Paya (also known as pyaaz) has been around since ancient times.
The word “pay” comes from the Sanskrit language meaning “to chew.”
In India, it is considered an important part of their diet because they use it as a base ingredient for many different types of food.
What Is The Origin Of The Paya Recipe?
The first written record about paya was found in an ancient book called the Mahabharata.
This epic collection of stories dates back to 400 BC.
Paya is mentioned in this text five times.
Although no one knows exactly when the paya recipe started being used by people living in the Indian subcontinent, some historians believe that it originated during the second century AD.
But there are also other theories suggesting that it might have evolved much earlier than that.
For example, historian R.
K.Laxman argues that the paya recipe may have been invented thousands of years ago by nomadic tribes who roamed the region before settling down into villages.
He says that these tribes lived off hunting and gathering wild plants and animals.
They would cook the meat of any animal they caught over open fires.
Over time, they began cooking more foods together like rice, vegetables, and spices.
Then, sometime between 500 and 1000 AD, another group of people moved into the same area.
These new settlers brought with them their own recipes, which included the paya recipe.
So, the two groups mixed their cultures together to create what we know today as the classic paya recipe.
In addition, the paya recipe has its origins in the Mughal Empire.
This empire spanned from 1500-1750 AD.
Many scholars believe that Mughals were responsible for bringing the recipe to Europe.
However, others argue that it could have been introduced later on through trade routes.
How Did The Paya Recipe Come To Be?
The origin of Paya can be traced back to the Vedic era.
Ancient texts show that this type of meat was used as a seasoning back then.
However, the first written record of paya dates back to 1273 A.D., when it was mentioned in the writings of Muslim traveler Ibn Battuta.
He described how he ate paya while traveling through North Africa on his way to Mecca.
In modern-day India, you will find small restaurants serving paya all over the country.
They serve it as either a snack or side dish during lunchtime meals.
You might also see them available at grocery stores near your home.
The most common way to prepare it is by boiling it until tender, which allows the meat to become more easily digestible.
Once it cools down, people cut it into cubes and add spices such as cumin seeds, turmeric, coriander, green chilies, ginger, garlic, dried mint leaves, fenugreek seeds, and salt.
What Are The Key Ingredients In The Paya Recipe?
The main ingredients in this recipe are goat or lamb trotters, which are used in dishes like curries and stews.
They also have a high protein content, making them a great addition when preparing meat-based meals.
When cooking with trotters, there is no need to remove the skin on each one.
Trotter skins can be tough and hard to digest, so removing them can cause indigestion for some people.
If you choose to cook your own paya, you may want to consider using chicken feet instead.
There are several other spices that you will find in the paya recipe.
These include black pepper, cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon sticks, fennel seeds, coriander seed, mustard seeds, turmeric powder, cumin seeds, bay leaves, garlic, ginger root, onion, and lemongrass.
All these spices add flavor and texture to the overall taste of this meal.
How much do you get per serving?
A single serving of paya contains about 1/4 pound of meat and 3 tablespoons of coconut milk.
You can prepare up to four servings at once by doubling the amount of ingredients listed below.
- 1 cup cooked rice
- 5 cups water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup ghee
- ⅓ cup oil
- 6 green chiles
- 8 whole dried red chillies
- 12 curry leaves
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon peeled fresh ginger root
- 1 small white onion chopped finely
- 2 teaspoons ground turmeric mixed into ½ teaspoon hot water
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cups cubed potatoes
- 2 cups cubed ripe tomatoes
- 2 cups cubed carrots
- 2 cups diced yellow squash
- 1 cup peas
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels
- 1 cup canned chickpeas
- 1 cup canned lentils
- 1 quart coconut milk
- 1 cup chopped scallions
- 1 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
- 1 teaspoon salt
(Note: To make more than 4 servings, double all ingredients except the meat and coconut milk)
How Do You Make Paya?
The main ingredient in this curry-like dish is the meat that is found inside the leg bones of goats or sheep.
Once the meat is removed from the bone, it can be ground up into a paste and used in recipes like paya.
If you want to make your own paya at home, here is how you go about doing so:
- Buy some fresh lamb or goat legs.
- Cut off all excess fat and sinew.
- Wash them thoroughly under running water.
- Soak the meat overnight in enough cold water to cover them completely.
- Next day, drain the water from the meat and rinse well again until no bits of dirt remain on the surface.
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, ginger, green chili, turmeric powder, cumin seeds, coriander leaves, salt, sugar, red chilli powder, and 1/4 cup of hot water. Stir everything together well using a wooden spoon.
- Add the soaked meat and mix well. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid, and let simmer for 30 minutes.
- After cooking time, add 2 cups of water and bring back to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to stir the contents regularly. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally for another 45 minutes.
- Once done, remove the lid and set aside to cool slightly before removing any hardened fat that may have formed during cooking.
