Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Chettinad Mutton Soup / Aatukaal Paaya


Call it by any name - Chettinad mutton soup, Chettinad mutton bone soup, Aatukaal soup, Aatukaal paaya, Trotter soup, Nenjelumbu soup based on the type of bones used - This is my most favorite soup in the whole world! :) There's absolutely nothing else like this one. To top it off, this mineral rich bone soup is very good for health.

My mom learnt this recipe in Sivakaasi, from her neighbors who were from Kaaraikudi. The recipe calls for fire roasted trotters (நெருப்பில் வாட்டிய ஆட்டுக்கால்) because trotters have more collagen in them. When cooked, the collagen becomes gelatin and the broth gets very rich and has healing properties. If you can't get trotters, you can use any kind of mutton bones. I've used goat/lamb bones with good results. Since I can't flame-roast them at home, I broil the bones in the oven and that gives a rich, smoky flavor. And for making the soup part, You can use a pressure cooker or a slow cooker. I use both methods depending on my availability at home that day - And both methods give excellent results!

While making this soup seem very easy, don't underestimate the recipe. It is really good. Having eaten (drunk?) this soup umpteen times, I tried once at a restaurant, popular for its Chettinad food and found that actually mine was better. :p To the kind person who shared this simple but amazing recipe with my mom, Thank you very much!! :) And thanks mom, for passing it on to me. Now I pass it on to everybody else who'd want to try this.

Goat Trotters, cleaned and chopped - 1-2 lbs (You can use any mutton bones - that's what I do)
Coriander leaves - handful, cleaned and chopped
Salt - 1 tsp
Apple cider vinegar - 1-3 tbsp (optional) The original recipe doesn't call for this, but I add this to draw out all the minerals and nutrients from the bones.You can add lemon juice too.

Broil the mutton bones until the bones are roasted, say for 20 mins. If the bones are frozen, it might take more time. Keep a closer watch on the bones once they are in the oven. I sometimes broil the bones the previous night and put it in the fridge, so that I can make the soup in the morning to get a head start on making lunch.

Grind to a 'coarse' paste
Pearl onions - 5-10 (substitute with 1 red onion)
Ripe Tomato - 1
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Pepper - 2 tsp (add more if you can take the heat!)
Ginger - 1 inch
Garlic - 4-5 pods
(In case you are wondering, No! this recipe does NOT have coriander powder in it!!)

Pressure cooker method:
Put the broiled bones, ground paste, turmeric powder, salt, apple cider vinegar, cilantro and about 5-6 cups of water (I don't measure) in the pressure cooker. Pressure cook for 10 whistles in medium heat. Let the pressure cool down [No, Don't be sneaky and lift the weight off like my DH used to do. The wait is so worth it!]. Adjust salt and pepper and serve hot.

Slow cooker method:
This is super easy.
Put the broiled bones, ground paste, turmeric powder, salt, apple cider vinegar, cilantro and about 5-6 cups of water (I don't measure) in the crockpot. Cook on slow for 8 hrs. Then put it on high for another 2-4 hrs. Adjust salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Some even mix this soup in hot steamed rice. It's good that way too.

25 comments:

anudivya said...

Sounds great, here comes my weird question, is there a veggie version for paaya? :)

Kay said...

I might have a 'yes' for you... Not as mineral rich et al - but a similar taste. I don't have the recipe handy... it's lost in my book mark jungle, Google for vegan chicken noodle soup... It was a vegan version of chicken noodle soup with Bragg's amino acids and/or brewer's yeast. You are a resourceful girl. With modifications, I'm sure you can come up with a vegan or vegetarian paaya recipe. :)

indosungod said...

Just the way I like it. Broiling the bones before making soup. you are a genius. suttufying the bone in the fire does add to the taste. Our Indian grocery store here carries just bone. Time for me to get them and give this a go.

Kay said...

Give it a try, Indo! It's really good!

Anonymous said...

Kay, what a coincidence! I'm eating at the computer and guess what I'm having? Aattu soup, no kaal unfortunately. I just winged the recipe though - onion, tomatoes, spices, some green beans, broccoli, poblano pepper, coconut milk - a kitchen sink soup to clean up the refrigerator. It tastes good, but wish I'd checked your site an hour ago, would have made this instead.

Mamatha

Kay said...

Mamatha, A nice coincidence! :) Your soup sounds great too!

Sig said...

This one is going to my must-try list! Looks so yum!!!!!

Anonymous said...

OMG this looks terrific. I am going to make this for sure. Broiling the bones is a fabulous idea, have never done that

Bong Mom

paati said...

wow!My favourite with aappam:) long time since i had it !

anudivya said...

Will research. Thanks Kay

Sumi said...

I was searching for one neat recipe for 'Paaya' and got i here.Will give it a try over the weekend.

sra said...

I've only ever had this outside home, the trotters cooked so well, they disintegrate with very little force. Interesting post!

Kay said...

Thanks Sig, Bongmom, Paati, Anu, Sumi, sra!

Malar Gandhi said...

I want that bowl, right now! Theeyil vaatiya...aatu kaal paaya, has unique taste, right! This looks perfect. Collagen turns to gelatin...great info' buddy!!

Kay said...

yeah malar, totally! smoking them out gives a very unique flavor.

Rumela said...

Thanks for the Chettinad mutton soup recipe. Last summer I ate them at a lunch party and has been looking for an authentic recipe ever since. Now I will be able to make them myself. Thanks again.

Kay said...

You are welcome, Rumela! Let me know how it went if you get to try it.

Anonymous said...

I'm planning to make this for dinner tonight Kay. I got Beef Soup Bone from the farmer's market and the bones are round and flat, not like our usual goat trotters. Do you broil it with meat on or do you trim the meat off and broil only the bone? Also, no chilli powder in the recipe right?

Mamatha

Kay said...

I broil it with the meat, Mamatha! The recipe doesn't have red chillies in it but feel free to add if you like it.. or increase the black pepper. No coriander powder though.

mohd said...

this dish is so spicy that i love it to eat it again and again

Eshwar said...

The greatest and most nourishing soup. It is so popular as a rejuvenator that it is mentioned even in Tamil. As kids growing up in rural Tamil Nadu, apples were a delicay. Thangavelu in one of his films says, " 5 ruva kodutha apple juice, 50 ruva kodutha aattukkal soup". That means that the attukkal soup is more valuable than the apple.
I use a dash of coconut milk to enhance the flavour. It is absolutely fantastic.

PreeOccupied said...

Very yumm! I love the way it looks. Where do you get mutton from in TO?

dhan said...

whether the difference between kefir and yogurt?
Which is better between them?
It looks very tasty

khadija said...

looks delicious!

Anonymous said...

Made this several times now......it is the BEST!
Thank you for sharing. I live in the US and this is truly a 'no fail' recipe.