Chicken liver / Kalleeral Masala

I love the show “Iron chef” in food network and no doubt it is one of best culinary show that seems to bring out the best in a chef and the challenges are so competitive, touch and creative. Well, I am not here to talk about iron chef but I am here to talk about the importance of iron in human body. Not only iron chef needs iron but ordinary man like you and me need it too.

A human body is like any other machine, it functions day in and day out, pumps blood, flushes the toxins out and circulates the blood around. The production of good amount of blood depends on the amount of iron present in the body. A self check to see if there is enough blood in the body is to press your nail (remove the polish) for a second and watch the change in color. If it changes from white to pink quickly then it means that you are doing good but if it is otherwise, thenย  its time to pump up your iron intake. Because of bleeding and malabsorption the iron level in the body can be altered so that’s the time to increase your intake.

Did you know that iron plays a key role
(a).in transporting oxygen to cells (yeah remember our 5th standard biology class!!!),
(b).maintaining a healthy immune system (that’s why grandmothers make you drink fresh eggs with milk during menstrual cycle)
(c). promoting healthy brain activity (our cute Popeye eats spinach and thinks fast too).

Iron deficiency can lead to fatigue and weakens the immune system. It’s presence is so key in infants/toddlers that at 12 month doctor visit they get a blood test done to check the hemoglobin levels. Also I had two blood test for it during pregnancy. The pre-natal vitamins for pregnant women has daily requirement of iron in it as its deficiency can cause low birth weight or pre-term babies. Menstruating women and pregnant women and even growing kids must watch their iron intake. Iron exits in two forms, heme and non-heme. Heme is found in meat and non-heme in plants. Since vegan diets contain non-heme, a daily requirement for iron would be higher for vegetarians than non-vegetarians.

For non-vegetarians like me, one easy option is chicken or lamb liver. I used to eat them as a teenager once a month and it was because of my grandmother I got into the habit of eating livers. Many don’t like its rubbery texture but over the years I developed a liking for it. 1 cup of cooked chicken liver has 280 calories and has 66.7% of daily iron requirement. Is it not an easy option for us?

Here is my recipe for a flavorful curry with chicken liver. I cooked them in an onion-ginger-garlic sauce and tempered with exotic spices and earthly curry leaves. I used close to 1 tablespoon oil and this makes it less oily but the curry is loaded with tons of flavors.
KOZHI ERAL VARUVAL (Chicken livery curry)
Source: My grandmother
Serves 2
  • 1 pound chicken liver – clean and cut into small chunks
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 20 curry leaves – torn
  • 2 large onions – chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger – minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic – minced
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoon chilli powder (according to your spice level)
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Salt to taste
  1. Clean the liver and cut into pieces and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a pan and add curry leaves and let it crisp. Then add the onions and little salt and let it brown, about 15 minutes covered. Then add ginger and garlic and saute for another 2 minutes.
  3. Now add liver pieces and add turmeric, chili and coriander powder, stir for 2 minutes for the raw smell t disappear. Sprinkle water and close the lid. Cook covered for 15 minutes. Once done, add garam masala and salt to taste.
  4. Serve hot with rice or bread of your choice.
Additional notes
  1. Chicken liver can be eaten at all phases of South beach diet. It is a known fact that liver contains high cholesterol. So people with high cholesterol consult doctor before eating it.
  2. For young women, it is suggested by old Indian medicine and elders at home to eat it around the time of menstrual cycle. This will help to balance the blood lost during periods.ย  This dish is also good for pregnancy women. But for safer reasons, always consult your doctor when in doubt.
  3. Same recipe can be reproduced for lamb/mutton liver.
  4. Be careful not to overcook the liver otherwise they will turn rubbery and chewy.

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  1. My brothers used to fight for Chicken and Beef liver. I never got the hang of it, but yeah Mr.S likes them ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Seriously cant take my eyes from ur irresistible click,super tempting liver curry..makes me hungry.

  3. I love chicken livers and curry although it's never occurred to me to try them together! Thanks for the great recipe, I'm going to try it this weekend!

  4. Dear Vijitha
    How are you? I am here after a long time! Just away into wilderness. This posting is very informative. I remember in my young days only iron cookwares were used long before the introduction of aluminium , SS etc. I like this recipe and will try it with other liver as I cant eat chicken liver.
    Have a nice weekend

  5. this is really interesting, I nevet thought that it was so important, I really don't like liver but I will search for other things that contain iron

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