Srinagar: It is Kashmiri Harissa versus Hyderabadi Haleem in the valley this fall.
Harissa, a traditional winter delicacy in Kashmir, has been maintaining supremacy for decades in the valley.
Every food outlet in Srinagar and other districts sells this winter delicacy in good quantity to the customers.
However, Haleem too has been making inroads in Kashmir with many cafes and hotels serving this dish as a summer and winter special to the customers.
Mudasir Mir, Food and Beverage manager at Café Ababeel told The Kashmir Monitor that Haleem has been received well in Kashmir.
“Haleem, which is not our local delicacy is very new to Kashmir. We are getting a good number of customers for this delicacy, which remains available during summer also. This delicacy is being savored by the people who come in groups like a family gathering,” he said.
On an average daily, Mir said they receive almost 50 customers for Haleem at the café.
“It tells how this delicacy is being loved by the people. Maybe in coming years, it will be more common in Kashmir,” he said.
While Harissa is made of mutton, Mir said they serve Haleem in different quality flavors.
“Harissa is made of pure mutton but we serve Haleem made of chicken meat also,” he said.
Harissa, a slow-cooked stew made with meat, rice, and a special blend of spices, has long been a winter staple in Kashmiri households.
Prepared by simmering meat, usually chicken or mutton, with rice and a variety of spices, Harissa is a dish that warms both the body and the soul. Traditionally cooked overnight in large cauldrons, the aromatic wafts of Harissa fill the air, enticing passersby and locals alike.
On the other side of the culinary ring is the mighty Hyderabadi Haleem, a rich and hearty dish that originated in the southern part of India. Comprising a mix of meat, lentils, and wheat, slow-cooked to perfection.
“There is a difference in the use of spices in both these dishes which though, look similar. In Haleem we use lentils which makes it a bit different in taste,” Mir said.
This winter, scores of restaurants in Srinagar are offering Haleem on their menu for winter.
Food vendors and restaurants across the valley have capitalized on this culinary clash, offering both dishes to cater to the diverse tastes of their customers.
Customers said they like both these dishes for their consistency in taste and aroma.
“I grew up with the comforting aroma of Harissa in my home, but lately, the Haleem from a nearby joint has been also tempting me. It’s a tough choice!” Local resident, Suheem Sheikh, expressed her dilemma, said.