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Offal, also called variety meats or organ meats, refers to the internal organs and entrails of a butchered animal. The word does not refer to a particular list of edible organs, which varies by culture and region, but includes most internal organs excluding muscle and bone. As an English mass noun, the term "offal" has no plural form. Some cultures shy away from offal as food, while others use it as everyday food, or in delicacies. Certain offal dishes—including foie gras, pâté and sweetbread—are considered gourmet food in international cuisine. Others remain part of traditional regional cuisine and may be consumed especially in connection with holidays. This includes Scottish haggis, Jewish chopped liver, Southern U.S. chitlins, Mexican menudo as well as many other dishes. Intestines are traditionally used as casing for sausages.
Depending on the context, offal may refer to those parts of an animal carcass discarded after butchering or skinning; it may also refer to the by-products of milled grains, such as corn or wheat. Offal not used directly for human or animal food is often processed in a rendering plant, producing material that is used for fertilizer or fuel; or in some cases, it may be added to commercially produced pet food.
In earlier times, mobs sometimes threw offal and other rubbish at condemned criminals as a show of public disapproval.
The word shares its etymology with several Germanic words: Frisian ôffal, German Abfall (offall in some Western German dialects), afval in Dutch and Afrikaans, avfall in Norwegian and Swedish, and affald in Danish. These Germanic words all mean "garbage", or – literally - "off-fall", referring to that which has fallen off during butchering. However, these words are not often used to refer to food with the exception of Afrikaans in the agglutination afvalvleis (lit. "off-fall-meat") which does indeed mean offal. For instance, the German word for offal is Innereien meaning innards. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word entered Middle English from Middle Dutch in the form afval, derived from af (off) and vallen (fall).
In some parts of Europe, scrotum, brain, chitterlings (pig's small intestine), trotters (feet), heart, head (of pigs, calves, sheep and lamb), kidney, liver, spleen, "lights" (lung), sweetbreads (thymus or pancreas), fries (testicles), tongue, snout (nose), tripe (reticulum) and maws (stomach) from various mammals are common menu items.
In medieval times, "Humble pie" (originally, "Umble pie") made from animal innards (especially deer) was a peasant food and is the source of the commonly used idiom "eating humble pie", although it has lost its original meaning as meat pies made from offal are no longer referred to by this name. The traditional Scottish haggis consists of sheep stomach stuffed with a boiled mix of liver, heart, lungs, rolled oats and other ingredients. In the English Midlands and South Wales, faggots are made from ground or minced pig offal (mainly liver and cheek), bread, herbs and onion wrapped in pig's caul fat.
Only two offal based dishes are still routinely served nationwide at home and in restaurants and are available as pre-cooked package meals in supermarket chains: Steak and kidney pie (typically featuring veal or beef kidneys) is still widely known and enjoyed in Britain and Ireland as is liver (of lamb, calf, pig or cow) and onions served in a rich sauce (gravy).
Brawn is a British English term for ‘head cheese’, or the collection of meat and tissue found on an animal's skull (typically a pig) that is cooked, chilled and set in gelatine. Another British and Irish food is black pudding, consisting of congealed pig's blood with oatmeal made into sausage-like links with pig intestine as a casing, then boiled and is usually fried on preparation.
Luncheon Tongue refers to reformed pork tongue pieces. Ox Tongue made from pressed complete tongue, is more expensive. Both kinds of tongue are found in tinned form and in slices in supermarkets and local butchers. Home pressing and cooking of tongue has become less common over the last fifty years.
Bleached tripe was a popular dish in Northern England (especially in South Lancashire) with many specialist tripe shops in industrial areas. Today, in South Lancashire certain markets (for example in Wigan) may still sell tripe; but all the specialist tripe shops have now closed.
In Norway the smalahove is a traditional dish, usually eaten around and before Christmas time, made from a sheep's head. The skin and fleece of the head is torched, the brain removed, and the head is salted, sometimes smoked, and dried. The head is boiled for about 3 hours and served with mashed rutabaga/swede and potatoes. The ear and eye (one half of a head is one serving) are normally eaten first, as they are the fattiest area and must be eaten warm. The head is often eaten from the front to the back, working around the bones of the skull. Smalahove is considered by some to be unappealing or even repulsive. It is mostly enjoyed by enthusiasts, and is often served to tourists and more adventurous visitors.
