Friday, November 8, 2013

For Hanukkah, instead of chopped liver, try stir-fried

Chinese Muslim-style chicken livers and green onions. Credit: Carolyn Phillips
Chopped liver is a staple on many a Jewish family’s Hanukkah table, but why not try something different this year? I’d like to suggest a delicious alternative borrowed from China’s Muslims.
This savory dish is a classic in northern China and usually consists of thin shreds of lamb or beef flash-fried with lots of green onions and rich soy sauce. 

Over the years, I have adapted this traditional Muslim dish into something my family loves with a passion, substituting lots of fresh chicken livers for the meat. The result: a meal that makes my Chinese brother-in-law’s eyes roll back into his head with ecstasy.
And pretty much the same thing happens to me, truth be told, because this is one of those perfect Chinese dishes in which flavors and textures bounce off one another like magic. A savory, lightly garlicky sauce binds the sweetness and silkiness of the scallions with the livers’ gentle bitterness and sublime softness. 

In fact, this is why I use the livers instead of lamb or beef: That extra depth and tangy undertone make the complex flavors even more intriguing. Plus, whenever my brother-in-law shows up, I know that I’ll have to put Chinese liver ‘n’ onions on the menu if I want to keep peace in the house and a smile on the face of our houseguest.

I’ll let you in on a few secrets that will guarantee you tender, juicy chunks of liver peeking out between the silky strands of green onion. First and foremost, the livers and the green onions have to be very fresh and of excellent quality, as they are the undisputed stars of this show…. [read the rest here on Zester Daily, including the recipe!]


  1. I love your stuff, but posting 'Hannukah' & 'Muslim' in the same paragraph isn't going to make you many (Jewish) friends!! Loads of chutzpah, though ...

    1. Oh, I don't know. Jewish and Muslim people tend to be much more tolerant and friendly than we think, and if anything can bring folks together in harmony, it has to be good food!