roumiyeh-raw liver 2 copyThere was a time during the Lebanese civil war and for a while after, when I spent nearly 14 years without going back to Lebanon. So naturally, the first time I went back, I wanted to eat everything I had growin up there, recovering long lost flavours that I had missed in my years abroad. But there was one thing I had lost a taste for and that was raw liver. Like most Lebanese, I ate it from when I could chew — it is a great Lebanese delicacy, often eaten for breakfast from a freshly killed lamb — but my years in London and Paris had made me somewhat squeamish, at least as far as raw liver was concerned although not for very long. After gingerly taking a bite or two, I got used again to the faintly bloody taste and the slippery texture and tucked in. And I now make a pilgrimage every time I go to visit my mother to Qal’et el-Rumiyeh where they rear and butcher their own lambs to eat all kinds of raw meat dishes including raw liver.

roumiyeh-raw liver copyThe liver is always served with diced fat tail — both should be at room temperature — and a selection of spices: white pepper, cayenne pepper, sumac, cumin, coriander and salt. The way you eat it is by dipping a piece of liver into each of the seasonings, then put the seasoned liver in a piece of pita bread, add a cube of fat tail a mint leaf or two depending on the size then wrap the bread around as in the picture below and pop the scrumptious bite into your mouth for an absolutely delectable morsel. It is still time for breakfast where I am in Beirut now but I will not be having raw liver this morning. Something else which I will post in a day or two!

roumiyeh-raw liver bite copy



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There is 3 comments on this post

  • A Lebanese friend of mine linked me to this post when I was talking about trying beef liver for the first time and was looking for ways to eat it. I’m not sure I could handle it raw–but this actually looks good to me! I’m not sure I could even find fat tail here in the States at the supermarket or that I’d want to eat it if I found it at the supermarket! I got our beef liver from a local farmer, grass-fed, free-range quality beef liver… but raw? I just don’t know! However, your pictures look amazing! Thank you for sahring them!

    Love and stuff,

  • I love raw liver 🙂

  • Hi Michelle, I realize your post is quite dated but I couldn’t really resist a conversation involving “nayye” or what the Lebanese call a raw delicacy. Beef liver tastes quite different. Its somewhat grainy texture (compared to lamb) usually goes well with a pan fry and some citric acid to de-bolden the flavor.

    I personally tried both versions in the US and have found that there is quite a significant loss in flavor compared to what I would try back at home. Clenbuterol is commonly found in commercial cattle in the US, and a good number of approved hormones used to be injected into them (now it just comes in their fodder). This certainly influences flavor, not to mention health risks, so I think your best bet would be to enjoy it cooked.

    Try your liver pan fried with pomegranate molasses and some pine nuts, season with cinnamon, sweet black pepper, salt and a dash of white vinegar. Serve with fresh lemon, mint leaves and tiny sprinkle of sumac on soft pita bread.
    Of course, if you can quickly load a Fairuz clip on YouTube as you are taking your first bite that would get your 5th sense to join all the other 4 when going for your first bite. Sahten !

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