Heavenly Al Harees: Traditional Emirati Recipe

Welcome to my family recipe for al harees, a traditional Qatari and Iraqi dish made with beaten wheat and meat. Growing up in the Middle East, al harees was always present at our family gatherings, especially during special occasions and holidays. It is a delectable main dish that has gained popularity throughout the region and beyond.

This recipe has been passed down within my family for generations, and now I am excited to share it with you. I believe that traditional foods are an important part of cultural identity and history, and that sharing them with others is an excellent way to spread cultural awareness and appreciation.

Al harees is a one-pot meal that combines the hearty goodness of whole wheat with tender lamb or chicken. The dish is seasoned with cinnamon, cardamom pods, ground cumin, and other Middle Eastern spices, creating a flavor profile that will transport your taste buds straight to the region.

Whether you’re celebrating Qatar’s National Day or cheering on your favorite team during the World Cup, al harees is the perfect savory dish to impress your guests or enjoy with your loved ones. So let’s dive in and make this traditional dish together!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Al Harees - a Family Recipe! Traditional Qatari, Iraqi
Al Harees – a Family Recipe! Traditional Qatari, Iraqi

Are you a fan of hearty and wholesome Middle Eastern dishes? If so, then this Al Harees recipe will definitely be up your alley! Made by combining beaten wheat with meat and aromatic spices, Al Harees is a famous dish in the region that has been enjoyed for centuries. And once you’ve tasted it, you’ll understand why it’s so popular.

But what makes this particular recipe stand out? Well, first of all, it’s a family recipe that has been passed down for generations. So when you make it, you’ll be experiencing a little bit of Middle Eastern culture and tradition. Not to mention the fact that this dish is actually the national dish of Qatar and is often served during important occasions like weddings, Eid festivals, and National Day celebrations.

Aside from its cultural significance, Al Harees is also incredibly delicious. The texture is creamy and slightly grainy due to the wheat, while the spices lend depth and flavor to the meat. This one-pot wonder can be made with either lamb or chicken (or even a combination of both!), allowing you to choose your preferred protein.

Al Harees also happens to be a delectable main course that is perfect for feeding a crowd. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or celebrating during the World Cup or any other special event, this dish made with beaten wheat chicken recipe or harees meat porridge is sure to impress your guests. Just pair it with some Arabic bread or rice pilaf, and you’re good to go!

So why not try making this traditional savory delicacy at home? With our family recipe traditional Qatari-Iraqi Al Harees recipe index at your disposal, there’s no reason why you can’t indulge in the flavors of the Middle East right in your own kitchen. Trust us: once you taste this dish, you’ll be hooked for life!

Ingredient List

 A piping hot serving of Al Harees, rich with the flavors of Middle Eastern spices
A piping hot serving of Al Harees, rich with the flavors of Middle Eastern spices

Let’s dive into the ingredient list of al harees, a traditional Qatari-Iraqi dish that is also known as jareesh. This savory, whole wheat-based meat porridge is a delectable main dish made with beaten wheat and either chicken or lamb. The recipe calls for 1 kg of boneless lamb, 500g of whole-wheat or blended wheat, 2 tsp of ghee, and 10 cups of water. For the spice mix, you’ll need 3 cinnamon sticks, 10 cardamom pods, and 1 tsp ground cumin. These aromatic ingredients combined with ground cinnamon add an explosion of flavor to the dish.

The Recipe How-To

 A bowl of Al Harees with fresh lemon wedges and a sprig of mint for a pop of color and tangy taste
A bowl of Al Harees with fresh lemon wedges and a sprig of mint for a pop of color and tangy taste

Now let’s get to the fun part – making this delectable Al Harees dish! This is a one-pot dish, which makes it perfect for easy clean-up.

Step 1: Preparing the Base

In a large pot, combine 1 kg of lamb with 1 kg of whole wheat and add enough water to cover them. Cover the pot and let it cook on low heat for 2 hours or until the meat is tender.

Step 2: Spice it Up!

Once the lamb is cooked, add in 2 tsp of ground cumin, 4 crushed cardamom pods, 1 tsp of ground cinnamon, and season with salt to taste. Mix well and let it simmer for another hour.

