One of my favorite Youtube cooking video series is Bajiascooking. Bajia has excellent videos for Pakistani/North Indian Muslim dishes. She claims her recipes are traditional and occasionally ‘village style,’ but actually they are very Auntie-style, using the ‘throw it all into the pressure cooker’ method of the modern urban desi home chef. Many of her recipes have worked quite well for me, and are very suitable for cooking outside of the des, as Bajia lives in Australia in a setting with no nearby desi grocer and doesn’t always have access to fresh desi cooking ingredients. Most of Bajia’s recipes are in Urdu, but some of them have been dubbed in English with the help of her daughter. If you search Youtube for Bajia’s English you will find some good ones.
A few days ago, I was watching Bajia’s videos, and I decided to watch the haleem recipe. Occasionally, when surfing the net on food knowledge quests, I have encountered posts on the South Asian dish haleem which encourage Urdu speakers to call haleem ‘daleem’ since haleem is one of God’s 99 names (actually it is Al Haleem), and haleem is mentioned in the Quran. I came across this idea again as a comment on Bajia’s haleem recipe from a user called PaltalkRecording:
Sister . Please Note : Haleeem Allah kay 99 namon main say aik name hay or Sorah Baqarah main 3 bar is ka zikar bhi hay please urud main Haleem ko DALEEM kahtay hain . JazakAllah
The gist is that according to these people it is insult God by using His name in such a trivial sense, like to say “Haleem ko baghaar dena” “Haleem jal gaya” “Haleem kharaab honey walla hai, naukaron ko de do.”
A few posts also suggest to call it daleem or harees. Harees is an Arabic dish which is similar to haleem. For Gulf Arabs, through whom I know harees, harees is much less seasoned dish than haleem. Harees means wheat in Arabic and it is a dish of wheat pounded with boiled meat. No doubt there is some ancient connection between harees and haleem, most likely through Persia and Central Asia.
If you google ‘haleem daleem’ you will find copious posts on the topic, all condemning the use of haleem as a dish’s name. I even found one Facebook Group dedicated to the topic which is “scheduled to be archived” so may disappear in the near future. (I shamelessly pilfered my haleem picture above from them for this post…)
I am just curious as to whether this attempt at linguistically purging haleem as the dish name from Urdu has had any success beyond the predictable circles? (It seems to me that these circles have grown larger these days.)
I have never heard anyone call haleem anything other than haleem in Urdu in my presence, despite knowing some fairly dogmatic people. It sounds rather absurd to me, but then again, people prefer Allah hafiz to Khuda hafiz now-dogmatic linguistic movements can be successful. So why not haleem to daleem?
Also, I know there is a dish hareesa, and another dish, khichra, both of which are similar to haleem. I was just wondering if there is also some region that has a dish called daleem, or was this moniker made up simply because among the grain and legume medley in haleem there is daal (or dalia)?
Have you ever actually heard someone say ‘daleem’?
Someone told me that daleem means pomegranite in Bangla, so this linguistic push against haleem won’t work for Bengalis. The dish is also made in Bangladesh and is known as haleem there, too.
If this anti-haleem movement takes off, Shan Masala will have to produce Shahi Daleem masala or maybe angry hordes will burn down the shops. (God forbid!) Ironically, the meaning of the rich Arabic descriptor of God, Al Haleem encompasses notions of deep tolerance and moderation.
I say Khuda Hafiz instead of Allah Hafiz on purpose, since I think the Allah versus Khuda issue is silly. I will most defintely stick to calling haleem ‘haleem’ and never ‘daleem’ even if the new term does gain popularity.