Other Norwegian specialities include smalaføtter, which is a traditional dish similar to smalahove, but instead of a sheep's head it is made of lamb's feet. Syltelabb is boiled, salt-cured pig's trotter, and is known as a Christmas delicacy for enthusiasts. Syltelabb is usually sold cooked and salted.
Liver paté (leverpostei) and patéd lung (lungemos) are common dishes, as are head cheese (sylte) and blood pudding (blodklubb). Fish intestines are also central to several Norwegian dishes, such as mølje.
Iceland has its own version of both haggis and brawn. The Icelandic haggis called "slátur" (slaughter) is made in two versions: "Blóðmör" (bloodlard), a sheep's stomach stuffed with a mixture of sheep's blood, rolled oats and cut up bits of sheep's fat, and "lifrarpylsa" (liver sausage), which consists of sheep stomach stuffed with a mixture of ground lamb's liver, rolled oats and cut-up bits of mutton. The Icelandic brawn "Svið" is made from singed sheep heads, and it is eaten either hot or cold off the bone or set in gelatine.
In France, the city of Lyon is well known for its offal: andouillette, tablier de sapeur (breaded tripe), foie de veau, rognons à la crème, tripes... In Marseille, lamb's trotters and a package of lamb tripe are a traditional food under the name "pieds et paquets". In France, chitterlings sausage is regarded as a delicacy called andouillette.
Especially in southern Germany, some offal varieties are served in regional cuisine. The Bavarian expression Kronfleischküche includes skirt steak and offal as well, e.g. Milzwurst, a sausage containing small pieces of spleen, and even dishes based on udder. Swabia is famous for Saure Kutteln—sour tripes, served steaming hot with fried potatoes. Herzgulasch is a (formerly cheaper) type of goulash using heart. Liver is part of various recipes, such as some sorts of Knödel and Spätzle, and in Liverwurst. As a main dish, together with cooked sliced apple and onion rings, liver (Leber Berliner Art, liver Berlin style) is a famous recipe from the German capital. Helmut Kohl's preference for Saumagen was a challenge to various political visitors during his terms as German Chancellor. Markklößchen are small dumplings made with bone marrow; they are served as part of Hochzeitssuppe (wedding soup), a soup served at marriages in some German regions. In Bavaria, lung stew is served with Knödel, dumplings. Blood tongue or Zungenwurst, is a variety of German head cheese with blood. It is a large head cheese that is made with pig's blood, suet, bread crumbs and oatmeal with chunks of pickled beef tongue added. It has a slight resemblance to blood sausage. It is commonly sliced and browned in butter or bacon fat prior to consumption. It is sold in markets pre-cooked and its appearance is maroon to black in colour.
In the Austrian, particularly Viennese cuisine, the Beuschel is a traditional offal dish. It is a sort of ragout containing veal lungs and heart. It is usually served in a sour cream sauce and with bread dumplings (Semmelknödel).
In Belgium several classic dishes include organ meat. Beef or veal tongue in tomato-Madeira sauce with mushrooms and kidneys in mustard cream sauce are probably the most famous ones. The famous "stoofvlees" or carbonade flamande, a beef stew with onions and brown beer, used to contain pieces of liver or kidney, to reduce the costs. Pork tongues are also eaten cold with bread and a vinaigrette with raw onions or some mustard.
In Italy consumption of entrails and internal organs is widespread. Among the most popular are fried or stewed brains; boiled stomach (trippa), often served in a tomato sauce; lampredotto (the fourth stomach of the cow), boiled in broth and seasoned with parsley sauce and chilli; liver (stir-fried with onions, roasted); kidneys; heart and coronaries (coratella or animelle); head, eyes, and testicles of pig; and several preparations based on chicken entrails. Pajata, a traditional dish from Rome, refers to the intestines of an unweaned calf, i.e., fed only on its mother's milk. Soon after nursing, the calf is slaughtered, and its intestines are cleaned, but the milk is left inside. When cooked, the combination of heat and the enzyme rennet in the intestines coagulates the milk to create a thick, creamy, cheese-like sauce. Pajata and tomatoes are often used to prepare a sauce for rigatoni. In Sicily, many enjoy a sandwich called "pani ca meusa", bread with spleen and caciocavallo cheese. In the Italian neighborhoods of Brooklyn, New York, where it is also commonly eaten, it goes by the name 'vastedda', which in Sicilian refers to the bread only. In Norcia and other parts of Umbria, pig's bowels are also cured with herbs, chili peppers, and spices, then dried and smoked to make a tough, spicy sausage in which the bowel, instead of serving only as the usual casing, is the main ingredient.
