Paya are trotters, the feet of a goat or lamb or any cattle, a rich gourmet food, consumed mostly by recuperating patients for its nourishment. This is especially famous among the muslim community, basically a mughlai dish, expensive and widely popular among the riches(nawabs), who consume this soup with meat and marrow cooked in exotic ayurvedic spices to get the full benefit , while the poor peasants enjoy just the soup made with bones. Well mine too is like a poor mans paya (Do not laugh) as my butcher could not give us the cut with meat. I’m happy with what I got, glad that he at least recognised the term “Paya” and courteously agreed to spare some.Paya is not a common thing here in USA, only certain meat shops and butchers carry this meat and that too..in raw form. Trotters are goat feet, bones from the leg with rich gelatin marrow covered with meat. They are cooked in two forms, 1. first preparation is with skin on, this is the one which we get in India. Cleaning is extremely tough, they smoke the trotters or roast them over open fire to burn off the hair from the feet and hoof. Time consuming and needs extra care to do it perfectly but tastes out of this world. This process is called “Theekkarathu” in Tamil. 2. Second way is to skin the trotter and leave the bones with little meat, the ones we get here in USA, which still taste good like traditional trotters.
Paya Recipe / Aatu Kal Paaya / Paya Kuzhambu / Mutton Paya / Paya Stew / Aatu Kaal Soup / Goat Trotters / Mutton Trotters/ Bone Marrow / Kaal Kari Kuzhambu / Paya Curry / Trotters Soup / Baby Goat Paya
Coming to my preparation, the trotters which I got was full of bones with very less meat and no skin. But decided to try the traditional method to attain little robust flavour. Popped the goat trotters under broiler for few minutes to get the smoky look and flavour. Lets begin the journey to making of this poor man’s paya…..
|2 tsp||Coriander seeds|
|4 nos||Green chilies|
|½ cup||Fresh grated coconut|
|2 tbsp||Split roasted gram/pottukadalai|
|1 nos||Baby goat trotters (oru aatu kaal)|
|2 nos||Onion medium ( chopped)|
|1 no||Tomato (diced)|
|1 tsp||Ginger garlic paste|
|½ tsp||Turmeric powder|
|½ tsp||Red chili powder|
|2 tsp||Salt (or to taste)|
|3 stks||Coriander leaves (chopped for garnishing)|
|5 nos||Curry leaves|
|3 nos||Bay leaf|
|2 nos||Black stone flower/ kalpasi|
|2 nos||Cinnamon stick (small)|
|1 pinch||Cumin seeds|
|¼ tsp||Fennel seeds|
|4 cup||Water (approx)|
Raw paya with shaved off meat looks like this. Roughly one leg with all parts, I guess!
Wash the trotters in cold water. Turn the oven setting to broil, line a baking tray with aluminum foil. Arrange the trotters, place them in the second rack (from top) and broil for 10 minutes to until the blood oozes out and bones turn light brownish.
After smoking they look like this. Retain the juice and liquid.
Preparing to pressure cook
Transfer the smoked trotters along with the juice into a pressure cooker. Add 4 cups of water and pressure cook for 15 minutes(no whistle count) over medium high flame. It may take longer for trotters with lots of meat. Steaming time varies from 20 minutes to an hour depending on the cut of the meat.
Aatu Kaal Soup
Once cooked the fat separates and gives a sticky look. With dash of salt, pepper and coriander powder added to this, makes fresh Paya soup. Very much edible at this stage and good for sick patients. (Aatu Kaal Soup)
Masala and Paste
For the masala: Add a tsp of oil in a small pan, toast the dhania seeds along with green chilies. Add the shallots and toss for few minutes. Let cool and grind to a paste and keep aside.
For the Curry : Grind coconut and roasted gram with little water to a paste and keep aside.
Ingredients for Curry
Finely chop the onions, grind ginger and garlic to a paste, dice the tomatoes. Keep the whole masalas ready with coconut paste and ground masala.
Spicy Paya Stew
Heat oil in a pan, toast the bay leaf adding cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, black stone flower and curry leaves. Add the chopped onions and fry for 6 minutes over medium flame or until they turn slightly crispy. Now add the green chili dhania paste and saute for 5 minutes over low flame to get rid of the raw smell. Add ginger garlic paste and diced tomatoes to this and cook until soft. Now add the cooked trotters with the soup, add turmeric powder, red chili powder and salt. Bring to one boil and simmer until the flavour blends and gravy thickens. Again its very much edible at this point with toasted bread. Lets take it to one step forward to finish the dish the royal way.
Ultimate Aatu Kaal Paya
Add the ground coconut paste to the stew and bring it to one boil, garnish with coriander leaves and switch off. Serve a cup with steaming kal dosais.
Feel Free to help Yourself !!
Recipe Courtesy: Extend sincere thanks to my aunt Mrs. Prema Jambulingam for teaching me this recipe.
Yield: Soup/ Kuzhambu can feed 4 Adults, bone with marrow for 2 approx.
Optional: Cashews and poppy seeds can be grinded along with coconut and roasted gram to make it extra rich.
Exotic Ayurvedic spices: In my recipe Kalpasi adds some health benefits, but even without that the dish acquires more nutrition and flavour from the bone and marrow.
Whole garam masala adds special touch, substitute with garam masala powder if you don’t have them. Whole coriander adds tons of flavour, but quite difficult to grind in small quantity. Adding onions helps to grind them evenly, you can also substitute with powder and include whole chilies.
The soup part of this dish is very good for recovering patients, marrow heals pain, aches and helps to strengthen.