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Paya is a traditional food from the Indian subcontinent.[1] It is also served at various festivals and treated to special guests and people who get together. Paaya means Legs in Hindi and Urdu.[2]

Paya Curry.JPG
Paya curry
Alternative names Siri Paya
Type Soup or curry
Course Dinner
Place of origin Central Asia and Indian subcontinent
Region or state India, Pakistan and Bangladesh
Main ingredients Trotters or hoof (goat, beef, buffalo, or sheep), onions, tomatoes, garlic, curry powder and other spices
Cookbook: Paya  Media: Paya
A man in Kabul selling the ingredients for goat siri paya

The main ingredients of the dish are the trotters (or hoof) of a beef, goat, buffalo or sheep; cooked with various spices.



The paya originated from the amalgamation of South and Central Asian cuisine. In Central Asia it was known as pacha. The dish was adapted to the local cuisines by the Muslim cooks of Lahore, Hyderabad of Telangana State and Lucknow.[1]

Subsequently, paya became popular all over present-day India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. It is also available in restaurants serving Indian and Pakistani cuisines outside South Asia. It is especially very famous in Lahore in Punjab region of Pakistan and Amritsar in Punjab region of India.


Recipes for this dish vary regionally. The soup base is created by sautéed onions and garlic, where a number of curry-based spices are then added. The cooked dish is served with a garnish of fresh diced ginger and fresh long coriander leaves, along with fresh sliced lemon.[3]

Cooking methodsEdit

It is slow cooked on low heat for hours (usually overnight) on the stove. However, it is nowadays 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[4] of this dish. A popular variation is siri paya (سری پایا),[5] where siri means the head of an animal and paya means the feet. It is considered a delicacy.

See alsoEdit