Paya means ‘Feet’ Paya Curry (Curried trotters) is one of the most popular Dish in the Punjab and would you believe are usually eaten at breakfast. I suppose, being a very hot climate and workers having to go out for the whole day, its a good and hearty start to their day and will see them though till their evening meal. For us Europeans its not the most healthiest of dishes but it certainly is one you must try now and again. Forget the calories!
Before i had even tried this curry (30 years ago) i just did not like the idea of eating feet ughh! One day when i was visiting friends this is all they had cooked and i didn’t want to be rude so i forced myself to dip my chapatti in the juice. As i was eating i thought, this is not bad, could do with a bit more flavour but without the jelly of the feet i thought ‘i can do this’. I asked for the recipie and adapted it to my liking and now its one of my favourites.
I always make a larger quantity that you would normally find in recipies around the net because it takes so long to cook and it freezes very well, it makes sense.
- 10 sheep’s feet cut into 3 pieces per leg (1 1/2 kg)
- 500g finely chopped Onion
- 5 tbsp of rapeseed oil or vegetable oil
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
- 12 cloves of garlic
- 1 inch piece of cinnemon bark
- 1 tsp fenagreek
- 4 tsp good quality curry powder
- 2 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 heaped tbsp of fresh corriander
- 1 inch piece of fresh ginger
- 6/8 green chillies chopped
- 1/2 tsp red chili powder
- 2 tsp of garam masala
- Salt to taste,( start off with 1 tsp)
- 1 bay leaf
Serves 6 to 8 people
Wash the legs under running water . They should have already been cleaned and any hair burnt off before you bought them.
Put them in a pressure cooker along with salt , 800 ml of water, half the garlic and the ginger. Cook for 1 hour or 1 1/2 if the feet are thick to save on the simmer time.
In a seperate saucepan add 5 tablespoons of oil with the chopped onion and fry until light golden. Add the remaining garlic, crushed and fry until brown and the onions have caramalised.
Add the tomatoes and the remaining dry spices and stir fry for about 5 minutes, mashing up the lumps of tomato (I hate lumps of anything in my gravy unless its meat :-). Add a little water if the paste starts sticking to your pan. Now add the part cooked feet to this and stir fry for about 10 minutes to brown the feet a little.
Add 1 1/2 litres of hot water and bring to a boil for a few minutes then turn the heat down to simmer for 4 to 5 hours depending on the thickness of the feet. 1 1/2 litres of water might seem like a lot but dont forget it will be cooking for many hours and you can reduce at the end.
Towards the end of cooking add the chopped corriander.
I like the juice fairly thick and gooy so it holds to the chapatti or naan. I also cook until the meat has completley fallen off the bone so if there looks like there is a little too much water at the end, boil on a high heat to reduce it. I usually have the gravy just about level with the feet in the pan.
P.s As i wanted to take this picture in the daylight i took some Paya from the pan before it was quite ready for my taste. Its still tender but not falling off the bone.
The Curry Guy makes his slightly different than mine and uses goats paya but it sounds delicious and as good or even better than many in a Pakistani home. If you want to make yours in a slow cooker then check his recipie out.