KALLA-PĀČA (KALLE PĀČE), a traditional dish made of sheep’s head and trotters and cooked over low heat, usually overnight. The combination of one sheep’s head and four trotters is called a set of kalla-pāča. Other edible body parts of the sheep such as the ear-cavity, tongue, eyes, brains, neck, and shank may also be added to the pot (see Batmanglij, p. 37). It is not advisable to use salt before the end of the cooking process, since it blackens the color of the meat.

The preparation of kalla-pāča. Because of the tough texture of the meat of the sheep’s head and the viscosity of the trotter, preparing kalla-pāča is a highly time-consuming and labor-intensive task. It is more common to order the dish than to make it at home, and it is usually cooked in specialty stores (kalla-pazi). It is generally reserved for the colder days of the year, and it is traditionally served in the morning as breakfast. In the afternoons, the stores usually serve kipā or sirābi (sheep’s tripe). Middle- and low-income families tend to serve it as a brunch, and athletes of the zurḵāna (lit. house of strength, q.v.), traditional athletic clubs in the urban areas of Persia, often consume it after their daily exercise routine. The guild of kalla-pazān is independent from the guilds of butchers and kabābis. The guild was known in the past as the guild of kipā-pazān, although the main task of a kipā-paz was preparing kipā stuffed with rice and ground meat. Rišār Khan Moʾaddeb-al-Molk (Jules Richard before his conversion to Islam, 1816-91), the French adventurer and the author of a book on Persian cuisine, is the first to refer to kipā as distinct from kalla-pāča in his book (Musiu Rišār Khan, p. 87). He also suggests that the dish should preferably be served with vinegar, onion, and/or minced garlic (ibid., p. 112). Badr-al-moluk Bāmdād allocated a section to kalla-pāča in her cookbook, detailing the process of preparing kalla-pāča and sirābi from cleaning to cooking (Bāmdād, pp. 47-58). Abu Esḥāq Ḥallāj, known as Bosḥāq Aṭʿema (q.v., d. ca. 1427), in his humorous employment of Persian culinary vocabulary in his poems, played with the terms kipā, kalla, and češm (eye).


B. Bāmdād, Āšpazi-e irāni o torki o farangi, Tehran, 1933.

N. Batmanglij, Food of Life, Washington, D.C., 1984.

Bosḥāq-e Aṭʿema, Abu Esḥāq Ḥallāj Širāzi, Divān-e Aṭʿema, ed. H. Eṣfahāni, Istanbul, 1808, repr. Shiraz, n.d., p. 56.

N. Daryābandari, Ketāb-e mostaṭāb-e āšpazi, az sir tā piyāz, Tehran, 2000.

M. R. Ghanoonparvar, Persian Cuisine I, Lexington, Ky., 1982.

R. Montaẓami, Honar-e āšpazi, 39th ed., Tehran, 2001.

Musiu Rišār Khan Moʾaddeb-al-molk, Ṭabḵ-e irāni o farangi o širinipazi, Tehran, 1932.

(Etrat Elahi)

Originally Published: December 15, 2010

Last Updated: April 20, 2012

This article is available in print.
Vol. XV, Fasc. 4, p. 408