Step 3: Adding The Chicken

Next, add 1 kg of chicken (or harees meat if you prefer) to the pot and continue to simmer until it’s fully cooked. Make sure to remove any bones that may come loose while cooking.

Step 4: Blending Time!

Remove the pot from heat and allow it to cool down a bit. Once cooled, blend everything together using a hand blender or food processor until the wheat, lamb and chicken are finely blended. Be careful not to over-blend otherwise it will turn into a soup!

Step 5 : Cooking Again

Put the pot back on low heat, add in about 1 liter of hot water so that you reach your desired consistency. Cook uncovered on low heat for another 30 minutes or until it becomes thick like a paste. Stir occasionally.

Step 6: Ghee Time

Finally, stir in about 1/2 cup of ghee, stirring occasionally for around 10-15 minutes until it is fully mixed in.

You now have made your very own Al Harees! This hearty and filling dish will be perfect for your family and friends to enjoy.

Substitutions and Variations

 The perfect ratio of wheat, meat, and spices, all simmered together for hours to make this scrumptious dish
The perfect ratio of wheat, meat, and spices, all simmered together for hours to make this scrumptious dish

While the traditional recipe for Al Harees is undoubtedly delicious, there are a number of substitutions and variations you can try to put your own spin on this classic dish.

One variation that many people enjoy is preparing Al Harees with lamb instead of chicken. Lamb gives the dish a richer, more savory flavor that pairs perfectly with the dish’s hearty texture. To make this substitution, simply replace the chicken recipe with lamb and follow the rest of the recipe as usual. Or, you can also try a mixed meat harees by combining both chicken and lamb.

Another alternative worth considering is using spices in addition to or in place of some ingredients such as the ground cumin and cinnamon, and cardamom pods. You can add some heat to your harees by mixing in some harissa paste or chili powder. Similarly, substituting sugar with honey or even skipping it altogether will give the dish a unique twist.

For those who want to experiment further with flavor combinations and textures, you can consider adding raisins, dates, or other dried fruits like apricots or figs to create a sweet savory delight.

Finally, if you are following strict dietary restrictions or just want to experiment with new ingredients, consider replacing whole wheat with gluten-free oats for a gluten-free version of Al Harees. Oats will yield a lighter texture but still have a similar taste that will remind you of traditional savories offerings in Middle Eastern cuisine.

Al Harees opens up the world of experimentation and personal customization while keeping its distinctive old flavors intact. So be bold in trying out alternatives and tailor-making Al Harees to be your own signature dish.

Serving and Pairing

 A forkful of Al Harees with tender lamb chunks, easily shredded with the slightest touch
A forkful of Al Harees with tender lamb chunks, easily shredded with the slightest touch

When it comes to serving Al Harees, you can never go wrong with toppings. You can add a generous amount of ghee for a richer and flavorful dish. Tradition suggests that lamb or chicken may also be added to give the dish a protein punch. You could even use both if you are feeling extra.

Al Harees is best enjoyed as a one-pot meal, the savory aroma wafting through your home making your stomach rumble in excitement. This delectable main dish will surely be a crowd-pleaser at any gathering or dinner party.

To balance out the rich flavors of Al Harees, consider pairing it with a simple salad or pickled vegetables on the side. I love serving it with some Middle Eastern-style flatbread such as pita bread or naan bread on the side to soak up all of the delicious flavors and juices.

Another popular way to enjoy Al Harees is during Ramadan, at Suhoor, which is the pre-dawn meal taken by Muslims before starting their fast during the Holy Month. It has become traditional throughout the region to serve Al Harees during this time due to its energy-boosting properties.

Whether it’s a celebratory event like Qatar National Day, or world cup match night, Al Harees is guaranteed to be an absolute favorite among your guests.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 A creamy and hearty serving of Al Harees, thickened with ground wheat and bursting with flavor
A creamy and hearty serving of Al Harees, thickened with ground wheat and bursting with flavor

One of the best things about Al Harees is that it can be made ahead of time, making it perfect for those with a busy schedule or for entertaining guests. Once prepared, you can store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days, or even freeze it for longer periods of time.

