Thursday, January 16, 2014

Dry Fry Beef Liver

To this day, I have not come across a recipe for cooked liver that I enjoy as much as I do my mother's. I am not being biased...if it's good, it's good. Anyone who'se ever tasted my mother's liver recipe will tell you the same thing. I know there are those who are resistant to the idea of eating this kind of meat. Because of this, I posted this recipe with great trepidation. If you don't feel like this recipe floats your boat, I'm sure you can find something else in this blog that will. I try and make it so that there's something for everybody-even the most discerning of palates. If you are the adventurous kind whose open to trying new things, I promise you that if cooked well, eating liver can be quite a gastronomic experience. Not to mention that it's an excellent source of iron. When I say "dry fry", please do not let the name confuse you. This dish is by no means dry. The name just implies that the stew has less sauce than other meat stews. Here's my mother's recipe for dry fry liver....

Serving size: Feeds 4 sufficiently.



-Medium Bowl.

-Small bowl.

-Sharp knife.

-Cutting board.

-Medium saucepan or sauté pan.


-1 lb. calf liver. This liver is lighter red and more tender than that of a mature animal (I bought mine in the meat section of the grocery store, already deveined and with the membrane removed).

-3 tablespoons unscented cooking oil.

-1 large onion, finely diced.

-1 tablespoon ginger/garlic paste.

-2 medium tomatoes, chopped.

-1 whole clove of garlic, peeled.

-1 teaspoon tomato paste.

-1 teaspoon curry powder.

-1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder.

-1 teaspoon cumin powder.

-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder.

-1 beef bouillon cube.

-2 heaped teaspoons Royco seasoning, mixed with 1/4 cup of room temperature water to make a smooth paste. If you can't get Royco, use 1 tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon of cold water to make a smooth paste (this is called a Slurry). Do not stir the cornstarch directly into the sauce you're trying to thicken or your sauce will clump up.

-Bell peppers (capsicum) seeded and cubed. I used red, orange and green ones (half of each).

-4 tablespoons of cilantro (coriander), finely chopped, plus some for garnishing.

-3/4 cup beef stock or water. You can also use 1 teaspoon of some beef base combined with 3/4 cup of room temperature water OR 1 beef bouillon, crashed.

-Salt to taste (optional)

-Freshly ground black pepper (optional).


-If you did not buy your liver already deveined and with the membrane removed, here's what you do: Place warm water in a medium bowl. The water should be slightly hot, but not scalding (warm enough to take a bath in). You do not want the water too hot, or it will make your liver tough. Soak the whole liver in this water for about 10 minutes. The purpose of doing this is to help loosen the membrane that covers it (the thickened surface that covers the liver).

-Carefully peel off the membrane from the liver on all sides and cut out the veins ; discard these (If you buy cubed liver from the grocery store, it comes with the membrane already removed and the veins already taken out).

-Cube the peeled liver (1/2 inch cubes); place the cubed liver in a sauté pan or medium saucepan. Put just enough cold water in the pan to cover the liver. Add half the bell peppers (capsicum) and the peeled clove of garlic into the pan. This will help tame the smell of the liver before you fry it in the spices. Allow the liver to simmer on medium heat for 20-25 minutes. This step helps break down the iron taste and any bloody residue from the liver. Some froth will form over the water. Use a ladle to carefully remove this froth in order to prevent the water in the pan from boiling over. Discard this froth.

-Spoon your liver onto a colander and gently run the colander back and forth under running cold tap water for about 5 minutes. Do not attempt to rub the liver as you do this. Set the colander over a plate or bowl and allow it to drip dry. Discard the clove of garlic. In the meantime, start the masala that you'll cook your liver in.

-In the same pan in which you cooked your liver (with the liquid drained out and only the little bits of liver left at the bottom of the pan), heat the oil over medium heat; add the onions and cook until they are golden and soft (about 5 minutes).

-Add the ginger/garlic paste and allow to cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly so the garlic does not burn.

-Add the tomatoes and cook down until they soften, stirring often.

-Add the tomato paste and stir well.

-Crumble in the bouillon cube if you're using it to cook. Stir.

-Add in your spices starting with your turmeric and curry powder. Stir the mixture and allow to cook for 3 minutes before adding the other spices. 

-Add the rest of the spices. Keep stirring and let the mixture cook for an additional 3-4 minutes until it is thick and seems to pull together.

-Add in the rest of the bell peppers (capsicum). Stir.

-Add your drained liver into the pan with the spice mixture. Stir well.

-Gradually add the 3/4 cups of water or beef stock, stirring well. Once it starts bubbling, sprinkle the chopped cilantro in and stir again (remember to reserve some for garnishing). If you're using the cornstarch mixture to thicken your sauce (slurry), this is when you need to add it into the sauce. If you're using Royco, now is the time to add it in (remember to mix it in water first as indicated above). 


-Taste the sauce at this point. If you need to add the salt or pepper, now is the time to do it. 

-If the liquid boils off before the liver is cooked thoroughly, add additional water or broth. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Allow the liver to simmer for 25-30 minutes. The liver is done when it is no longer pink or red in the center. You want a nice, thick sauce for the liver. 

-Right before serving, sprinkle the cooked liver with the reserved chopped cilantro to garnish. Serve hot. You're welcome! :)

Serving Suggestions:

-This liver goes well with any of the following starches:

Ugali, rice, mashed potatoes, chapati, or mukimo.

-Serve with a side of the following vegetables:

Skuma wiki, spinach or even kachumbari (see earlier posts for all the highlighted recipes).

I served mine with some ugali and Skuma wiki. Delicious!