- Using a blender or food processor, grind the cooked meat along with its juices into a fine paste. You will need to scrape down the sides of the bowl several times while blending to get rid of lumps.
- To serve, ladle out portions of the gravy onto plates and top each portion with a sprinkle of chopped cilantro, sliced green onion, or grated coconut if desired. Serve immediately.
What Is The Best Way To Cook Paya?
The first step in cooking paya is to soak them overnight in water.
After soaking, they can be boiled for about 30 minutes until tender.
You will know that your payas have cooked long enough when you can easily stick a fork into one.
After they are done boiling, remove them from heat and set aside.
Once they cool down slightly, cut them open so that all the meaty parts come out.
Remove any bones by hand or using tweezers.
Next, put the meat back together.
You may want to leave off the skin on the outside, but I personally love the texture that the skin adds to the meal.
If you would like to remove the skin, simply take a knife and scrape away at the outer layer.
It should not be difficult to get through if you try hard enough!
Once you have reassembled the pieces, add salt to taste and cover with fresh water.
Let this simmer over low heat for another 20-30 minutes.
At this point, you can either serve the paya as is or strain them out to create a gravy.
To strain the paya, place a strainer over a bowl.
Then pour the contents of the pot into the strainer and let the liquid drain into the bowl below.
If you prefer to eat your paya without making a broth, boil it again and then chop up the meat.
Add spices such as turmeric, garam masala, cumin powder, coriander powder, and chili flakes.
Serve with rice or rotis.
What Are Some Of The Most Popular Paya Dishes?
Here are just a few examples of how you can prepare this tasty dish:
- Jhalmuri – One of the most famous recipes that uses paya is jhalmuri. Its name translates into “butter milk” in Hindi. You will need 3 pounds of goat legs or 1 ½ pounds of lamb ones, 2 cups of water, 4 tablespoons of butter, 12 cloves of garlic, 5 green cardamoms, 3 bay leaves, one cinnamon stick, salt, and pepper.
- Biryani – Biryani is another great example of using paya as its main ingredient. While biryani originated in Persia, it was brought over by the Persians to India during the Mughal Empire. Nowadays it is widely eaten throughout India and Pakistan.
- Kheema Pulao – Kheema means curd, while pulao refers to rice. So kheema pulao literally means “curds on rice.” To make this delicious meal, you will need 1 pound of meaty bones such as beef bones, mutton bones, chicken wings, or even turkey necks. You will also need 3 ½ quarts of water, 6 onions cut into wedges, 2 teaspoons of ginger grated, 2 cups of basmati rice, ¼ cup of mustard seeds, 4 whole dried red chilies, 4 whole black peppercorns, half teaspoon of turmeric powder, a pinch of saffron, 1/3 cup of ghee, and salt to taste.
- Murgh Masala – Murgh masala is another classic paya recipe. If you have never had this amazing dish before, then you should definitely try making your own. For murgh masala, you will need 1 pound of skinless chicken thighs, 2 medium potatoes peeled and chopped, ½ cup of onion finely sliced, 1 tablespoon of ginger grated, 2 tablespoons of coriander seed crushed, ½ teaspoon of cumin powder, ½ teaspoon of garam masala, ¼ cup of tomato paste, ¼ cup of coconut cream, ½ cup of yogurt, and salt to taste.
- Khichdi – Khichdi is a very simple yet filling dish that consists of cooked lentils combined with other ingredients like dals, vegetables, spices, and sometimes animal products like eggs or cow’s milk. It is typically prepared at home with little effort involved.
What Are Some Of The Health Benefits Of The Paya Recipe?
Here are just a few ways that you can benefit from eating this type of meat:
- The protein content in paya is high. One ounce contains approximately 27 grams of protein.
- It is rich in minerals like iron, zinc, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and copper.
- There are also omega-3 fatty acids found in this plant-based source of protein which will help your body to absorb fat more efficiently.
- A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that a 3-ounce serving of cooked goat leg meat reduced LDL cholesterol by about 10 percent and increased HDL cholesterol by almost 18 percent compared to unprocessed beef liver. Beef liver was used as a positive control for comparison purposes.
- Another study showed that goats legs had much lower levels of saturated fats than chicken thighs. Chicken thigh on the other hand provided the highest amount of calories per gram of proteins.
- Paya is low in carbohydrates but very high in fiber. Fiber helps keep people full longer and prevents blood sugar spikes. That means that payas will not cause you to crash after you eat them.
What Are Some Of The Drawbacks Of The Paya Recipe
One of the most common reasons why people do not like this particular recipe is that it contains animal products such as goat or lamb trotters.
These ingredients may seem unappealing to Westerners who have become accustomed to vegetarianism over the last few generations.
Another reason why people might not enjoy eating paya is the strong smell associated with its preparation.
