Stories From Our Kitchen – Paya Recipe

Paya traditional bone broth pakistan

Today i’m sharing one of my grandfather’s favorite traditional Pakistani recipes! Paye is a bone broth made from cow or goat’s feet infused with spices and onions, slow cooked for almost 12 hours. This recipe has been updated by my mother, who generously taught me how to prepare Paya the traditional way.


This is my grandfather cooking up a delicious meal in our kitchen in NY. This picture must be at least 15 years old, if not older. I was in high school at the time. I remember he always had a mischievous smile when he was in the kitchen. He knew that we disapproved him spending hours on his feet. He didn’t care. Cooking for his family brought him too much joy to give up. Each and every recipe was filled with his love.

Paye is traditionally cooked in the winter months and provide much needed healthful nourishment. More recently, i’ve seen people prepare Paye in pressure cookers, crock pots, and even their ovens! To me, one sign of a good paye recipe is how sticky the paye soup is. If my fingers aren’t sticky when i’m eating it, you didn”t cook it enough! I guess you could call me a Paye snob.

Paye are cooked for at least 12 hours. My grandfather preferred cooking them all night so that we could enjoy them from breakfast. Some of my favorite memories as a child are of waking up to the smell of Paye. I still remember my parents reminding me to suck the bone marrow from the bones during a Paye breakfast (nashta). Now i’m amused when I hear him encouraging our daughter to eat the marrow with in the bones.

One unique step in my grandfather’s recipe was he would always roast the bones on the stove top before cooking them. This step may seem tedious yet it’s this very step that will remove any smell while enhancing the flavor of bone broth. It also burns off any remaining hair that was missed by the butcher.

Take each individual bone and slightly roast it on all sides on stove burner.  Roast for about 2-3 minutes, rotating each bone around gently on the fire. Be careful not to burn the bone. Make sure the soft flesh on the bone is exposed to the fire. You might smell the fat melting off the bones. It’s normal so don’t start worrying.

Have a huge pot with water ready and add each bone into the water to cool after roasting.

Once you have allowed the bones to cool, take each bone and use a knife to gently scrape blackened parts of the flesh. Then just wash them well.

paye

payePaye after they’ve been roasted, scraped, and washed.

Add all the washed Paye with water to a large pot and place on high heat.

Add the chopped onions, ground and whole spices (salt, red chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric, bay leaves, black cardamon, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon) and ginger garlic paste.

You’re adding all the spices except the garam masala!

Ground and whole spices

Mix everything well in water with the paye.

Cover Paye in water and bring to a boil. Then cover the pot, turn the heat down to medium and allow it to boil for for approximately 1 hour til the water is almost completely reduced.



After an hour, the onions will have dissolved with the spices and paye. Then add the oil and  garam masala and fry the paye well for 10 – 15 minutes.

This is what we call “bhoona” in Pakistani/Indian cooking where you fry the meat in oil. This part is crucial to get the most flavors in your meat recipe and removes any smell from the meat.

You will start to see the oil separating from the spices (masala). You know you’re done frying when your arm starts to hurt (and it will if you’re out of shape like me).

Note: The Paye get quite sticky so use a really strong preferably metal spatula and make sure the oil starts to separate from the spices.

Then fill the pot about 3 quarters to the top with water and reduce heat to low. Cover the pot and let it simmer for about 7-8 hours. Yes you read that right. Paye cook for at least 8 hours. Do not reduce the cooking time. Since this is technically a bone broth recipe, the longer you cook it, the more nutritionally dense it will be.

 

My mom usually put a cast iron flat skillet called a Tava in urdu/hindi underneath the pot. This prevents any possibility of burning the paye because the tava will buffer the direct heat to the pot. This way, you don’t have to be worried and constantly checking on the Paye.

I like this Tava because it doesn’t have any raised edges so any size pot will fit on top.

 

After about 8 hours, check the Paye for salt.

Then add chopped cilantro at very end. Serve with Naan, Kulcha, or Afghan Naan.

Bon appetit!

Stories from our kitchen: Paya

Stories from our kitchen: Paya

PAYE

Ingredients

  • 2 paye (Cow or Goat)
  •  
  • Ground spices
  • 2 tablespoons Red chili powder (Laal mirch) 
  • 2 tablespoons Coriander powder (Sukha dhaniya powder) 
  • 1/2 tablespoon Cumin powder (zeera powder)  
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric powder (halthy)  
  • 2 tablespoons Salt 
  • Whole spices
  • 5-6 Bay leaves 
  • 2 Big Black Cardamom, cracked open (Kali Ilachi) 
  • 1/2 Cinnamon Stick ( Daal chini)
  • 15-20 Cloves (Lawng) 
  • 8-10 Whole Black Peppercorns (Sabot Kali Mirch)  
  • 6-7 Medium Onions, roughly chopped 
  • 2 tablespoons Ginger paste 
  • 2 tablespoons Garlic paste
  • 1 bunch fresh Cilantro, roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. Take each individual bone and slightly roast it on all sides on stove burner.  Roast for about 2-3 minutes, rotating each bone around gently on the fire. Be careful not to burn the bone.
  2. Have a huge pot with water ready and add each bone into the water to cool after roasting.
  3. Once you have allowed the bones to cool, take each bone and use a knife to gently scrape blackened parts of the flesh. Then just wash them well.
  4. Add all the washed Paye with water to a large pot and place on high heat.
  5. Add the chopped onions, ground and whole spices (salt, red chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric, bay leaves, black cardamon, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon) and ginger garlic paste. (You’re adding all the spices except the garam masala!)
  6. Mix everything well in water with the paye.
  7. Cover Paye in water and bring to a boil. Then cover the pot, turn the heat down to medium and allow it to boil for for approximately 1 hour til the water is almost completely reduced.
  8.  After an hour, the onions will have dissolved with the spices and paye.
  9. Then add the oil and  garam masala and fry the paye well for 10 - 15 minutes.
  10. You will start to see the oil separating from the spices (masala).
  11. Then fill the pot about 3 quarters to the top with water and reduce heat to low. Cover the pot and let it simmer for about 7-8 hours. You can cook them for up to 12 hours.
  12. After about 8 hours, check the Paye for salt.
  13. Then add chopped cilantro at very end.
  14. Serve with Naan, Kulcha, or Afghan Naan.
http://sakeenahbegum.com/stories-kitchen-paya/

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