Yaprak Ciger – Cumin and Thyme-Spiced Calf’s Liver Recipe

Man it’s good to have my own kitchen once more. I get to cook what I want again! Sometimes, the things I like are not so popular, so I apologise if today’s recipe doesn’t appeal to everyone.

Liver. Offal. Are you into it? I sure am. Apart from being a Lebanese who, like many of my countrymen, eats liver for breakfast, this blogger is, mostly, a low-carber (20kgs lost so far!). I see this photo and I salivate. Maybe my fat-fueled body craves the organ meat or maybe I salivate because because I know how bloody delicious this dish is.

OK. Forget the fact that it’s liver for a second. Look at the remaining ingredients. Butter (from Pepe Saya), cumin, paprika, chili and wild, free-range thyme. Yes, thyme that has freely roamed the hills of Lebanon and has made the long journey to Sydney back with me. Doesn’t it sound awesome? Even Lainy, who usually takes the liver-let-die option, ate and enjoyed it. I first tried this dish at Efendy. In Turkish, it’s called yaprak ciger: leaf liver. I guess it’s so named because the liver is thinly sliced into shapes that resemble leaves. Not sure. Don’t quote me. But does it really matter?

Here’s the recipe, passed down to me by none else but Somer, my main man at Efendy. I’ve changed it a bit but it still works miracles. Buy some fresh calf’s or lamb’s liver. Get your butcher to thinly slice and clean it. Mix a good deal of paprika, pepper, red or black Turkish chili, thyme and cumin together. If you want, dust the liver with flour after washing and drying it, but you don’t have to. Heat up a skillet or a frying pan. Toss in a good deal of quality butter. Add the liver (don’t overload). Add the spice mixture and some salt. Fry the liver, turning occasionally when there’s a bit of colour to it. Don’t fry for more than 3 minutes or so, otherwise it gets too dry. Take off the heat and rest for 3 minutes – if the liver is fresh, it shouldn’t release much liquid. Add some thinly sliced onions and stir around to coat the liver and the onions with the spices. Destroy.


  • glad im the first to comment on this because i absolutely LOVE innards.

    this just sounds amazing dude.

    is this on the menu at Efendy?

  • Hi Jilbert. Keefak?
    It is a great dish, and yes, Efendy do have it on their menu, in the hot mezze section. We should go eat there when you’re back in town.

  • all good here! will be back around xmas, so lets definitely find some time to tuck into some insides.

    keep the posts coming! cant get enough of it.

  • Love this article.

    I used to dislike ciğer (liver) with a passion.

    I grew up as a Australian from Turkish speaking Cypriots. My late father loved liver, he would as you say eat it for breakfast if given the chance. His reciepe was similar liver fried in olive oil, spices topped with chopped onions and fresh parsley served with a squeeze of lemon. I hated it.

    My scariest memory as a young man was being invited to my bosses house for Iftar (breaking of fast during Ramadan), and I was starving as you normally are, after fasting the whole day. The bosses wife had cooked a delicious lentil soup that went down a treat… And then out come the main… You guest it yaprak ciğer, I remember the smell was so potent that I had to block my nose to save me from gagging and possibly being sacked on the spot… I forced myself to have a little bite, that was all it took. I could get tho the bathroom fast enough. I left swiftly after a hungry boy, that was the very last time I ate ciğer until 10 years later.

    Now I won’t go a week without my liver fix.. Ahhh how our palates change. I love this reciepe and have a great respect for Somet abi. Sorry for the long post but I had to share my evolution of taste for liver with you.

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