Paya-Bangladeshi Bone Marrow Soup

Paya is a nutritious soup made of beef bones full of marrow originating in Bangladesh. It is hearty and delicious, with a robust creamy and savory flavor from the marrows. Different South Asian countries have their own version of this soup, but this lighter, simpler version is my favorite.

Paya-Bone Marrow Soup

The first step is to get your hands on some beef bones! Usually they are very cheap-I got a 5 lb bag for $5! When you pick up the bones, make sure you see lots of marrow.

Sauté onions, garlic, and ginger

Wash the bones very well, then set aside. To start the soup, heat a little olive oil in a pot and add a chopped onion. Once the onion is translucent, add minced garlic and ginger. Sauté for a couple more minutes until the garlic is fragrant.

Add Spices

Now for the seasonings-begin with a big pinch of salt. You will most probably need to add more salt at the end, but for now a good sprinkling will do. then add a 1/2 tsp each of turmeric, red chili powder, and coriander powder. For whole spices, add a few cardamoms and a bay leaf.

Add bones and water

Mix well and cook for an additional couple minutes before adding the cleaned bones. Mix the bones with the onions and spices. Then fill a bowl with water and add to the pot until it reaches 2 inches above the moves. Turn the heat up to high and as soon as the pot comes to a simmer, turn the heat down to low and cover.

Cook the soup low and slow for a few hours-I cooked it for four and it was just about the start falling apart. If you want the marrow to completely melt into the broth, I would suggest cooking it for even longer-between six and eight hours.

Add water and simmer

Check for salt and adjust if needed. Top the soup with fresh chopped cilantro and serve with lots of bones, marrow, broth, and crust toasted French bread!


Feeds 6-8

  • 5 lb beef bones with marrow
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, minced
  • 4 cardamoms
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • Water to cover 2 inches above the bones
  • Cilantro for garnish


1. Wash bones with marrow really well and set aside

2. Place a pot on medium heat then add olive oil. Add onions and sauté until golden

3. Add garlic and ginger and sauté for a couple more minutes or until garlic is fragrant

4. Add salt and spices and mix

5. Pour in bones and stir. Then top with water

6. Turn heat up to high to bring to a boil, then turn heat low, cover, and simmer gently for 4-8 hours or until marrows reach your desired consistency

7. Serve soup with a sprinkling of fresh cilantro and a side of French bread. Enjoy!

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