While there are several methods used in preparing the dish, one of them involves chopping up the meat and simmering the pieces until tender.
Once cooked, the meat must then be removed from the pot and placed on a serving plate.
At this point, the odor becomes very noticeable, especially when you add fresh spices into the mix.
Some people find these factors to be off-putting enough to make them avoid this type of meal altogether.
However, if you want to try your hand at making this delicious dish but still don’t want to eat any kind of meat, here are a couple of tips for how to prepare paya without using animal parts.
How Can The Paya Recipe Be Improved?
When making this type of recipe, don’t overdo it on the spices.
Paya is very spicy, but you want to keep things balanced so that your family doesn’t get too sick after eating it all at once! Also, make sure you have enough water in the pot.
Step 1: Cleaning Your Trotter Bones
- Wash your meat thoroughly using cold running water
- Use a sharp knife to remove any excess fat
- Remove any remaining hair by scraping them off with the blade of your knife
- Rinse well again
Step 2: Cutting Your Trotter Meat into Pieces
- Cut each bone into four pieces with a pair of kitchen scissors
- Place the bones back together
- Keep going until there aren’t any more bones left
- Put the bones in your freezer overnight to freeze solid
Step 3: Making the Soup Base
- Take out your frozen trotter bones and place them in a large pot
- Add two cups of water
- Bring everything up to a boil and let simmer gently for about 30 minutes
- Strain the liquid through cheesecloth, leaving behind the solidified fats
- Replace the filtered liquid in the pot with fresh water
- Add salt and pepper to taste
- Simmer gently for another 20 minutes
- Let cool before serving
Step 4: Adding Other Ingredients
- After step three above, add one cup of chopped onions to the pot
- Cook for 5-10 minutes until soft
- Then add half a teaspoon of turmeric powder to the mixture
- Sauté for a couple of minutes
- Next, add one tablespoon of ginger paste and stir
- Continue sautéing for five minutes
- Add one pound of cubed potatoes and cook for 10 minutes
- Add one cup of carrots and cook for another five minutes
- Once the vegetables start getting tender, add one cup of peas and cook for another 5-8 minutes
Step 5: Garnishing With Fresh Mint Leaves
- Chop a handful of mint leaves and add them to the mix
- Taste test and adjust seasoning if needed
- Serve hot with rice and roti
What Are Some Of The Other Recipes Similar To The Paya Recipe?
The paya recipe shares similarities with several others that have been created over time.
One of these recipes features goat meat in a broth while another uses lamb.
There are also variations on this theme where the meat is cut into small pieces instead of whole legs.
There are two main reasons why people eat paya – the first one being its ability to prevent certain types of illnesses such as cancer.
Some studies have shown that the consumption of payas may help reduce the risk of developing breast cancer by up to 55 percent.
This could be due to their high levels of zinc which helps protect against DNA damage.
Another reason why people might choose to include paya in their diets is that it contains large amounts of collagen.
Collagen is used by our bodies to repair damaged skin cells.
If you consume more collagen than your body needs, you will end up storing excess protein.
Payas are rich sources of this nutrient therefore they can provide additional benefits for those who want to maintain healthy skin.
Here is how to make the paya recipe:
- Combine 3 cups water, 1 cup vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons salt, 4 cloves garlic, 1 teaspoon turmeric and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper in a pot.
- Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat.
- Add 5 pounds of goat leg bones with any remaining fat attached.
- Cover the pot with a lid and bring to a low simmer.
- Cook for about 2 hours until all the meat falls off the bone.
- Remove the goat leg bones and discard them.
- Strain the liquid through cheesecloth into a bowl and let cool completely before using.
- 8 pcs Mutton
- 2 tbsp Ginger garlic paste
- 250 gms Onions
- 1 tsp Coriander powder
- 4 tsp Red chili powder
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
- 1/2 cup Brown Onions
- 1/2 tsp Whole spice powder
- 1/2 cup Oil
- Coriander leaves
- Green chilies
- Wash the trotters and hoof (Paya) of mutton, beef, and lamb well.
- Add water, trotters or hoof, ginger garlic paste, and chopped onions to a large pan. Boil it until it becomes soft.
- Curry is made by heating oil in a separate pan and adding salt, turmeric, red chili powder, coriander powder, and garlic and ginger paste. Well-fry the mixture.
- Next, add a couple tablespoons of water and a cup or two of crushed brown onions to the curry mixture.
- Stir well after adding the boiling trotters or hoof to the curry mixture.
- When the trotters or hoofs are soft, cover the pan and cook it on low heat with the leftover trotters/hoof stock.
- Add the full spice powder (Garam masala) last, then extinguish the flame.
- Garnish the dish with ginger, coriander leaves, lemon slices, and green chilies before serving it on a large platter. Serve alongside warm Naan.