Try this very easy traditional and lightly spiced mutton paya recipe. A true delight for people who enjoy the subtle taste of lamb trotter and without tons of spices.
This is a traditional Bohra paya recipe that depends on 'hara masala' for the heat in any food. Hara masala is a paste of green chili, ginger, and garlic. So this traditional paya / trotter is really simple in which hara masala is used with fresh coriander and black pepper.
Actually, the tradition of eating trotter curry has been prevalent in Punjabi. That's why paya are almost associated with Punjabi spices.
In contrast, the taste is really mild and not spicy. If you like lightly spiced dishes with the emphasized taste of meat (like in the case of steak) then you'll love the balance in this dish.
This recipe is great for kids. When my kids were very young, I introduced this dish as 'ghee (bone marrow) ka salan' and they would love to see a bowl full of bones with bone marrow, which is a delicacy and is considered healthy for kids.
The recipe come from my mother-in-law who in turn got it from her mother-in-law. Other traditional Bohra recipes are Bohra biryani and Qeema Khichri with Khurdi.
What is the key to best paya?
- Fully cooked soft chewable bone is the key to delicious paya. When you cook paya overnight or under pressure in a cooker or instant pot, the bone of paya becomes so soft you can break it with your teeth and chew the softer bone.
- I know, you are already rolling your eyes. Just make sure you have paya from a younger goat which is more likely to get tender easily.
- Ok, llet's understand why the break-chew factor is important. When the bones are fully cooked they release all the gelatin in them. The sticky gelatin gives so much flavor to the curry and gelatin for your bones which make paya eating so healthy and tasty.
The clearly labeled visual show the ingredients of this recipe. While the few spices should make you happy, you might that the recipe won't taste as great. But trust me few spices let that true paya flavor come out. You'll love it.
Now, I'm not listing all ingredients just important ones.
- Paya, trotter: I used trotter of lamb, the young goat. So the bone of younger animals are soft and cook quickly. You can use the same recipe for beef trotter as well. The cooking time will vary.
- Some paya will have skin on it, you can use that as well. they are better but require more aggressive cleaning. I'd run the back of the knife over it to remove dirt on it. Wash paya carefully and make sure to remove goat hairs carefully.
- Ginger, garlic, chili: The three spices when blended together make a green paste called hara masala. Since we are depending on this for the extra boost of taste try to use fresh masala that is made within 2-3 days and doesn't look pale and stale.
- Oil: I used oil alone but you may use ghee for tempering.
- Wheat flour or Atta: I'm using wheat flour that has a richer taste. You can use plain flour as well. I always add it directly, you can roast it too before making the paste.
- Cilantro: Cilantro or dhanya gives the curry both flavor and color.
- Spices: The spices are cumin, coriander powder, turmeric, clove, and black pepper. You can cinnamon stick. That's it. Stick to these few spices. Do not get tempted to add bay leaf or star anise. Less is more in this case.
How to make it?
- Fry roughly sliced onions until soft. We don't want golden onions.
- Add spices to the onions and fry for one minute.
- Add trotter and keep stirring on medium heat.
- Cook for 2-3 three minutes until the color of the trotter changes.
- Fill the pot with water. We need just enough water to fully submerge the trotter. Cover and cook for 35 minutes in a pressure cooker or slow cooking overnight for 6-8 hours. The trotter must be fully cooked, the bones should have separated from the tissues and you can actually bite into the smaller bones and break them. (See Expert tips)
- Next day, mix wheat flour and water. Add wheat flour slurry to the cooked trotter.
- Fry coriander and garlic in butter or ghee.
- Pour the tempering over the trotter and bring it to boil. Cook for 15 minutes on medium flame until paya gets slightly thickened and no more watery. Adjust salt and consistency of water. ( You can a little lemon juice. Do not make it sour, it helps bring out some flavor. The Paya is ready to serve.
How to serve?
Paya is usually served with karak double roti which is more like crusted bread or naan. You can see naan in the below image. I have photographed karak double roti in the first cover photo. Paya can be paired with any bread but not with rice or other carbs.
You can soak naan in the paya gravy that is full of nutrients and enjoy. You also take out bones and suck the juices and bone marrow. Some small bones can be broken by biting to get the marrow inside. No there is no sophisticated way to eat paya other than wasting the goodness.
- Paya roti: If you'd like some variation make paya roti by mixing naan bread pieces and paya. Garnish with fried onion and boiled eggs. You might need to add extra water to the gravy.
- Goat Head (Siri or Mundi): I've tried adding siri to this recipe but it tastes ok while hubby likes it batter with siri.
- Lamb and Bone marrow (Nalli): If you have extra lamb bone and nalli in hand, they add more flavor to paya.
- If you like a more meaty taste you can add some meat once the paya is cooked halfway.
Paya like many South Asian foods like Nihari and haleem taste best when served the next day. So make sure to make paya at least 4-6 hours before serving and let it stay out in a cool ventilated place. It will taste best like that.
A lot of flavors depending on the cooking of paya so make sure paya are tender and bones have separated from the meat and when you bite into a small bone you can break it.
So in the above photo try to see the consistency that we want for paya and also check how bones have separated and you can actually bite and break this bone with your teeth by breaking your teeth.
Make sure your pot is fully sealed if cooking overnight. Put some heavy objects on the pot to build pressure. Add just enough water to submerge paya completely. Too much water can also stop the temperature and pressure in the pot to go high in the pot. That is necessary to cook paya.
Yes! you can freeze paya for two months without almost any change in taste.
If you like spicy food, add more green chili paste and black pepper to make it spicy.
More Lamb recipes to try.
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- 5 tablespoon oil or ghee
- 2 onions, , medium, roughly sliced
- 1 tablespoon green chilli paste, (hari mirch)
- 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste, (lahsun adrak)
- ½ teaspoon turmeric, (haldi)
- 1 teaspoon cumin, (zeera)
- 1 tablespoon coriander powder
- 4 cloves
- 6 pepper corns
- 400 grams trotters of goat, (bakra ka paya)
- 5 cups water, more as needed
- 3 tablespoon wheat flour
- 3 tablespoon fresh coriander,, chopped
- 6-8 freshly grounded black pepper, (kali mirch)
- In a large pot or pressure cooker heat 3 tablespoons of oil. Fry onions until soft and translucent.
- Add all the spices and fry for 1 minute.
- Now, add trotter and fry for 5 minutes on medium flame until trotter changes its color.
- Pour water and mix well. The water should be just enough to submerge the trotter completely. Cook in a pressure cooker or instant pot for 50 minutes. Alternatively, you can cook overnight for 6-8 hours on medium-low heat. Cover the pot tightly and put some heavy-weight on the lid.
- When the trotters are fully cooked. Cook further on high heat for 3 minutes and keep stirring. ( Bhunai) This will let the onions melt into the gravy. Pro tip: The tissues will separate from the bones ansd the small bones will be soft enough to bite. That's when trotters are cooked.
- Mix water as required and wheat flour to make a smooth paste. Mix the paste very well in the cooked trotter. The gravy will thicken. Add water to adjust consistency if needed.
- Fry garlic in 1 tablespoon oil Add coriander and give it a stir. Pour the tempering over the paya.
- Sprinkle some pepper and serve with naan or karak double roti.
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