Meaty Stir-fried Pig’s Liver

For those of us who grew up in or near a Chinatown, pig’s liver was more common than calves’ liver, which is what the wider American community ate. Pig’s liver was inexpensive and my mother used to pick it up for dinner on her way home. She would blanch the liver before stir-frying it, usually with whatever vegetable was fresh and in season at the same local corner Chinese grocery. I especially love the recipe in which she paired the liver with silk squash, a unique Chinese vegetable (which can be found in Chinese grocers) that tasted like a cross between a cucumber and a courgette. It was tender and sweet and provided a wonderful contrast to the liver in taste and texture.


  • 450 g (1 lb) pig’s liver
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons potato flour or cornflour
  • 4 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 85 g (3 oz) chopped red onion
  • 450 g (1 lb) silk squash, courgettes or cucumber, peeled and roll-cut
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped spring onions
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 4 tablespoons Chinese Chicken Stock or store-bought fresh stock
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil


Cut the liver into 5 cm (2 in) strips lengthways and then into thin slices about 3 mm ( in) thick. Blanch the liver in a pot of boiling water for 1 minute, remove to a colander and refresh with cold water to stop it from cooking further. Blot the liver pieces dry. Mix the light soy sauce, 2 teaspoons of rice wine, sugar, salt, pepper and potato flour, and stir in the liver.

Heat a wok or large frying pan over a high heat until it is hot. Add the groundnut oil and, when it is very hot and slightly smoking, toss in the garlic, ginger and onion and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Then dump in the silk squash and spring onions and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Pour in the soy sauces, oyster sauce and 1 tablespoon of rice wine and add the sugar. Cook for 1 minute. Drizzle in the stock and continue to cook for another 2 minutes. Add the liver and cook for a further 2 minutes. Finally, stir in the sesame oil and give the mixture several good stirs. Transfer the contents of the wok to a platter and serve at once.