Braised chicken liver with garlic chive 鶏レバーとニラの炒め物

japanese cake

Weather in the DC area has been heavenly the past week and, for the first time this year, we had Yakitori 焼き鳥 outside. We did our usual chicken wings, pork with onion, and chicken livers. We also grilled fingerling potatoes and yaki onigiri 焼おにぎり (grilled rice balls). Since our usual grocery store did not have any fresh chicken livers, I went to another gourmet grocery store and got a container of frozen chicken livers. The livers were whole and less damaged or fragmented than the ones from our regular grocery store. In any case, we did not grill all the chicken livers for yakitori so I made this dish since we also had spring garlic chives in our herb garden.

Despite the very generous amount of fresh garlic chive I used, the garlic chive flavor was not as strong as I would have thought it should be.

I did not use any particular recipe, just “winged” it.


Chicken liver, frozen thawed, washed and soaked in water, cut into bite sized pieces (1 container – about 1 lb minus the two skewers of liver I used for Yakitori).

Garlic, 3 small cloves, finely chopped 

Garlic chive, cut into 1 inch lengths (Picture below)



Soy sauce

Black pepper, freshly ground


The chicken livers were a bit bloody after thawing but all the livers were intact and in much better shape than the usual chicken livers we get. I cut the livers into bite sized pieces and soaked them in cold filtered water changing the water several times. I blotted off the moisture with sheets of paper towel and seasoned the livers with salt and black pepper. In a frying on medium flame, I put in vegetable oil. Once the oil heated, I placed the liver in the pan and turned it several times until all the sides changed color. Then I added the garlic. After several minutes of stirring, I added sake (1 tbs) and put on the lid to steam (below). After a minutes or so, I removed the lid and turned up the flame and let the liquid evaporate.  

I added the garlic chive and stirred for few minutes.

I added mirin and soy sauce and further reduced the liquid while shaking the pan.

Once the liquid reduced just coating the liver, I cut the heat and seasoned further with freshly ground black pepper. I tasted it and decided I did not need to adjust the seasoning.

For the libation, we chose Joseph Phelps Pino Noir,  Freestone Vineyard, 2013. Since we are a member of the wine club, we just received this Pinot from them. I thought this could go well with this dish. This pinot predominantly tasted of red fruits (cherry, raspberry and also a hint of strawberry) upfront and showed an almost effervescent acidity with some spice elements. This went well with slightly “iron-ny” liver with sweet /salty and peppery savory seasoning.

The only disappointment I had with this dish was that the garlic chive flavor did not come through much at all. Maybe, I have to add more garlic chive just before cutting the flame. For that matter, I did not taste garlic that much either. We thought this frozen liver was quite good and even better than the “fresh” liver we get from our regular grocery store which appears to be roughly handled resulting in many fragmented pieces. This dish is similar to one I posted before with onion and garlic. We like both.

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