In Spain, the visceral organs are used in many traditional dishes, but the use of some of them is falling out of favour with the younger generations. Some traditional dishes are callos (cow tripe, very traditional in Madrid and Asturias), liver (often prepared with onion or with garlic and parsley, and also as breaded steaks), kidneys (often prepared with sherry or grilled), sheep's brains, criadillas (bull testicles), braised cow's tongue, pig's head and feet (in Catalonia; pig's feet are also traditionally eaten with snails), pork brains (part of the traditional 'tortilla sacromonte' in Granada), and pig's ears (mostly in Galicia). There are also many varieties of blood sausage (morcilla), with various textures and flavours ranging from mild to very spicy. Some of the strongest are as hard in texture as chorizo or salami, while others are soft, and some types incorporate rice, giving the stuffing a haggis-like appearance. Morcillas are added to soups or boiled on their own, in which case the cooking liquid is discarded. They are sometimes grilled but rarely fried. Also coagulated, boiled blood is a typical dish in Valencia (cut into cubes and often prepared with onion and/or tomato sauce).
In Portugal traditionally, viscera and other animal parts are used in many dishes. Trotters (also known as chispe), tripe, and pig's ears are cooked in bean broths. Tripe is famously cooked in Porto, where one of the most traditional dishes is tripe in the fashion of Porto, tripas à moda do Porto. Pig's ears are usually diced into squares of cartilage and fat and pickled, after which they are eaten as an appetizer or a snack. The cow's brain (mioleira) is also a delicacy, although consumption has decreased since the Creutzfeld-Jakob outbreak. The blood of the pig is used to produce a form of black pudding known as farinhato, which includes flour and seasonings. A wide variety of offal and pig blood are made into a traditional soup of the North of Portugal called, papas de sarrabulho. Chicken feet are also used in soups.
In Greece (and similarly in Turkey, Albania and the Republic of Macedonia), splinantero consists of liver, spleen, and small intestine, roasted over an open fire. A festive variety is kokoretsi (from Turkish kokoreç, Macedonian kukurek), traditional for Easter; pieces of lamb offal (liver, heart, lungs, spleen, kidney and fat) are pierced on a spit and covered by washed small intestine wound around in a tube-like fashion, then roasted over a coal fire. Another traditional Easter food is magiritsa, a soup made with lamb offal and lettuce in a white sauce, eaten at midnight on Easter Sunday as an end to the lenten fast. Tzigerosarmas (from Turkish ciğer sarması, meaning "liver wrap") and gardoumba are two varieties of splinantero and kokoretsi made in different sizes and with extra spices.
In Romania, there is a dish similar to haggis called drob, which is served at Easter. Romanian peasants make a kind of traditional sausage from pork offal, called caltaboş. The main difference being that drob is enclosed in abdominal membranes (prapore) of the animal, while chitterlings is used for caltaboş. A popular dish of tripe soup called ciorbă de burtă is similar to shkembe chorba. Also in Bulgaria, Republic of Macedonia and Turkey, shkembe chorba is a widespread soup variety.
There is also a twofold variation on the concept of head cheese: piftie which does contain gelatine, is served cold and is usually only made from pork or beef (traditionally only pork), but does not contain as much head material (usually only the lower legs and ears are used since they contain large amounts of gelatine) and pacele which is exclusively made of meat and tissue found on the head (save for the eyes and usually only made from lamb; addition of brain and tongue varies by local habit). Pacele is made by first boiling the head whole (to soften the meat and make it easier to peel off) and then peeling/scraping off all meat and tissue from it. A generous amount of garlic or garlic juice, the mujdei, is then added and the dish is served warm.
