It's been ages since I made chicken liver at home. There was a time when we used to make it very often and once my doctor had even exclaimed at my great haemoglobin count - this was when I was expecting my son. After his birth I started eating consciously in a bid to lose those excess kgs I had piled on and liver was thrown out of the menu. A few years down the line I realised that I had given up many things that actually benefited me. Recently on a visit to the doc for a throat infection I was asked to do a blood test (this particular fellow loves having blood tests done). It was revealed that my haemoglobin count was really low and I was asked to take supplements. Since I always believe that one can manipulate one's intake of food to achieve the desired state of health most of the time I googled for some natural foods to help combat this problem.
Liver is supposed to be one of the best sources of iron and it used to be one of my favourites before I abandoned it in the name of 'health' (it is high in bad cholesterol). When in Mumbai we used to have liver at least once a month and during my growing up years in Mangalore, liver was part of every chicken preparation as the whole chicken was purchased, culled and all its parts were cooked at the same time (in a single dish) and I remember fighting for the heart always. However, in supermarkets they rarely give you chicken with all its 'spare parts'. The liver and heart can be bought separately. So now I have put it back on my monthly menu. It will do a world of good to me and my family and maybe we can beat the high cholesterol that comes with it by running that extra mile on the treadmill (which is like never! Haha!) or doing some extra crunches (excercise? Whatzzat?? :D)
So coming to today's recipe. I am a huge fan of a lovely recipe book handed down by my mum. As was the norm in those days it was promptly sent to the book binders to be hard bound. Sadly the book binders happily tore off those initial pages which carried the name of the author and till a few days ago I had no clue who the author was. Finally last week when yet another recipe from that book became a success I was hell bent on finding out the author's name as I felt that it was high time I paid real tribute to the author. Thanks to Google I am glad to know that the book named 'Recipes for All Occasions' was authored by Mrs. Saramma Varghese who wrote by the pen name B. F. Varghese. The book is a wonderful collection of Syrian Christian recipes with plenty of basic Indian recipes. Her writing is not very elaborate when it comes to explaining the recipes but I am sure that they will be helpful even to beginners with basic knowledge of cooking to try her recipes.
Chicken Liver Masala
Prep time: 20-25 mins | Cook time: 12-15 mins | Serves: 4
Masala to be ground:
- 500 grams chicken liver
- 250 grams (1 big) potato
- 1 cup '(1 big) onions finely sliced
- 1/2 cup (1 medium) tomato chopped
- 3 cloves
- 1 cardamom pod
- 1 inch stick cassia bark/cinnamon
- salt to taste
- oil or ghee for frying
- 1 tablespoon coriander
- 4 long dry red chillies (I used Bedgi/Byadge) - adjust to taste
- 7-8 peppercorns (increase them up to 20 if you like it really spicy)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 cup grated coconut
- 1 marble size ball of tamarind
- 1 sprig curry leaves (optional)
1. Wash the liver and allow to drain. Cut into quarters and boil with salt & 1/2 cup water till it is cooked (could take about 6-7 mins). You should have approx 3/4th cup of gravy/stock after the liver is boiled.
2. Peel and cut the potatoes into cubes the same size as the liver pieces. Boil the potato cubes in enough water & salt. When they are almost cooked, drain off the water and keep aside.
3. On a skillet/tawa dry roast the coriander and peppercorns for a few seconds, take care not to burn them. Remove and allow to cool. Next, roast the cumin lightly, do not let them pop or they will turn bitter. Remove and allow to cool. Next add the coconut and broken chillies and roast on a low heat till the coconut turns light brown (biscuit colour). Add the curry leaves if desired and roast for half a minute. Then add the turmeric and allow the mixture to cool.
4. Using a little water grind the roasted spices first to a powder, then add the coconut+chilli mixture and tamarind and grind to a fine paste. Retain the water from the mixer grinder (the water used to
5. In a kadhai or pan heat the oil/ghee and saute/fry the onions till they turn light golden. Remove half of them and toss in the whole spices - cardamom, cloves and cinnamon into the remaining onions and fry them till brown (be careful not to burn them).
6. Add back the sauteed onions, boiled liver (without the gravy) and ground masala and mix everything well. Add the potatoes and lightly mix taking care to see that the potatoes don't break
7. Let the masala cook for about a minute before adding the tomatoes. Mix and cover the pan and let the tomatoes turn a little mushy.
8. Finally add the reserved liver gravy, salt to taste if required and simmer till the masala thickens. Remove from heat.
9. Serve hot with chapathis or rice.