Andhra style paaya ka saalan

Paya, goats leg/trotters is one of my favourite comfort foods, made in a very rich sauce made with Indian spices. Paya is famous and favourite among the Muslim communities in India, Pakistan and other parts of the world and also among others who love trotters. Paya means trotters or feet of goat, lamb or cow. Paya is famous in India, everyone has their own recipe including restaurants. Soups and curries made from paya are usually consumed in India during winter months. We often make it in a curry form (gravy or saalan in urdu). It is usually a spicy curry or soup rich with gelatine from the bone marrow. It has to be eaten when you are relaxing and at leisure with all your family members at home.

To prepare paya is a very long process, if cooking tradionally, it is a long and slow process. Traditionally, paya was left to be cooked in the whole night, on slow process on very low flame. Paya is very popular in Hyderabad during break fast time and also prepared during Ramadan and Bakrid . In Hyderabad and other few places, traditionally paya are cooked overnight and served in the morning for breakfast by 7am, when paya is boiled or cooked, the stock is full of gelatinous fat, with distinct taste and flavour with juicy bones and the melted marrow in the stock. Cooking paya is easy and a lot quicker if you have a pressure cooker. The main thing to remember is how you clean it. If it’s cooked with the skin, make sure to roast the trotters over a fire to burn off any loose hair (of course do be careful whilst doing this!). If you prefer you can ask your butcher to take the skin off and leave the little meat on with the bone.

This time Iam sharing paaya ka saalan our home style (Andhra style). It can be lamb or goats paya (trotters). In my home it is served with chapathi (roti) and in my mother in laws house idiyappam, set dosa or with just plain rice.

Preparation time: 40 mins (including paya stock)

Cooking time: 1 hour

Cuisine: Andhra pradesh

Serves: 4 to 5

Spiciness: Hot


  • Lamb/goat trotters – 6
  • For stock

  • Water – 6 to 7 cups
  • Green cardamom – 8
  • Cloves – 8
  • Cinnamon stick (2 inch pieces)– 2
  • Bay leaves – 3
  • Black pepper corns – 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Ginger and garlic paste – 3 tsp
  • For paste

  • Onion (medium) – 3
  • Tomato (medium) – 4
  • Fresh coconut – 1/4 cup
  • Water - 1/2 cup
  • For the curry

  • Oil – 1/3 cup
  • Cloves – 3
  • Cinnamon stick (1 inch) – 1
  • Green cardamom – 3
  • Water or mutton stock – 1 1/2 cup
  • Ginger and garlic paste – 2 tbsp
  • Chilli powder – 3 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
  • Green chillies – 5
  • Coriander leaves (chopped) – 1/2 cup


    Cleaning process

  • First ask your butcher to give you very good trotters which are cleaned and burned.
  • Before cooking paya, the most important thing is to clean it.
  • There are two ways either you roast the trotters on fire to burn the hairs on the feet. Ask your butcher to give you very good trotters, which are burned. The butcher will do the work for you, but still if some remains do it on the gas stove but very gently (simmer flame) and carefully.
  • Wash the trotters under clean water and keep it aside.
  • The other way is to skin the paya completely. I always prefer with skin.
  • Boiling trotters

  • I have cooked the trotters (paya) in the pressure cooker. But you can cook it in a vessel, if you don’t have a pressure cooker.
  • Add all the ingredients, whole spices, ginger and garlic paste, turmeric powder and water covering all the trotters and cook up to 12 to 15 whistles on medium flame until the payas (trotters) are well cooked.
  • If it is not cooked properly but the water is reduced, add 1 more cup of water and pressure cook for some more time. Paya takes a long time to cook – it takes more time than any other meat. You can cook in a vessel also, but it will take much more time. When paya is cooked, keep it aside.
  • At this stage the paya is gelatinous and sticky, which means it is cooked.
  • For the paste

  • Add all the ingredients in a mixer and grind to a paste. Keep it aside.
  • For the curry

  • Heat a wider vessel or you can use the same pressure cooker after transfering the cooked paya into another vessel.
  • Add oil, when hot add whole spices. After 5 seconds, add the paste, ginger and garlic paste, chilli powder, turmeric powder, water or mutton stock 1 1/2 cup. Boil for about 5 minutes.
  • Add chopped tomato (1/2), green chillies , cooked paya (trotters) and its stock(paya stock) in the curry and cook for 10minutes on medium flame by closing the lid.
  • Add coriander leaves, mix and cook on low flame (simmer flame) for about 30 minutes by closing the lid. Let it rest for 2 to 3 hours.
  • Mix the curry well before serving.
  • Serve hot with chapathi (roti or paratha) or idli, dosa or idiyappam.


  • Always cook paya first. Only then you will know how much paya stock you have and how much water you need to add while cooking the gravy.
  • Instead of water, if you have any mutton stock, add in the curry apart from the paya stock, while preparing.
  • If you have enough quantity of paya stock, then you don’t need to add water to the gravy.
  • You can alter the quantity of chilli powder according to your taste.
  • While cooking paya I add few bones of lamb or mutton (optional) , if available at home, just for the taste and flavour.

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