chicken pieces and sauté until they are browned on all sides.
  • Pressure Cook: Add the soaked and drained haleem mix along with 4 cups of water to the Instant Pot. Close the lid, set the valve to sealing, and pressure cook on high for about 20-25 minutes. Allow for natural pressure release before opening the lid.
  • Prepare Fried Onion: While the Instant Pot haleem is cooking, fry onion in oil until dark brown. Drizzle with honey and set aside.
  • Adjust Consistency, Blitz & Garnish: Once cooking is complete, blitz or blend about half of the haleem for a smoother consistency. Serve hot, garnished with fried onions, chopped cilantro, and sliced ginger.

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 407kcal (20%)Carbohydrates: 48g (16%)Protein: 26g (52%)Fat: 14g (22%)Saturated Fat: 2g (10%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 48mg (16%)Sodium: 1279mg (53%)Potassium: 656mg (19%)Fiber: 11g (44%)Sugar: 6g (7%)Vitamin A: 461IU (9%)Vitamin C: 12mg (15%)Calcium: 74mg (7%)Iron: 3mg (17%)

Keep in mind that the nutritional values provided are approximations and suggestions, and might fluctuate depending on ingredient variations, portion sizes, and recipe adjustments. This nutrition facts table cannot account for your individual needs. Your body — including your hunger and satiety cues — change daily. It’s perfectly fine to eat more or less on different days. Instead of letting food guilt take over, consider mindful eating.

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Cuisine: Indian
Course: Main
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