Finally, there are many dishes in Romania that are based on whole offal, such as: grilled pig and cow kidney (served with boiled or steam cooked vegetables—usually peas and carrot slices); butcher's brain called creier pane (usually lamb's brains, rolled in batter and deep-fried); tongue and olives stew (mostly done with cow tongue) and many others.
The Armenian traditional dish known as khash is a traditional meal with inexpensive ingredients, originating in the Shirak region. The main ingredient in khash is pig's or cow's feet, although other animal parts, such as the ears and tripe, may also be used. Formerly a nutritious winter food for the poor, it is now considered a delicacy, and is enjoyed as a festive winter meal.
In Hungary, a variety of traditional dishes are based on offal. A popular spicy stew, considered a national dish, is made from beef tripe. Ground or chopped pork offal is usually made into a hearty sausage known as "disznósajt" (lit. "pork cheese") somewhat resembling haggis. Stews and puddings made with blood (poultry, pork or beef) are also quite common. While decreasing in popularity, stews made from poultry testicles are still considered a delicacy and a dish of high prestige in the countryside.
Offal is not an uncommon ingredient in Polish cuisine. Kaszanka, a traditional sausage similar to black pudding, is made with a mixture of pig's blood, pig offal and buckwheat or barley usually served fried with onions or grilled. Beef tripe is used to cook a soup simply called flaki (pl. guts). Chicken gizzards can be a base for various soups, such as krupnik, a pearl barley soup (not to be confused with a vodka of the same name). Pork, beef or veal kidneys, known in Polish as cynadry, are typically braised and eaten as a main dish. Pork tongues can be served hot, in a sauce, or cold, set into aspic.
In Russia, beef liver and tongue are considered valuable delicacies, which may be cooked and served on their own. Kidneys and brains are sometimes used in cooking. The heart is often eaten on its own or used as an additive to the ground meat, as do lungs which give a lighter, airier texture to it. Pig's or sheep's stomach is sometimes used for nyanya, a dish similar to haggis. Head and collagen-rich extremities are used to make kholodets—a version of aspic, whereby these body parts are slowly boiled for several hours with meat and spices, removed and discarded, and the remaining broth is cooled until it congeals.
In Brazil, churrasco (barbecue) often includes chicken hearts, roasted on a big skewer. The typical feijoada sometimes contains pork trimmings (ears, feet and tail). Gizzard stews, fried beef liver and beef stomach stews used to be more popular dishes in the past, but are nonetheless still consumed. Buchada, a popular dish from the northeast of the country, consists of the diced organs of a goat, which are seasoned and then sewn inside the goat's stomach and boiled. Dobradinha is a dish made with tripe, a variation of the northern Portuguese dish.
In Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, the traditional asado is often made along with several offal types (called "achuras"), like chunchules", "chunchulines and tripa gorda (chitterlings), mollejas (sweetbreads) and riñón (cow's kidney). Sesos (brains) are used to make ravioli stuffing. The tongue is usually boiled, sliced and marinated with a mixture of oil, vinegar, salt, chopped peppers and garlic. In Chile, the tongue is boiled, sliced and served in a walnut-based sauce in New year and Xmas festivities ("lengua nogada") while the soup is used later to cook a wheat, milk and spice ball mix called "albóndigas de sémola". There is also a blood drink called "Ñachi", made from spiced, fresh blood from a recently slaughtered animal. Criadillas or huevos de toro ("bull's eggs", testicles) are eaten mostly in cattle-raising regions, while cow udder ("ubres") is served fried or boiled.
In Peru and Bolivia, beef heart is used for anticuchos—a sort of brochette.
Sopa de mondongo is a soup made from diced tripe (the stomach of a cow or pig) slow-cooked with vegetables such as bell peppers, onions, carrots, cabbage, celery, tomatoes, cilantro (coriander), garlic or root vegetables. Variations can also be found in Nicaragua, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Honduras, El Salvador, Panama, Puerto Rico, Venezuela.
Sausage is made from the small intestine of a goat, cow or sheep, stuffed with chilli and small chunks of meat, fatty meat, and blood (although some people prefer the bloodless kind). In Kenya it is commonly referred to as 'mutura' which is the Kikuyu name for it. Sheep's or goat's stomach is also stuffed in a similar way.
