Mutton Paya (Lamb Trotters Soup)
South India is known for its spicy twist of Non vegetarian dishes, using almost every part of the animal to cook a meal. If you are a true blue foodie, you would have either dined or heard of traditional military hotels or a food mess. Serving some authentic, regional dishes that one cannot find in most commercial restaurants. These places do not offer an ambience, you need to be an early riser to enjoy their menu and they are great on taste plus value for money. As a kid, I grew up in a family who loved non veg food. I've grown up watching my aunts descaling fishes, breaking down a whole chicken into curry pieces and also using those special parts (spare parts like some of us would say) - goat brains, liver chops, udder and then the once in a quarter affair would be - trotter soup served with piping hot rice rotis for lunch.
Now to be honest - eating trotters, is an acquired taste for sure. Unlike the main mutton meat which we are all used to - that is soft, stringy. Mutton trotters have a completely contrasting texture - gelatinous grey meat and juicy bone marrow. Which makes the curry sticky,oily and you need to eat this when its nice and hot. Else you're in for a mess - super sticky fingers. There is a technique involved here :)
Best served with a bread which soaks up the curry flavours and its meaty juices like a normal plain sandwich bread, appams, dosa or a rice roti. Though some say its high on cholesterol , fat etc - most doctors would suggest patients to eat Paya soup - especially the one's who have weak bones.
I have always relished the one that my mom prepares back home vs the one's served in a restaurant. Since commercial trotter soups are way too watery, they just present the whole leg that kinda isn't appetising to my senses. So homemade one is something that I wouldn't mind eating once in a while. Since its more hygienic, tastier and the consistency of mom's broth is just about perfect . This is of course her recipe :)
Now make sure your butcher has roasted the legs really well to remove the skin/hair. You will need to wash it under running water, use a slightly blunt knife to remove any visible hair or overly burnt skin. Pressure cooking this meat works best rather than dunking it in a vessel.
A dozen , well roasted & rinsed- lamb trotters (buy lamb since the meat is more succulent and cooks easily)
1 tsp - Turmeric powder
1tbsp - Coriander powder
1.5 tbsp - Red chilli powder (adjust as per your preference)
1 tbsp - rice flour
Salt to taste
Masala Ingredients (blend all of them into a fine paste using water)
1 large onion, chopped and fried in a little oil until golden brown
4-5 sprigs of Coriander leaves
1 inch Ginger
5-6 Garlic pods
1 inch - Cinnamon stick
1. In a large pressure cooker add the lamb trotters, add enough water to completely submerge the trotters and cook on a low flame for 20-30mins.
2. Once your done pressure cooking - transfer all of it including the broth in a large vessel and add the dry spice powders and salt. Cook on a medium flame with a closed lid on for 10mins.
3. Add the ground masala and rice flour - stir well to coat all the pieces. You may add more water to set the consistency basis your preference. Check for spice/salt levels and adjust accordingly.
4. Cook on a low flame for 15 -20 minutes, with intermediate stirring with a closed lid on - until the masala is cooked and raw smell disappears.
5. Serve hot with dosa, appam, rice roti or a paratha.