When reheating Al Harees, add some water to it and stir until it reaches a smooth consistency. You can reheat it in the microwave or on the stove over low heat, stirring occasionally.

If you are planning on making Al Harees ahead of time for an event, I recommend adding extra liquid to the pot as the mixture will thicken while cooling. Simply reheat with additional water or broth until it reaches your desired consistency.

Note that when refrigerated, the texture of Al Harees may become thicker due to the absorbent nature of the wheat. Don’t stress; simply add some water and stir until it has reached a porridge-like consistency.

In conclusion, this delicious one-pot main dish made with beaten wheat, chicken or lamb is an ideal make-ahead meal that can easily be stored and reheated without compromising its rich flavor and texture.

Tips for Perfect Results

 A close-up of the rich and aromatic
A close-up of the rich and aromatic

Making Al Harees can be a bit tricky, even for experienced cooks. But don’t worry, with these tips, you will be able to make a perfect dish every time. So, here are some tips for perfect results:

Firstly, I recommend using whole wheat instead of beaten wheat if you want a more textured dish. The whole wheat will give the dish a nutty flavor that will complement the spices used in the dish.

Secondly, it is essential to let the meat cook slowly and for longer periods to make sure that it is soft and tender. When cooking lamb or chicken, use low heat and let it cook for at least two hours, and then gradually increase the heat.

Thirdly, when adding the water to the pot, make sure to add enough so that it covers the meat entirely. However, do not overdo it; adding too much water can dilute the flavor of the dish.

Fourthly, don’t forget to skim off any scum or foam that accumulates on top of the pot while cooking. This step is crucial as it helps keep your dish from becoming too greasy and keeps its flavor intact.

Fifthly, using ghee instead of oil is recommended as it enhances the richness of the dish. It also imparts a delicious buttery aroma that takes the dish up a notch.

Lastly, if you’re new to making Al Harees and unsure about spices usage, you can start with smaller amounts and adjust them as per taste. Too much cinnamon or cardamom can overpower other spices’ flavors and ruin your dish.

Follow these tips to get great results in making authentic Al Harees!


As a scribe for Chef Ehud’s Al Harees recipe, let me take you through the most frequently asked questions about this popular traditional Qatari-Iraqi dish. From the cooking time to serving suggestions, we’ve got you covered. So, keep reading to learn more about making the perfect batch of Al Harees – a dish made from beaten wheat and either lamb or chicken.

What is Qatari harees main dish made of?

One of my favorite main dishes is Qatari Harees, which is prepared with chicken and beaten wheat. While there are comparable dishes with different names found throughout the region, I once created a version in Oman with beaten rice instead of wheat.

What is harees Qatar?

Harees is a nourishing dish made with rice, lentils, and meat cooked in one pot. It has a thick and creamy texture, similar to porridge, which makes it a substantial and satisfying meal commonly served as an appetizing main course or a side dish.

What is Al Harees made of?

To create Harees, the wheat is cooked in briny water for several hours until it becomes a thick and smooth concoction. After that, meat of choice, typically lamb or chicken, is included in the mixture and cooked again for a minimum of four hours. Finally, the dish is garnished with native ghee, which is generously spooned on top for added flavor.

What is the origin of Hareesa?

The Kashmiri recipe of Hareesa that is widely used in Pakistan has its roots in the Middle East, having been brought to South Asia by Muslim settlers. Over time, it gained immense popularity and is now widely consumed across many regions, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir.

Bottom Line

your meal with a taste of the Middle East!

In conclusion, cooking is an art that enables you to travel around the world through your taste buds. And what better journey than the one that takes you to the heart of the Middle East, with a delectable main dish made of beaten wheat and meat called al harees?

This recipe has been passed down through generations, and I am honored to share it with you today. Al harees is more than just food – it’s a part of the region’s culture and history. It’s a famous dish in Qatar and Iraq, and it’s appreciated by many in the Middle East.

