Adapted from Yemek ve Kültür #43

Kelle Kavurması (Sauteed Sheep’s Brains), from Kırbaşı village, Beypazarı, Ankara and surroundings


The meat from one local sheep’s head.

200 gr tail fat

1 kg scallions

1 T ground cumin

1 T local red pepper flakes

1 dessert spoon black pepper

1 T thyme

3 bunches parsley

2 bunches watercress

Sufficient salt


Let’s dice the head meat and wash it very well in cold water. Drain. Boil the meat for two hours in lots of water.

Now, let’s strain it. Reserve the liquid to make soup or pilaf. Let’s put our saj on the wood stove with the inside facing up. When the saj is hot, add the tail fat and render with the help of a spoon. When the fat is rendered and very hot, add the meat and immediately stir with a wooden spoon.

We’ll chop the scallions and add them to the meat. Cook the meat and the scallions together for about half an hour until they are well blended. Add all the spices and the salt and turn the heat to low. Simmer for another half an hour. When everything is blended into one, bring it to the table.

Serve with Yufka (flatbread), the greens and yoghurt or Ayran.


In some villages, when butchering large ungulates, nobody would even consider using the head. But perhaps this is an example of necessity being the mother of invention.


A saj is a broad, gently curved metal dish with handles, rather like a wok, generally used “upside down” over a fire as a convex surface on which to bake flatbreads. The breads are baked on what we would think of as the outside. The wording of this recipe implies that cooking on the inside, that is to say actually using the saj as a vessel, is rather atypical.