Nani-maa’s Paya

Nani-maa’s Paya

My grandmother, like all grandmothers, is a great cook. As a child, I spent many a summer in Dewsbury and paya were frequently on the menu. Paya is a delicious, slow-cooked lamb trotter dish, served as a deeply flavoured, highly gelatinous soup.
This Gujarati-style paya recipe was taught to Foodiechief by my grandmother, who passed on this culinary knowledge to me.
Paya is a great winter warming dish and is also served as a nutritious soup during Iftar.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Course Appetizer, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 5


  • 1 large heavy-bottomed pot


  • 1 kg lamb paya (trotters). cut into pieces
  • 1 tbsp ghee clarified butter
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 5 whole green cardamom
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 pieces cinnamon inch size pieces
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp garlic diced/minced
  • 2 tbsp ginger diced/minced

Pearl barley, soup base

  • 1 cup pearl barley

Wagaar (tempered spice paste)

  • 1 medium onion diced
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp green chilli (quantity to taste) minced
  • 2 tbsp garlic diced/minced
  • tbsp ginger diced/minced
  • 1 tomato grated, skin decarded
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp roti atta or plain flour
  • ½ tsp garam masala

Finishing herbs

  • ½ cup fresh coriander leaves chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves chopped
  • 2 green chillis (optional, to taste) diced

Red onion salad (kachumber)

  • 1 red onions thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3 tsp white vinegar
  • tsp salt or to taste
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp black pepper powder
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint leaves chopped
  • 1 tsp green chilli finely sliced, optional


Slow cooking the paya

Can you use a pressure cooker

  • A pressure cooker will reduce the cooking time substantially, but be careful. As the pressure cooker can spit out hot oil. My Nani always cooked without pressure, its a long cook, but its mostly unattended. The slow and long cook of the paya most definitely enhances the final dish compared to pressure cooking. Finally, cooking without pressure allows you to control the texture of the paya. Pressure cooking sometimes overcooks the paya and they disintegrate into the sauce.

Pearl barley base

After 5 hours

Wagaar (tempered spice paste)

Adjusting the final consistency

Finishing herbs

How does its taste?

Red onion salad (kachumber)

  • Make a vinaigrette with white vinegar, olive oil, salt, black pepper and sugar. Taste and adjust as necessary.
  • Add the thinly sliced onion, fresh coriander, mint and green chilli (if using)

Any questions?


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