The ingredients are simple, but the flavor is complex. A combination of ghee, meat, and spices creates an explosion of flavors in your mouth that will keep you coming back for more. And not only is it delicious, but it’s also a one-pot meal that saves you on clean-up time.

Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or looking for new recipes to try at home, al harees is a must-try Middle Eastern dish. It’s perfect for any occasion, whether it’s national day celebrations or cheering on your favorite team during the World Cup.

So why not take a trip to Qatar or Iraq without even leaving your kitchen? With my family recipe for al harees, you can experience traditional Qatari-Iraqi cuisine like never before. So go ahead and give this recipe a try – your taste buds won’t regret it!

Al Harees - a Family Recipe! Traditional Qatari, Iraqi

Al Harees - a Family Recipe! Traditional Qatari, Iraqi Recipe

Here is a wonderful recipe for Harees - the whipped wheat dish which is traditionally eaten during Ramadan. It is probably THE most famous dish in Qatar & variations of this Qatari dish are eaten in several other countries including Iraq & Saudi Arabia (it also has other colloquial names). Time to make doesn't include overnight soaking of the wheat.
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Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 4 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine Fusion
Calories 1037.7 kcal


  • 1 kg lamb or 1 kg chicken, on the bone
  • 1 kg whole wheat (called 'habb harees' ) or 1 kg pearled durham wheat (called 'habb harees' )
  • 150 g ghee (or traditional samen)
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • water, as needed


    Option 1

    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 2 teaspoons roasted ground cumin

    Option 2

    • 3 -4 whole bruised cardamom pods

    Option 2

    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • sugar


    • Soak wheat overnight in plenty of water.
    • In a large pot, place pre-soaked & drained wheat, add 1 & 3/4 litre of water & boil until the wheat is beginning to fluff up & soften - skim off any foam or skummy bits on the surface!
    • Soak the lamb / chicken in plenty of lightly salted water whilst the wheat is cooking.
    • When the wheat is fluffy, rinse & drain the meat.
    • In a large, heavy bottomed pot (or special harees pot), place the wheat & the meat with a little salt & pepper and enough water to come about 5cm above the wheat & meat. Cover with a tight fitting lid - you can place a damp cloth or aluminium foil over the pot & then place the lid over that of the lid is not a tight fit.
    • Bring to a boil, reduce heat & cook on a very low heat for 3 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally & skim-off froth or fat on the surface.
    • Once the wheat is very soft & has lost it's shape & most of the water has been absorbed, remove from heat & allow to cool a little, then remove any bones & grissle. (If all the water has been absobed add about 3/4 cup - 1 cup of boiling water - if there is too much water but the wheat is cooked, ladle out the excess water.)
    • Shred the lamb or chicken if any larger pieces remain - there shouldn't really be any as almost all of it will have 'melted' into the wheat.
    • Now begin whipping the wheat & meat until it forms a homogenous, slightly elastic, pastelike consistency - add a little salted boiling water to thin it down if required. Use a large wooden spoon, or pound it with a wooden rolling pin to get the desired consistency. You could also pulse it in a food processor or use an immersion blender but if you are lucky enough, you might have a medhrab which is specially for harees.
    • Check the seasoning & re-season if desired. Transfer to a warmed serving pot, cover & keep warm.
    • Place the ghee in a pan & season to taste with salt & pepper (& any of the spices listed below). Gently warm the ghee & mix well.
    • Pour the seasoned ghee over the harees & serve immediately.
    • N.B : You can serve the harees with 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon & 2 tsp roasted ground cumin seeds, or 3-4 whole bruised cardamom pods added to the ghee (remove the podes before serving!). You can also serve harees with plenty of sugar & cinnamon.

    Add Your Own Notes


    Serving: 213gCalories: 1037.7kcalCarbohydrates: 126.2gProtein: 41.4gFat: 44.9gSaturated Fat: 22.9gCholesterol: 152mgSodium: 71.1mgFiber: 21.4gSugar: 0.7g
    Keyword Asian, Egg-free, Free Of..., Grains, Inexpensive, Lamb/Sheep, Meat, Middle Eastern, One-Dish Meal, Stove Top
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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