In the Kikuyu traditions, grilled goat/sheep kidneys are a delicacy usually reserved for young ladies, although today, anybody can consume it. Similarly, the tongue was reserved for men and the ears were to be eaten by little girls. The testicles were for the young men. Liver is also consumed. The heads, lungs and hooves of animals are boiled to make soup and sometimes mixed with herbs for medicinal purposes.
In South Africa offal is enjoyed by South Africans of diverse backgrounds. Due to the popularity of this dish, it is one of the few customs that white (especially Afrikaners) and black South Africans share.
Offal dishes in South Africa do not usually consist of any organs and are mostly limited to stomach skin, sheep's head, shin and very rarely brains. Sheep's head has gained many nicknames over the years such as 'skopo' (township colloquial term meaning head) and 'smiley' (referring to the expression of the head when cooked).
There are numerous recipes to cook the above-mentioned items available on many South African websites. One of the more popular way to cook offal in South Africa is to cook it with small potatoes in a curry sauce served on rice. Alternatively it can served with samp or maize rice.
In Zimbabwe offal is a common relish enjoyed by people of all cultures. Cow offal dishes include stomach, hooves, shin, intestines, liver, head, tongue and very rarely in certain communities, testicles. Chicken dishes include feet, liver, intestines and gizzards. A popular preparation of goat or sheep offals involves wrapping pieces of the stomach with the intestines before cooking.
Offal dishes are particularly popular in the southern region of Guangdong and its culinary capital of Hong Kong. For example, Cantonese “Siu mei”, (Barbecue Delicacies) shops, have achieved their foundation of influence here. Besides the popular cha siu barbecued pork, "siu yuk" crispy skin pork, along with assorted types of poultry, there are also the roasted chicken liver with honey, and the very traditional, and very expensive now, “Gum Chin Gai”, another honey roasted dimsum that is a sandwich of a piece each of pork fat, pork/chicken liver, ginger and cha siu.
The use of offal in dim sum does not stop there. In dim sum restaurants, the feet of chicken, ducks and pork are offered in various cooking styles. For example, the pork feet in sweet vinegar stew is a popular bowl now besides its traditional function as supplement for postpartum mother care. Young ginger stems, boiled eggs, and blanched pork feet are stew in sweet black rice vinegar for a few hours to make this “Jui Kerk Gieng”. “Ap Kerk Jat” is a piece each of ham, shiitake mushroom and deep fried fish maw wrapped with duck feet in a dried bean curd sheet in and steamed. The use of fish offal in Cantonese cuisine is not limited to the maw. For example, there is the folksy dish of “Tung Gong Yu Wan Bo”, a casserole with the lips of fresh water large head fish; and shark fin soup.
In the more pragmatic folksy eateries, however, maximum utilization of the food resource is the traditional wisdom. The fish is completely made used and nothing is wasted. Deep fried fish skin is a popular side dish at fish ball noodle shops. The intestines are steamed with egg and other ingredients in Hakka cuisine. Finally, the bones are wrapped in a cotton bag to boil in the soup for noodles.
Teochew cuisine shows its best manifestation also in Hong Kong. The goose meat, liver, blood, intestine, feet, neck and tongue are all major ingredients to various dishes. There is also the must-try soup, pork stomach with whole pepper corns and pickled mustard.
The use of beef organs is classically represented in noodle shops here. Each respectable operation has its own recipe for preparing the stews of brisket, intestine, lung, and varieties of tripe. The big pots are often placed facing the street and next to the entrance such that the mouth-watering aroma is the best draw for the shop's business.
Contrary to a common Westerners' disgust for these dishes due to cultural unfamiliarity and sanitary concerns, these offal items are very well cleaned. The pork intestines' tough inner skin (which is exposed to bolus and pre-faecal materials) is completely removed. Then, the intestine is exhaustively soaked, cleaned and rinsed. The nephrons of pork kidneys are skilfully excised, and the kidneys are soaked for several hours and cleaned.
