Harees…new recipe variation

Fasting for Ramadan 2013 starts tomorrow and my daughter and I have been doing food prep this past week.   Yesterday we filled about 250 samboosas and then froze them.  So we are good to go for a few weeks, InshaAllah (God Willing).

A daily Ramadan staple is Harees.  I only ever cook it during Ramadan.  It is tasty and filling and a great thing to have for suhoor.  The original recipe uses wheatberries which is locally called “harees”.  It is a thick porridge made with a few simple ingredients:  wheatberries, choice of meat, water, salt, pepper, and cinnamon.

I met a lady, originally from Iran, now living here in the UAE who once told me that she made Harees using Quaker oatmeal and nobody knew the better of it.  I was intrigued because when I make it, it takes forever and her way sounded much easier.  I never followed through with her suggestion until about 3 weeks ago when another lady on a Facebook group that I am on, shared her recipe for Harees and it included oatmeal…so I had to try it!  It was so easy and tasty to make…even my husband liked it and could not tell the difference until I told him!

So here it is…easy peasy:

Harees Using Quaker Oatmeal

1 kg (2 pounds of meat of your choice) you can use lamb, beef, or chicken.  Note:  if you use beef, I suggest it be 1/2 kg  or one pound.  When I first made this recipe I used 1kg of beef and the harees came out a darker color than usually…it was still very tasty but not so good looking.

3 cups of Quaker oatmeal

1 small onion, chopped

1 small stick of cinnamon

1.5 liters (6 cups of water)

1 tablespoon of salt

1/4 tsp of black pepper

1/2 tsp of cinnamon powder

1/4 to 1/2 cup of melted butter


In a large pot, add the meat of your choice, the chopped onion, cinnamon stick, and water.  Bring to a boil and cook until very tender.

Remove meat/chicken…debone if you have to…and then place into a food process and blitz for a few seconds until shredded.  Or you can finely chop the meat/chicken.

Using a strainer, drain the stock into a large pot.  Add the shredded meat/chicken, the 3 cups of Quaker oats, salt, pepper, and cinnamon.  Stir using a whisk.  Add more water if necessary by the cupful.  Bring to a boil and check every 5 to 10 minutes.  Stir each time you check on it.  Add more boiling water if necessary.  Cook for about 40 minutes.  Add the melted butter, stir and then serve.

(Note:  Make sure you stir the Harees every few minutes because it will stick to the pot and become an awful burned mess!)

Thank you Fatema for sharing the recipe 🙂


12 responses to “Harees…new recipe variation

  1. Ebby's Mama

    Question, at the step of adding more water as needed, how do you know you need more? If it evaporates too much?

    Also, I have always wanted to freeze sambosa. How do you do it? What do you freeze them in and how do you defrost?

    Ramadan Mubarak

  2. Read this article about how to stay healthy in Ramadan.. http://freespirits.me/2013/07/09/how-to-stay-healthy-in-ramadan/ Ramadan Kareem 🙂

  3. Hi! Thank you for your comment. Regarding the Harees, if you see that it is getting too thick that you can’t stir it and it is sticking a bit, I add about a 1/2 cup or a bit more of boiling water. The Harees will be ready when it becomes thick like the cooked oatmeal/porridge you have for breakfast. Hope that info helps 🙂

    As for the samboosas, I use the ready-made samboosa wrappers. I just stuff them with about 2 teaspoons of filling and freeze them on a tray. I then transfer them to ziploc baggies when they are frozen. When it is time to fry them up, I do not defrost them since there is just a little bit of filling in them. I then fry them as normal.

    Ramadan Mubarak! 🙂

  4. Thank you very much for the link the article was very informative. Ramadan Kareem 🙂

  5. It’s good to see a post from you again. I was wondering why you had stopped blogging as I’ve always enjoyed your posts.

  6. M, thank you very much for your sweet comment. I have had the intention to post recipes but I have an ongoing project that is eating up my time. Hopefully, I will be able to post more regularly 🙂

  7. Any recipes on batheeth? 😀 I had it once, about two or three years ago, it was homemade and tasted a bit like peanut butter, which worked pretty well for me. I never bothered buying from restaurants as I know that homemade ones are way better.

  8. Ebby's Mama

    Thanks so much for the tips!

  9. Hi Eman, yes, I do have a recipe for Batheeth (Ba-theeth) or Date Crumble. It is one of my favorite recipes. You can find it over at

    The recipe is from “The Complete United Arab Emirates Cookbook” 🙂

  10. Your welcome 🙂

  11. nice and really helpful tips. Thanks a lot for sharing this blog.

  12. I haven’t tried this dish. I would love to make this with my new orgreenic pot from myvistashop. Thanks for sharing this recipe. Will be checking out for your posts. =)

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