Harissa, the cousin of the more well-known haleem, is a healthy desi food. Not sure if the Arabs discovered the recipe first or Kashmiris, but to us it is known to have Kashmiri origins. The dish also comes in a few variations.
Having a Kashmiri mom has it’s advantages; one being that all meals MUST CONTAIN RICE. We grew up eating harissa at all special occasions, and it was always served with an assorted plate of toppings included fried onions, fresh coriander, green chilies, thinly sliced ginger, lemons and chat masala. Piping hot roghni naan with harissa is a meal fit for a king!
This recipe has been broken down into small fragments to facilitate the cooking process. Making a harissa is a lengthy process, and people usually get put off by that. But I assure you it’s easy if broken down into simple steps. This also saves a lot of time. So here goes:
- Beef (with bones) -- 750 grams
- Onion -- 1 medium sized cut into 4 pieces
- Whole Garlic -- 1 bunch
- Black Cardamom -- 2 pieces
- Whole Cinnamon -- whole - 2 inch long piece
- Cloves -- 5-6 pieces
- Whole Green Chilies -- 4
- Cracked Wheat or Dalia -- 1 cup (rinsed and soaked overnight)
- Moong (Yellow) Daal -- 100 grams
- Rice -- 100 grams
- Salt -- as per taste
- Red Pepper -- 1 teaspoon
- Garam Masala -- ½ teaspoon
- Ginger -- ½ teaspoon
- Oil -- 4 tablespoons
- Onion -- ¼ (thinly sliced)
- Green Chilies -- 2
- Garam Masala -- ½ teaspoon
- Oil -- 8 tablespoons
Wheat, Rice and Daal:
- Wash the beef and put it in a pressure cooker with the whole masala, onion, garlic, green chilies, salt and pepper and let it cook till the whistle blows at least half an hour later.
- Open the cooker only when the whistle stops. If the meat is not tender, give pressure again.
- After the meat is done, separate and strain the stock and keep aside.
- Separate the meat from the bones and put in a mortar and pestle (havan dasta) and grind the meat till it changes color. *
- Wash the dalia till the water in it is clear, then let it soak in for the night.
- Take the pre-soaked wheat and add 2 glasses of water to boil on a stove.
- Break the pre-soaked rice in the mortar into small pieces and then boil it. Boil the pre-soaked daal as well.
- When the rice and daal is done, mix them with a bit of beef stock in the blender.**
- Add oil and ginger in a pan and let the ginger fry. After that, add the meat and fry a little.
- Add the stock and cook. Then add the rice and daal mixture and cook.
- Finally, add the dalia and you should have a web-like texture forming in the pan. Take a ghootna and try to mash any pieces of daal, rice or dalia.***
Tips and tricks:
- After taking out the harissa in a dish, prepare the tarka. Fry onions until light brown, then add green chilies
- Add half a teaspoon of garam masala, and when the onions begin to turn a little, spread on top of the harissa.****
- * The meat should be ground so much that it changes color and has a very thick web-like structure called 'lais'.
- ** Dalia needs to be cleaned so thoroughly that the murkiness of the water in it disappears and clean water in seen after rinsing. Daal and rice need to be soaked for just half an hour.
- *** Just like haleem, harissa needs ghootna, so any particles not properly blended are refined and don’t give a separate flavor.
- **** Harissa isn’t a very spicy dish, but to make it spicier whole red chilies can be added as per taste.