Jigaraki, Iranian Food - Persia Advisor Travels

Jigaraki, Iranian Food
Photo by C. Na Songkhla / Shutterstock

The liver of mammals through which the bile is produced in Iranian culture is called “Jigar”. The liver and lung of cattle are called black Jigar and white Jigar respectively, both of them have edible usages. Jigaraki is one of the occupations related to traditional cooking style of the Iranian.

Based on the available photos remained from Qajar era as well as some historical sources, it can be said that the people who were occupied with this profession were initially itinerant and they were seen in crowded places of the city like bazaars, they put a barbecue in front of themselves and grilled the liver which was skewered and shouted loudly in the bazaar to sell their goods.

After a while, the itinerant sellers made small stands in front of the butcher’s or bakeries. They prepared some platforms and benches around their stands which were covered with rug or carpet to entertain their clients properly.

The shops of Jigaraki were built around the slaughterhouses due to the enthusiasm of people to serve fresh liver. The sellers put some fat on the fire to temp people by smelling it and hence they came to Jigaraki shops to server such delicious dish. Gradually, grilled heart and kidney of sheep were served along with liver.

The collection of one white liver, one black liver, one heart and two kidneys is called a set of liver (Jigar). In the past, the unit of liver was “set” but currently it is sold on kilogram basis. In addition to the liver of sheep, today the liver and heart of calf are sold in the shops of Jigaraki as well.

Jigar is mostly used as evening meal or dinner among the Iranian. In the past it was sold only along with some bread but nowadays it is severed with herb, pepper, lime, bitter orange and tomato.

Bahman Square in south of Tehran and Nazi Abad neighborhood are two main centers of selling Jigar. There are numerous Jigaraki shops in this square and it is a place for spending free time at nights for those people who are fans of this dish.