Sheep Offal in the Centre Stage: From Scotland to Anatolia


Those who have had the fortune to visit the remote regions of Scotland certainly heard of, seen, or even tasted, the mighty Haggis. This historic dish, despite being a symbol of Scottish heritage, is still surrounded by doubts caused by the not-exactly typical ingredients. Nevertheless, another similar dish seems to be gathering its momentum for the same reasons, this time though, in Anatolia: This dish is called Şırdan.

It is all the brain’s fault. Connections are made which decide for us what ailments we like and which not. There are few cases though when our main organ decides without even tasting it first. These dishes enter that category as their description usually is enough to turn up noses. Even though it is mostly interpersonal, this is being seriously tested throughout all of Scotland, but also in Anatolia, where the sheep’s innards find a good place where no one would expect, on plates.

In Scotland, they have haggis, which is probably the more complex one of these two dishes. This is defined as a pudding made from the sheep’s heart, the lungs and the liver. Everything is then minced with onions, oatmeal, suet, salt and spices. Finally, this gets mixed with stock, and traditionally boiled in the animal’s stomach for around an hour. Despite its impactful description, the results are exceptional. One of the finest tastes deriving from the area: its strong smell, and the complex flavour, brings the human palate for a walk in the Scottish Highlands. According to the sacred Scottish tradition, the mighty Haggis goes with ‘mashed tatties and bashed neeps’, which are nothing but mashed potatoes and turnips, a hearty root vegetable which grows in the damp Scottish soil.

Şırdan instead, is a slightly different version. It is also important to note the fact that while haggis is often served in restaurants, şırdan is more of comfort food to enjoy on the streets of Adana after a few drinks during a night out. While the Western populations go for a kebab place or a portion of fast food, believe it or not, in the region of Anatolia, they go for Şırdan. This delicacy is composed of the abomasum, the organ of the sheep responsible for the production of the rennet, which gets stuffed with rice, meat and onions. Everything gets slow-cooked in a rich red broth. It is not very difficult to spot out on the streets in Anatolia with its characteristic shape. Differently from the Haggis, this is a one-man show as the Sirdan gets served with nothing else. Its intense flavour is everything that is needed to satisfy the drunks or just brave palates who try it.

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