Haleem, Khichda, or Aush, is all one and the same thing to me, and frankly I can’t tell the difference between them. I grew up calling it Aush, the Farsi (Persian) word for ‘soup’ which is rather the name of a category of dishes rather than the name of this particular dish. It’s usually consumed during Ramzan/Ramadan as a one pot meal and served on Muharram, the festival where religious people go beating themselves up in the street for some reason.
Now, when it comes to Haleem, you have a mix of lentils, broken wheat, and meat, with other spices. On its own its pretty good as a soup, but if you like, it is pretty good with roti or pav. Again, up to you. It’s traditionally a food eaten in Ramzan, so it’s kind of rich, because it uses both ghee and oil. This is because you’re starving all day and could use the calories. How you justify it to yourself is a none of my business. The way I see it, you can’t go to a strip club and then complain that the performers were underdressed.
A friend of mine once tasted some of my Haleem and exclaimed “It tastes exactly like what my Muslim aunty makes!”. Arguably, that’s an amazing compliment, as it endorses both authenticity and consistency of taste. I genuinely was touched by this compliment and I have to say that neither mum nor dad ever made this for me, I learned it by watching someone make it for distributing it to the poor for Muharram. Arguably, this dish tastes best when shared with loved ones and the poor, regardless of your faith or lack thereof. It’s soup, and it’s good for your soul.
So, if you want to give your Muslim aunt or your mum a run for her money, let’s Go To The Kitchen