The use of the pancreas, liver, kidney, gall bladder, lung and even bronchus of various farm animals together with herbs in Chinese medicine have strong empirical theories and studies are being conducted to try to understand their nature in modern scientific terms. However, there are other strange offal usages in folk practice. Taoist and rural folk beliefs have their influence. The idea of essences and energy, heat and cold, are key. Snake wine with a live snake gallbladder is thought to promote stamina due to the "essences of energy and heat", which is derived from a snake's attributes, such as aggressive behaviour (fiery) and venom (energy). When bears were more common in the Chinese northeast, bears claw and dried bear offal were used as medicines, seen as a source of vitality. Dry deer antlers are still a common medicine, thought to provide "yang energy" to complement the male sex and the tail, "yin energy" for the female sex. Extractions of animal penises and testes are still believed to contribute to better male performance and those of the embryo and uterus to the eternal youth of the female. However, these are being marginalized as synthetic hormones get more popular and affordable.
The Cantonese consumed monkey brains, but this is now rare to non-existent, and primarily offered to rich, Western tourists.
Avian offals are commonly consumed too. Giblets, liver and intestines of chicken, duck and burung ayam-ayaman (watercock) are consumed as delicacies, commonly skewered as satay and being deep fried. Deep fried crispy chicken intestine in particular is a popular snack.
Malaysia and Singapore
In Malaysia, cow or goat lung, called paru, coated in turmeric and fried is often served as a side dish to rice, especially in the ever popular nasi lemak. Tripe is used in a few dishes either stir fried or in a gravy. Tripe is also consumed as satay. Liver is deep fried or stir fried in some vegetable dishes.
In Singapore, pig's organ soup is a common feature of hawker centres. Due to Singapore's proximity and ethnic makeup, many of the items written for Indonesia and Malaysia above are also found in Singapore.
In the Philippines, people eat practically every part of the pig, including snout, intestines, ears, and innards. Dinuguan is a particular type of blood-stew (depending on region) made using pig intestines, pork meat and sometimes ears and cheeks usually with a vinegar base, and green chilli peppers. Bopis (bópiz in Spanish) is a spicy Filipino dish made out of pork lungs and heart sautéed in tomatoes, chillies and onions. Isaw is another treat enjoyed mostly in the Philippines which is a kebab made with pig's (also chicken) intestine pieces barbecued and dipped in vinegar before eating. Crispy Pata is popular, consisting of pig's feet that have been boiled until tender, cut into pieces, and then deep fried.
Papaitan is a soup made from cow, carabao or goat tripe and innards. The broth is flavoured with the animal's bile and the fruit of the Averrhoa bilimbi.
India and Pakistan
In India and Pakistan, the goat's brain (maghaz), feet (paey), head (siri), stomach (ojhari or but), tongue (zabaan), liver (kalayji), kidney (gurda), udder (kheeri) and testicles (kapooray) as well as chickens' heart and liver are enjoyed. One popular dish, Kata-Kat, is a combination of spices, brains, liver, kidneys and other organs.
In the southern Indian city of Hyderabad, lamb and goat brain sauted and stir fried with spices (often called bheja fry) is a delicacy. In the southern Indian city of Mangalore, a spicy dish called rakti, made of heavily spiced porcine offal and cartilaginous tissue, is considered a homely indulgence by the local Christian community (observant Muslims avoid pork products, and Hindus consider the cow as a religious omen and do not eat beef. Many Hindus follow a vegetarian diet.
In Nepal, a goat's brain (gidi), feet (khutta), head (tauko), Bone Marrow(Masi),stomach skin (bhudi), tongue (jibro), liver (kalejo), kidney, lungs (Fokso), fried intestines (aandra,vuton(means Fried. Vuton is Fried stomach and intestine of animal)), fried solidified blood (Rakti),Ear and Tail (charcoal cooked), and to a lesser extent testicles are considered delicacies and are in very high demand in Dashain when families congregate and enjoy them with whiskey and beer. Chickens' heart and liver are also enjoyed but it is chickens' gizzards that are truly prized. Buffalo leaf tripe stuffed with bone marrow (sapu mhichā), stuffed goat lung (swan pukā) and fried variety meats (pukālā) are delicacies in the Kathmandu Valley.
MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
In Israel, Jerusalem mixed grill (me'orav Yerushalmi) consists of chicken hearts, spleens and liver mixed with bits of lamb cooked on a flat grill, seasoned with onion, garlic, black pepper, cumin, turmeric and coriander.
