Making soft Kaleji Masala AKA liver fry is one of those recipes where spices are less important. What matters is technique. Even if you add only salt and pepper you can make the best liver curry. The trick is to make it soft and juicy.
Kaleji or liver fry is a must Eid ul Adha recipe like aloo ghost, seekh kebab, lamb karahi and Nihari. So, follow the cooking timings and steps religiously for best tasting juicy lamb or beef liver curry. Obviously, you can play around with spices, but this recipe is really balanced with aroma spices and gravy, so you better follow it. You may learn more about the benefits of eating liver here.
All ingredients are visible in the photo above so I won't list them except for a few, that I feel need some discussion.
- Liver: The liver is the main ingredient in the recipe, hence you must know a little about choosing liver. Always choose a darker, gleaming liver that is fresh and not frozen. It should have a fresh and not very stale smell. The liver from a calf is better than the liver of a cow.
- Salt: Salt can extract a lot of juice from the liver so try to end most of the salt towards the end of the recipe.
- Fenugreek: Fenugreek adds both a lover of Indian curry taste and aroma to the liver curry. But more than that it helps the digestion of the liver which can be difficult to digest for senior citizens.
- Green Chilies: Smaller green chilies like Thai chili are spicier and I used them to make green chili paste. The medium and thick chilies are more aromatic and less spicy making them a good choice for garnish.
- The basic trick in making bhuni kaleji is cooking time and technique. So follow the steps closely.
- Resting kaleji after cooking is magic: After cooking lamb liver for 4-5 minutes. Cover pot and rest it. The steam in the pot cooks the liver completely as the liver has very little cooking time. This resting allows the liver to seal some juices inside which keeps your liver fry soft.
- The resting process will make the liver release juices in gravy that we'll burn on high heat. I do it when reheating the liver fry before serving. This works best.
- If you wish to make kaleji pota then you can sub some kaleji with pota in the recipe. Add kidney pieces earlier in the tomato gravy. Let it cook thoroughly then add liver pieces.
- Here's a complete separates post where I discussed everything you need to know about cooking liver and how to handle mishaps.
How to make?
- I'm using a non-stick pan to make this since it has a larger surface for (bhunai) cooking on high heat but a wok or pot will also work well. Fry onion slices on low heat for 7 minutes until very soft, then fry for 1 minute on high to turn onions light golden. (The slow cooking helps onions dissolve easily in gravy.)
- Add spices and give it a stir. Cook for 1 minute. (Protip: Avoid adding salt in the beginning, but a little salt from ginger garlic paste is ok.)
- Next goes in tomatoes, you can use sliced or pureed. Mix well and cover. Cook for 5-7 minutes on medium heat. When tomatoes are soft, stir gravy on high heat to burn tomato water (bhunnofy). (Protip: Add a little water if needed and continue to cook until onion and tomatoes are well cooked, as we will not cook much after adding liver.)
- When you see oil clearly separating on the sides of the pan, add whipped yogurt and dried fenugreek leaves. Cook further for 2-3 minutes on high. Keep stirring. The gravy is ready.
- Add washed liver, mix, and cover the lid. Cook for 2 minutes on medium heat. Remove lid and add salt, cook for another 3 minutes on high heat, keep stirring. Total cooking is of 5 minutes.
- Rest: Switch off the flame and cover the pot. (The liver is not cooked completely, it will continue to cook in a covered pot.) Rest for 10-15 minutes to seal the juices in the liver. The liver will release some water.
- Add ginger, chillies, cilantro, and butter to your liver curry. Then reheat on high flame and burn any extra water (liver juices). Keep stirring on high until oil is visible on the sides of the pan. Consider adding 1-2 tablespoons extra oil if needed.
- Garnish and serve immediately.
If your liver fry turns hard and chewy due to long cooking. To fix it slow cook liver for 40 minutes or until soft. But with this method liver loses its juiciness but it's soft enough to eat with gravy.
Cook liver for minutes on high heat until its color changes completely. Cooking longer can make the liver chewy as it losses most of its juices.
As per food safety washing the liver is not necessary. If your liver is extremely fresh from an animal that was recently slaughtered, you may cook it without washing and it is full of nutrients.
If your liver was stored in the fridge and not as fresh consider, a quick wash that removes most of the blood and clots. Soaking the liver in water or milk for too can remove most of the nutrients and so not recommended.
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Kaleji Fry Masala Recipe | Liver Fry
- ½ cup oil
- 1 medium (125 gram) onion, finely sliced
- 2 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
- ½ tablespoon small green chilli paste
- ½ tablespoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 (200 gram) tomato, purred or sliced
- ⅓ cup yogurt
- 1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves
- 500 grams ( 1.1 pound) lamb or beef Liver, cut in to small pieces
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoon butter or ghee, optional
- 1 fistful coriander leaves, chopped
- 3 medium green chillies, sliced
- 2 inch ginger sliced
- 2 lemon wedges, optional
- In a wok, fry onion on slow heat for 7-10 minutes. When onion slices are very soft increase heat to medium and stir constantly until lightly golden.
- Mix in ingredients in the spice list and give it a stir. When spices sizzle adds tomatoes. Cover and cook on medium heat for 5-7 minutes. When tomatoes are soft stir on high heat and dry all tomato water.
- When oil separates on sides of wok pour in yogurt and fenugreek leaves. Sear for another 2 minutes.
- Now, mix in liver pieces and stir for a minute until color changes. Cover and cook for 2 minutes on medium flame. Remove lid, sprinkle salt. Cook for another 2 minutes on high heat with constant stirring.
- Finally, remove from heat and cover the pot and rest it for 10 minutes at least. The steam in the pot will cook the liver completely.
- Reheat on high flame and and add butter, green chillies, green corianders and ginger. Burn any excess water and sear until oil seperate at the side of pan. (Bhunofy for 1-2 minute).
- Serve immediately with lemon wedges.