Special cuisine of ‘Peshawari Paye’ becomes desired dish during Ramzan

By Adeel Saeed

PESHAWAR, Apr 08 (APP):Struggling to wade through rush of people gathered outside an eatery at Ghanj area in interior city, middle-aged Mujeeb was trying to reach close to salesman for purchasing a bowl of Peshawari Paye, a special dish made of cow or buffalo trotters cooked in oil and spices within a deep earthen cauldron.

“Paye has a special liking for foodies, but in the holy month of Ramzan, its desire becomes irresistible forcing us to spare time and get a meat bowl after a long struggle,” Mujeeb explains about the hard work he is doing to get his favorite dish for breakfast.

“The taste and aroma of trotters being sold in Peshawar have no match and can be presented as a special dish reflecting culinary dexterity of chefs of our region,” he said while talking to the news agency.

“Peshawari paye is a traditional dish and majority of people associated with its cooking have inherited this skill from their ancestors,” informs Habib, an owner of a trotter shop in Yakatoot area of Peshawar. He said that he was from third generation who was engaged in business at the same shop set up by his forefather in 1920.

For the last one century, “We are cooking paye on daily basis as a result of which the taste of our dish has become unique and much attractive for customers.” People also cook trotters at home but cannot get the taste which they enjoy from paye prepared commercially at shops, Habib claimed.

In the holy month of Ramzan when people fast from dawn-to-dusk, demand for paye increases manifold because the faithful enjoy eating their favorite dish after breaking fast, he added. He said trotters are sold in morning as a breakfast dish but in Ramzan it is offered to customers from afternoon till evening.

“Trotters have a special liking among denizens of Peshawar who enjoy it on every happy occasion and during gatherings of relatives and friends,” observed Saeed Ahmad, an octogenarian local resident of Peshawar.

People call their relatives and friends for inviting them at lunch or dinner with an enticing offer of trotters as part of the menu, Saeed Ahmad added.
“Being a senior citizen, eating of such a gelatinous food having high level of cholesterol is not suitable for my health, but cannot resist when an offer of feast of trotters is made by a friend of any relative,” he added.

After taking such a heavy meal we also take couple of cups of Pesahwari Qehwa (green tea with ground cardamon) for digestion, he added.
In Peshawar, there are more than 25 shops of trotter sellers supplying special dish to lovers of traditional food, informed Yaseen, another seller of Peshawar paye.

Yaseen is also third generation of his family continuing with trade of trotter cooking and selling in Peshawar city. He said the cooking procedure of trotters takes around 10 to 12 hours in preparation.

First we purchase trotters from abattoir and then boil them for removing hair from it by using sharp knife. The cleaned trotters are put in an earthen cauldron and cooking starts at night till morning on low flame.

About the recipe, Yaseen says it is very simple comprising of turmeric, salt, pepper both red and black, cumin and cooking oil. He said the main reason behind unique taste of trotters prepared at shops is its cooking in bulk.

Yaseen said he usually cooks around 15 to 20 trotters on daily basis and sells a bowl at a price of Rs. 350 which is enough for a single person.

However, in Ramzan the quantity of trotters increased to 25 to 35 trotters on daily basis due to high demand by faithful. He admitted that price of cooked trotters has increased manifold and is getting out of the range of poor people, blaming high price of ingredients specially gas charges, shop rents, enhanced price of cooking oil etc.

“Most of our patients admit that advise of avoiding oily meal especially trotters is ignored by them” shared Dr. Muhammad Shezad, a general physician practicing in city area. He said, “Some of our dishes have especial penchant by people and they cannot resist eating even knowing the fact that its intake is injurious to their health.”

Realizing popularity of Pesahwari Paye through use of social media, foreign tourists and famous Food Vloggers also taste trotters during their visit to Peshawar. “A number of international vloggers visited our shop and made video while enjoying our hospitality and taste of especial trotters”, Yaseen added.