Moroccan Liver

moroccan liver

Liver cooked on a skewer (Kouah) and served as a kebab is very common street food in Morocco. This is often calf’s or lamb’s liver (Boulfaf), wrapped in caul fat. The liver can be interspersed with other offal, such as heart. The meat is eaten straight from the skewer or in a flat bread sandwich.

There are many variations on this theme along the Southern Mediterranean coast. You will also find spiced chicken liver served on hummus in the Levant. Note the inclusion of pimentón de la Vera, which has become popular relative to centuries of interaction with Spain and the exodus of Moriscos when they were expelled from Iberia.

Moroccan Liver recipe (serves 4):

500g lamb’s liver
1 small onion (sliced)
a teaspoon cumin seeds (ground)
1 teaspoon pimentón de la Vera dulce
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1 star anise
a large pinch sea salt
a large pinch ground black pepper
a good splash of sherry vinegar
2 dessertspoons extra virgin olive oil

To serve:
fresh coriander (chopped)
a squeeze of lemon juice

lamb’s liver

Clean the liver and removed any tough bits.


Warm the cumin seeds, then grind with a little salt, using a mortar and pestle. Put the liver into a non reactive bowl and sprinkle on the dry ingredients. Don’t crush the star anise unless you want a strong aniseed flavour.


Splash on the liquid and mix well. Cover and leave to marinate for an hour or two in the fridge.


In the meantime, slice the onion and sofreír (poach) on a low heat with plenty of olive oil, until soft and sticky. Allow to cool, then reheat when cooking the liver.

fried liver

Flash fry the liver when it has been marinated,   it’s lamb, so it can be eaten burnt, bloody or pink according to taste.

Serve as a starter with the onions, a sprinkle of chopped coriander and a squirt of lemon juice. Alternately, put the liver onto skewers, grill on a barbecue and serve in pita bread, with fried onion, hummus, lemon, coriander, salad and chilli sauce.

I recommend drinking Domaine de Sahari Gris du Maroc Rosé with the liver – Morocco produces some high quality wines with a tradition of vinification dating back to the Phoenicians and Romans.

About Mad Dog
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10 Responses to Moroccan Liver

  1. I remember a community dinner in Azrou, and I was fortunate enough to be a guest of honor. As such, the goat liver skewers were offered to me first, along with the testicles. Just wonderful. Yours has a lot more flavor and, if I can find lamb’s liver, I will be making this in preparation for our spring trip to Morocco. I suppose calve’s liver will do if I cannot find lamb. Thanks!

  2. Very nice recipe MD! En mi casa hacían hígado encebollado y es la única manera en la que lo como (de ternera). Tendré que expandir mis horizontes y atreverme con esta receta ☺️

  3. Velva Knapp says:

    Wow, this looks incredibly flavorful. I grew up eating calf’s liver and muddled through it-but, this looks fantastic.


  4. Sounds like my kind of eating, MD! I actually rather like liver and, for that matter, heart. Both are fantastic grilled, and the flavors here all sound lovely. We’re actually having unseasonably warm weather at the moment. Feels like summer. So I might even break out the barbecue. In November… who’d have thought?

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Frank, I’m quite partial to offal too – perhaps you could intersperse Moroccan Liver with chicken hearts on skewers for the barbecue.

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