Attukal Paya (sometimes spelled as Aattukaal Paya or just Paya) is a hearty soup made with lamb, sheep, or goat feet served in South India. What fascinates me about this dish is that it’s often served for breakfast – initially this sounded strange to me, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense; why not start your day out with some nutritious bone broth soup?
I also love the idea of throwing together a bunch of ingredients at night and waking up to breakfast already made!
There are four main benefits to making your own homemade stock:
1. It saves you money, especially if you use leftover chicken parts. As you’ll see in this recipe, even buying chicken parts specifically for stock is still cheaper than buying commercially-available stock.
2. You get to control the taste of the broth, especially how much salt goes into it – which in my case is NONE. I prefer to add salt to my dishes as I cook them, without having to worry about how salty my broth is going to make my dish.
3. You can make it as concentrated as you’d like, which helps you save valuable freezer/fridge space.
4. You have control over where the chicken comes from, and how it was processed, by purchasing your birds/parts from a local farm or from awesome places like U.S. Wellness Meats.
For this recipe, I used chicken parts from U.S. Wellness Meats; specifically, chicken backs and necks. I used these parts because they have lots of bones, which house a lot of nutrients that are imparted into the broth. U.S. Wellness Meats were out of chicken feet at the time of my order, so I got some locally. These are great because they are full of bones and collagen, which create a rich, flavorful, and gelatinous broth. Other options for chicken parts are leftover chicken carcasses (store them in the freezer after roasting a chicken, until you have a few ready to go), or whole stewing hens (older chickens that are too tough to eat using quick-cooking methods).
Many stores or butcher shops have beef marrow bones on the cheap, which make a dense and highly nutritious stock and excellent soup base. Although I’ve made my own stock using oxtails I’ve been wanting to try my hand at other soups, so marrow bones seemed like the best starting spot.
Before we dive into this recipe, let’s have a quick culinary lesson. “Stock” refers to a liquid that’s made from simmering bones, and “broth” is made from meat. You can use both, and as far as I know that’s still referred to as “stock”. Now that we have that cleared up, let’s make some food.