Ok. Enough is enough. Once you let your life take over your… life, there’s never time to blog! But I have to tell you all about one of the glorious perks of having Mother-in-law around: getting to eat paey (beef trotters) every other week!

I was not a paey fanatic growing up, but again, it’s become one of those things that I miss now that I don’t get to eat it that often. But I just love  it when I can go to my MIL, hand her a notebook and pen, ask her to document the entire recipe, and then go off to enjoy my day! That leaves her with all the pressure and responsibility of penning her guesstimate recipes absolutely accurately to share with thousands of people! The best part is that she tackles all her tasks very meticulously, so I know I will have a recipe to treasure for all time.


We all love having paey so that’s definitely on top of our request list when she comes. Now, aren’t you all glad that I had her note it down for me? It’s such a hit- not only do I use it, but now she also uses it because it’s so perfect! I find that really funny, but I do that too; once I note a recipe down, I feel like it’s been emptied out of my head.

The thing about paey is that they are messy. Because of all the gelatin, they are really sticky. If you don’t like getting your hands dirty, then they are not for you. We were invited to a ‘paey party’ once, and I think I might have mentioned this before, but it was a great party because even though we were new, everyone else was good friends and that created a very warm and friendly atmosphere. You have to be good friends, at least, if you’re going to be eating paey with someone! And we dug in the bowls after bowls of endless paey. I think a very good measure of how genuine your friendship with someone is to ask yourself, would I be willing to eat paey with this person? Can I let my guard down enough in front of him/her, just be myself and enjoy this great dish together? 🙂


Did I ever tell you that I haven’t visited Pakistan for 8 years? 8 years!!! That’s a LONG time!! For one reason or another, I just haven’t gone back. Now, especially when I see ‘around the town’ type of pictures of Lahore, I feel heartbreakingly motherland-sick and miss it excruciatingly. I just want to share a few pictures of one of the best paey places in Lahore, and I’m not talking about a high class restaurant. Just a local, grass-root, known-for-taste-not-hygiene type restaurant. In the Punjab, paey are a popular breakfast dish, and I think this restaurant is sold out by 6:00 am! So, enjoy the ambience of Manno Paey, and the yummy, yummy recipe.

Manno Siri Paey, Sultanpura Road, near Chamra Mandi, Lahore. Pictures: Afrin Hussain

Manno Siri Paey, Sultanpura Road, near Chamra Mandi, Lahore. Pictures: Afrin Hussain. Left: Manno himself, Top right: people lined up at 5:00 am for paey breakfast.

Paey are easy! (Just like evvvverything else on Zabiha Bites!) The recipe is for beef paaye but I have successfully used this recipe for goat payas as well, adjusting for the smaller quantity, of course. Compared to beef paaye, goat paaye are all bone and no meat ;). But they’re great in their own way.

Paaye Recipe (For a printable version of this recipe, please click on the ‘Print’ button below)


  • 2 beef paaye
  • just shy of ½ a cup of oil
  • 2 large onions
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp minced ginger
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 3 heaped tsp corriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp garam masala
  • 10 cups water


Chop the onions and fry in the oil in a large pot on medium-medium low heat until golden brown.

Add ginger, garlic and all the spices and stir fry for a few seconds.

Add paey.

Mix them a few times to coat with the masala. No need to bhoonofy.


Add water and let it cook, cook, cook, cook the night away. Oh! I forgot to mention- because of the long cooking time, paey are traditionally cooked all night long. I’m way too scared to leave the stove on and go to sleep so I prefer to cook them all day.

Bring to a simmer and cover and cook on low heat for 5-8 hours or until completely and absolutely tender but still attached to the bone. If they become detached, then you overcooked them. They will still taste fine, but that’s not how they should look. It shouldn’t be halwa, they should be holding their shape but but the meat should slip off the bone very easily when you eat them.

Uncooked payas look and feel like they’re all bone. When payas are completely cooked, the meat on the bone will get soft and puffy.

Adjust the thickness of the gravy according to how you like it. If you want it to be more thick, then increase the heat, remove the lid and let some of the water evaporate. If you want it to be more thin, then add some water and bring it to a boil. If you’re not sure, then leave it the way it is. Once you eat it, you will figure out how you prefer it :).

Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with naan.

[Note: After refrigerating, the gelatin will cause the paaye to become a solid mass. Once you reheat it, it will be fine.]


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