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Posts Tagged ‘persian food’

Snake surprise, black beetles, eyeball soup and chilled monkey brains. Anyone who was a fan of the Indiana Jones films in the early ’80’s will remember this nauseating menu from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Gross. I for one, being incredibly squeamish, heaved at the thought of eating these delicacies not for one moment thinking that I would be confronted with something very similar when married to an Iranian!

My first “encounter” with Kale Pache, or Sheep’s Head Soup was at an Iranian Nowruz (New Year) celebration concert at Cologne Arena.  Feri hadn’t mentioned this delicacy to me before and after one of the main acts in the 12 hour celebrity marathon (another story), it was announced on stage that they had sold out of Kale Pache.  Huge groans of disappointment, whistles and boos filled the concert hall and I was left wondering what the problem was.

Kale Pache is a traditional Iranian dish made with a complete sheep’s  head and its hooves. Kaleh = head; Pache = feet, or hooves. I have since discovered from experience that this delicacy is usually eaten at breakfast time although I have seen it served for lunch on occasions. ” Brains for Breakfast” ……mmmm not for me but clearly the thousands of Iranians who has descended on Cologne for their New Year celebrations were clearly disappointed to hear that they were unable to eat their national delicacy in the early hours and made their feelings known to all!

Feri cooks Kale Pache but only under certain conditions!

  • He is “allowed” to cook the sheep’s head in a special slow cooker casserole dish which is only used for this purpose.
  • He must clean and prepare the head outside and
  • The slow cooker must be plugged in only in the garage!

Feri is generally meticulous in his food preparation but seeing someone brush and floss the teeth of a dead sheep and clean out the nostrils with a cotton bud is something else if not reassuring! In addition to the sheep’s head Feri adds onions, cinnamon and salt and pepper to season. The head is then cooked for 7-8 hours in the slow cooker until the meat falls off the skull leaving the brains(fluffy clouds) and eyeballs floating on the top. The sought-after tender and tasty cheek meat is found below the surface.

I understand that before slow cookers and commercial cooking pots, Kale Pache was cooked overnight  in copper dishes buried into the ground covered in embers. Hence it became a breakfast dish.

When in Iran I am lucky that I have a fellow-disliker of Kale Pache in my niece-in-law Sehtari so we sit together in kindred disdain and eat pizza instead!

Sheep’s head soup? No thanks, but please help yourself.

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When I visit Iran my camera is with me everywhere I go. I take thousands of photos but I am definitely a snapper and not a semi-pro and my camera is a very basic point-and-shoot model. I take photos so I don’t forget my experiences and  they are not necessarily well-planned or thought out-just taken ad-hoc when I want to capture an experience, or a memory. Going through some of my photos I realise that many of them won’t be seen by anyone else as they don’t match anything I write about; they are odds-and-ends collected during the course of a day’s roaming.

Here’s just a small collection which you might find interesting;

The village baker at work-fresh bread 3 times a day

The village baker at work-fresh bread 3 times a day

Engagement/Wedding dresses

Engagement/Wedding dresses

Very old vinegar vats

Very old vinegar vats

The gold quarter

The gold quarter

Cuddly toys

Cuddly toys

Even Shaun the Sheep is big in Iran!

Even Shaun the Sheep is big in Iran!

Work in progress

Work in progress

More gold

More gold

Road to nowhere!

Road to nowhere!
More dresses

More dresses

Spring chickens!

Spring chickens!

Inside a pigeon tower

Inside a pigeon tower

Congregational mosque Esfahan

Congregational mosque Esfahan

Three wise men!

Three wise men!

Abyaneh-dresses for sale

Abyaneh-dresses for sale

Sexy underwear.....ladies only!

Sexy underwear…..ladies only!

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