Sautéed Liver with Red Onion, Parsley and Sumac Salad; Ciger Tava
Sauteed liver Turkish style, Ciger Tava or Arnavut Cigeri, as it is also known, is an easy and delicious way to enjoy liver with red pepper flakes. Sumac flavored red onion & parsley piyaz salad accompanies the sauteed liver very well; serve with a wedge of lemon aside, for an extra zing, flavor and freshness.
Recipe type: Turkish mezzes with liver
Cuisine: Turkish Cuisine
Serves: 4
  • 500 gr/ 1 ¼ lb. fresh lamb’s or calf’s liver
  • 60 ml / 4 tbsp. light olive oil
  • 45 ml/ 3 tbsp. all-purpose (plain) flour
  • 10 ml/ 2 tsp. red pepper flakes or chili flakes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • For the red onion, parsley and sumac piyaz salad:
  • 1 large red onion, cut in half lengthways and thinly sliced
  • Handful of flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 10 ml/ 2 tsp. ground sumac
  • 1 lemon cut in wedges
  1. Make the piyaz salad first. Slice the red onion and rub 1-2 tsp salt (preferable sea salt) into the onion slices; this will soften the onions and make them more palatable. Stir in the chopped parsley, ground sumac and black pepper, combine well. Spread the piyaz salad on a serving dish and set aside.
  2. Slice the liver into chunky bites or stripes (removing skin or ducts).
  3. Spread the flour on a tray and stir in the red pepper flakes, salt and ground black pepper, mix well. Toss the sliced liver into the flour mixture and make sure all liver pieces have a light coating of the flour mixture.
  4. Heat the olive oil is a wide, heavy pan. In the meantime, place absorbent kitchen paper towel on a clean tray.
  5. Toss in the liver into the hot pan with olive oil and sauté on high heat for about 2-3 minutes each side. The liver pieces will become crispy and have a light brown coating outside but still will be moist and soft inside. Once cooked, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper towel.
  6. Serve immediately over the bed of red onion, parsley and sumac salad. We like to serve with a wedge of lemon and squeeze the lemon juicer over the liver while eating; it gives a lovely refreshing taste to the liver and complements the red onion salad well.
The trick with cooking liver is that it needs to be stir fried quickly for a few minutes each side so it browns slightly and gets crispy outside but stays moist and soft inside. So please prepare your red onion, parsley and sumac salad first and then cook the liver so that you can serve straight after cooking with a wedge of lemon.
Recipe by Ozlem's Turkish Table at