Cooking with Khosrow Hassanzadeh

Photo by Solmaz Shahbazi

My first encounter with kalepache seems like a clip from a bad horror movie. I was nine years old and had stumbled down the kitchen to get a glass of milk in the middle of the night. I opened the refrigerator door and there, staring directly at me, was a head of a sheep. Thinking I was having some kind of strange nightmare, I slammed the door and ran back upstairs. Not wanting to offend my mother the next morning when she woke me for “breakfast,” I feigned illness until danger was well out of sight. Nowadays I know better.

In the story of Ibrahim, the beginning of Eid is heralded by sacrificing (ghorbooni) a sheep in Mecca. Every part of the sheep is then used for something, and the head, known for its wide range of nutrients, is used for kalepache, literally translating to “head and feet.” Traditionally, kalepache was served early in the morning as breakfast to wrestlers in Iran. Now kalepache restaurants dot the city, but it is still the most traditional breakfast treat, often enjoyed after a heavy night of drinking.

In this issue, Tehran based artist Khosrow Hassanzadeh whips up three major staples of Persian cooking to keep you and your relationship strong and healthy.

Photo by Solmaz Shahbazi