Paya (Food)

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Meat seller in Kabul.jpg
A man in Peshawar selling the ingredients for goat Siri Paya
Type Breakfast
Main ingredients
Trotters or Hoof (cow, goat or lamb), onions, tomatoes, garlic, curry spices
Cookbook:Paya  Paya

Paya (Urdu: پایا‎) is a traditional breakfast dish of India and Pakistan.[1] It is also served at various festivals and treated to special guests and get togethers. Paaya means feet in Urdu or Hindi.[2]

The main ingredients of the dish are the Trotters or Hoof of a cow, goat or lamb; cooked with various spices.


The Origin of Paya lies in the Persian Cuisine[3] which was brought in Peshawar by Persian traders in to the Sub-Continent through Peshawar city. The Muslim cooks[3] for the Mughal Rulers quickly adopted it hence it became the food of royalties. The popularity quickly spread all over the Sub-Continent through Peshawar City. After the independence, many of the famous cooks of Peshawar, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Dehli migrated to Karachi and Lahore, Pakistan, from there it spread all over Pakistan.

Although, Paya was a food of royalties, however, now it is cooked all over Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. It is also available in most restaurants serving Pakistani and Indian cuisines all over the world.


Recipes for this dish vary slightly from region to region. The soup base is created by sauteed onions, tomatoes, and garlic to which a number of curry-based spices are added. The cooked dish is served with a garnish of fresh diced ginger and fresh long coriander leaves along with fresh sliced lemon.[4]

Cooking Method[edit]

It is slow cooked on low heat for hours (usually over night) on stove. However, nowadays it is mostly cooked in a pressure cooker.

Historically, when people used wood or coal as a cooking fuel, women would start this dish at night and slow cook it in the coals until the morning. This dish has a soup-like consistency and is usually eaten as a breakfast food in the winter months with naan.


There are many variations[5] of this dish a popular variation is Siri Paya (سری پایا)[6] siri means the head of the animal and paya means the feet. It is considered a delicacy.

Some of the most famous outlets for siri paya are in Lahore.[7][8]

See also[edit]