In Lebanon, lamb brain is used in nikhaat dishes and sometimes as a sandwich filling. A tradition practiced less often today would be to eat fish eyes either raw, boiled, or fried. Another popular dish in the region surrounding is korouch which is rice-stuffed sheep intestine.
In Iran, tongue (zabaan), feet (paa) or Kaleh Pacheh, sheep liver (jigar), heart (qalb), lungs (shosh), testicles (dombalan) and kidneys are used as certain types of kebab and have a high popularity among people, as well as sheep intestines and stomach, though the latter is boiled. Sheep skull and tongue, alongside knee joints, as a formal breakfast dish called kale pache (lit. "head and leg"), are boiled in water with beans and eaten with traditional bread.
Pacha (Persian term), is a traditional Iraqi dish made from sheep's head, trotters and stomach; all boiled slowly and served with bread sunken in the broth. The cheeks and tongues are considered the best parts. Many people prefer not to eat the eyeballs which could be removed before cooking. The stomach lining would be filled with rice and lamb and stitched with a sewing thread.
The dish is known in Kuwait, Bahrain and other Persian Gulf countries as Pacha too. A variation of that is found in other Arab countries such as in Egypt and is known as Kawari' and in Israel it is still eaten by Iraqi Jews
In Egypt, fried beef and lamb liver (kibda) with a cumin-based coating is a popular dish, most often served in sandwiches with a bit of onion from small shops in most major cities. Thin-sliced fried liver with slices of mild peppers, garlic and lemon is considered a specialty of Alexandria Alexandrian liver), and is often served as a separate plate, sandwiches or as a topping for kushari.
Although the term offal is used in the United Kingdom and Canada, in the United States the terms variety meats or organ meats are used instead. The consumption of organ meats is relatively uncommon in U.S. culture, although some regional cuisines make extensive use of them. The derisive term "mystery meat" is often used to describe offal which have been ground or otherwise heavily processed in order to obscure its origin.
In the United States, the giblets of chickens, turkeys and ducks are much more commonly consumed than the mammal offal. Traditional recipes for turkey gravy and stuffing typically include the bird's giblets (the traditional Thanksgiving meal in the US). Use of organs of mammals is not common, except for the liver, which is common to a certain degree. For example, liver and onions is a traditional, "classic" menu item in diners throughout the country, often as a "blue plate special".
Mammal offal is somewhat more popular in the American South, where some recipes include chitterlings, livers, brain, and hog maw. Scrapple, sometimes made from pork offal, is somewhat common in the Mid-Atlantic US, particularly in Philadelphia and areas with Amish communities. Pepper Pot soup (frequently served in Philadelphia) is made from beef tripe. Fried-brain sandwiches are a specialty in the Ohio River Valley. Rocky Mountain oysters, "prairie oysters", or "turkey fries" (beef testicles) are a delicacy eaten in some cattle-raising parts of the western US and Canada.
Offal dishes from many other cultures exist but the appeal is usually limited to the immigrant communities that introduced the dish. For example, chopped liver, lungen stew, and beef tongue (especially as used by Kosher delis) in American Jewish culture, or menudo in Mexican-American culture.
In some Latin American countries, such as Mexico, almost all internal parts and organs are consumed regularly. Chicken hearts, gizzards and livers are usually eaten fried or boiled, either alone, or in broth. Brainstem is served as soup, sopa de médula.
Several types of offal are commonly used in tacos, including:
Tripe is also used to make pancita and menudo. The montalayo is dish made of chopped organs, spiced with adobo, and cooked inside of the sheep stomach. This is known as menudo de birria in the Pacific states and is made with goat parts instead of sheep.
Pork brains are considered a delicacy and are eaten in the deep fried quesadilla de sesos. Beef and pork liver are regularly eaten pan-fried with onion or breaded and deep-fried. The pork ears, feet and snout are pickled and eaten in tostadas.
In Australia offal is consumed in some ethnic dishes. Food standards require that products containing offal be labelled as such. The presence of brain, heart, kidney, liver, tongue or tripe must be declared either by specific type or more generally as offal. Other offal, such as blood, pancreas, spleen and thymus must be declared by name.
HEALTH AND FOOD SAFETY ISSUES
The offal of certain animals is unsafe to consume:
To read more about offal, please click on the following link: