Light, flavourful and delicious, this Lamb Paya Curry is a traditional south Indian delicacy which is relished by the muslims in South India. It is mostly enjoyed for breakfast with layered parotas or appam (rice hoppers). There are many variations of this recipe. It can be of soupy or gravy consistency according to your liking. Some restaurants in Chennai serve it as a white korma made with a blend of coconut, roasted gram etc flavoured with different whole spices. I will be adding that version soon.
4 Lamb Paya (Trotters) plus some extra bones (4-6)
2 tsp fresh ginger garlic paste
2 onions( 2 cups sliced )
1 x 2 inch cinnamon stick
4- 6 green cardamoms
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/4 cup ground coconut
4 – 6 green chillies
1 tsp Shaan’s zafrani garam masala (optional)
1/2 tsp crushed black pepper
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
4 – 6 tbs vegetable oil
Fried onions, ginger juliennes, chopped fresh cilantro and thin onion rings as condiments and garnish.
1. Clean the lamb trotters well, scraping each piece separately. Cut in between the two hooves and remove the glands and discard them as shown in the video. Scrape them with a knife or scrub with a new scouring pad and rinse well at least 3 or 4 times till there are no small hairs or dirt at the edges or anywhere else. The bleached trotters are usually clean. Still it is better to scrape and clean them as well.
2. Slice the onions, grind the ginger garlic paste, cut the ginger into juliennes, chop the cilantro and set aside.
3. Place the cleaned lamb paya in the instant pot, add 2 – 3 cups of water, 1 tsp ginger garlic paste, salt, 2 green chillies then cover with the lid. Choose the pressure cook setting and set the time for 25 minutes.
4. Meanwhile heat oil in a separate pot. Throw in the whole garam masala spices (cloves, green cardamoms, cinnamon, fennel seeds and bay leaf) followed by the sliced onions and fry them till translucent and golden brown.
5. Now add the ginger garlic paste, turmeric, coriander powder and red chilli powder, whole green chillies (stems removed), stir to combine then add the ground coconut paste. Mix everything well. Switch of the stove and set aside.
6. After 25 minutes when the Instant Pot beeps, allow it to NPR (Natural pressure release) or if you are in a rush, you can do a QPR too.
7. Open the Instant Pot lid after all the steam is out and add the prepared masala. Mix well. Taste and adjust the salt. Take a paya piece and check to see how tender it is. Depending on how much it is cooked you could set your cooking time accordingly. Mine were half done after 25 minutes of cooking. Some payas (trotters) cook faster and some take longer to tenderize. They normally take about 45 mins to an hour to cook. They should be soft and should fall off the bone when handled. But still not so soft as to be mushy. If you over cook them the bones become softer too which is not enjoyable. So now you can set the time for another 25 minutes which is what I did and they were just perfect.
8. When done remove the lid and add more chopped cilantro and let them simmer for 5 mins or till the oil rises on top. As for the consistency you could either reduce it and have it as a thick gravy or make it soupy. As a finishing touch you can add Shaan’s zafrani garam masala and crushed black pepper.
9. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve them hot with ginger juliennes, crispy fried onions, diced green chillies, chopped cilantro and fresh onion rings as accompaniments or garnish.
10. Add a ladle of Paya curry to your plate or bowl, sprinkle some crispy fried onions, green chillies, ginger juliennes and some cilantro on it, dip a piece of the layered flaky parotta in the curry and enjoy!
1. Locate and remove the glands as shown in the video and discard them. Rinse the Paya thoroughly in running water and clean them well.
2.Cooking time may vary with the Paya depending on the age of the lamb, the younger the lamb the faster they tenderize. So cooking time has to be adjusted accordingly. It also depends on your pressure cooker or Instant pot.
3. Another option is to slow cook them using the Instant pot or slow cooker.
4. You may add as much red chilli powder as you want according to your spice level, or even cook without it as the curry is still delicious.
5. Paya is best enjoyed with appam (rice hoppers), layered parottas, Rumali roti and Naan.