Asian Cooking with Pork Liver: Tastes, Recipes, and Health Benefits

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Pork liver is a versatile ingredient in Asian cooking, and it’s a popular ingredient in many dishes. It’s a type of organ meat that comes from pigs, and it has a distinct taste and texture.

It’s high in protein and iron, and it’s an essential nutrient making it a healthy addition to your diet. Pork liver is cooked in different ways depending on the dish, and there are common methods like frying, steaming, and stir-frying. It’s cooked differently in different countries, and it’s a popular ingredient in Chinese cuisine. It’s a fan favorite.

Let’s look at how pork liver is used in Asian cooking and the different ways it’s cooked.

What is pork liver

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Get to Know Pork Liver: A Versatile Ingredient in Asian Cooking

Pork liver is a type of organ meat that comes from pigs. It is commonly used in Asian cuisine, especially in Chinese dishes. Pork liver has a distinct taste and texture that is different from other types of meat. It is high in protein, iron, and other essential nutrients, making it a healthy addition to any diet.

How is Pork Liver Cooked?

Pork liver can be cooked in many different ways, depending on the dish you are making. Here are some common methods of cooking pork liver:

  • Fried: Pork liver can be sliced thin and fried until crispy. This is a popular way to prepare pork liver in many Asian countries.
  • Steamed: Pork liver can be steamed until fully cooked. This is a common method of cooking pork liver in Chinese cuisine.
  • Stir-fried: Pork liver can be cut into small pieces and stir-fried with vegetables and a sauce. This is a quick and easy way to prepare pork liver.
  • Marinated: Pork liver can be marinated in a soy sauce and starch mixture with ginger and garlic. This is a common way to prepare pork liver in Korean cuisine.

Why Should You Try Pork Liver?

If you’re a fan of meat, pork liver is definitely worth a try. Here are some reasons why:

  • Flavor: Pork liver has a unique flavor that is different from other types of meat.
  • Nutrients: Pork liver is high in protein, iron, and other essential nutrients.
  • Versatility: Pork liver can be used in many different dishes, making it a versatile ingredient to have on hand.
  • Local Cuisine: If you’re traveling in Asia, pork liver is a common ingredient in local cuisine. Trying it out can give you a taste of the local food culture.
  • Easy to Cook: Pork liver is easy to prepare and cook, making it a great ingredient for quick and easy meals.

So, don’t worry if you’ve never noticed pork liver on the menu before. Now that you know more about this ingredient, you can start incorporating it into your cooking. Click on some YouTube channels or ask an expert for more recipes and ways to cook pork liver.

What’s the Flavor and Texture of Pork Liver?

The flavor of pork liver is quite different from the typical meat that we are familiar with. Depending on the cut, it can come off as slightly sweet, nutty, strong, or bitter. Some love it, while others despise it. It’s a subjective matter, and you can’t judge it until you try it. The biggest role in the taste of pork liver is played by the anatomical and storage factors. The liver is responsible for absorbing and storing a number of vitamins and minerals, which lends it a rich and intense flavor. The liver also tends to be slightly acidic, which can enhance the taste of the dish.

How to Cook Pork Liver for the Tastiest Asian Dishes

  • When buying pork liver, choose the freshest and youngest one for the best taste.
  • Rinse the liver with cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
  • Cut the liver into small, thin slices or bite-sized pieces before cooking.
  • Season the liver with a pinch of salt and a splash of Chinese wine for added flavor.

Simple Pork Liver Recipe

  • In a small bowl, mix 2 tbsp of soy sauce, 1 tbsp of sesame oil, and 1 tbsp of dark soy sauce.
  • Heat up a claypot or regular pot with some oil and add sliced ginger and chopped onions.
  • Once the onions turn pink, add the liver pieces and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes.
  • Pour in the soy sauce mixture and add a small amount of water.
  • Cover the pot with a lid and let it simmer for 5-7 minutes.
  • Test a piece of liver to make sure it’s sufficiently cooked. Don’t overcook the liver as it can become tough and chewy.
  • Garnish with sliced spring onions and red chilli padi.
  • Serve immediately with lettuce leaves as a condiment.

Other Delicious Pork Liver Recipes

  • Cantonese-style pork liver soup: boil sliced pork liver with mee suah (thinly sliced noodles), garnish with spring onions and serve hot.
  • Pork liver with onions and ginger: stir-fry sliced pork liver with onions and ginger, season with light soy sauce and a pinch of sugar, and serve with rice.
  • Foie gras-inspired pork liver pate: blend cooked pork liver with butter, cream, and seasonings, and serve as a spread on crackers or toast.

Garnishing Tips

  • Sprinkle some chopped spring onions or coriander on top for added freshness.
  • Squeeze some lime or lemon juice over the liver for a tangy taste.
  • Serve with a side of sliced red chilli padi for a spicy kick.
  • Add some sliced garlic for a more pungent flavor.

Expert Tips

  • According to Wiffy, a food blogger who posted a pork liver recipe in August 2014, soaking the liver in milk or salt water can help remove the gamey taste.
  • To prevent the liver from becoming tough, let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.
  • When cooking liver, use minimal oil and don’t overcrowd the pan to avoid steaming the liver instead of frying it.
  • For a healthier option, grill or bake the liver instead of frying it.

Pork Liver: A Versatile Ingredient in Asian Cuisine

One pretty way to cook pork liver is by steaming it with scallions and onions. Here’s how to start:

  • Marinate the pork liver slices in soy sauce, rice wine, and sugar for at least 30 minutes.
  • Spread the marinated liver slices on a plate and top with sliced scallions and onions.
  • Steam the plate in a steamer for about 10 minutes or until the liver is cooked through.

Pork Liver Coated in Dumpling Filling

Another common way to use pork liver in Asian cooking is by adding it to dumplings. Here’s how to do it:

  • Finely chop the pork liver and mix it with ground pork, chopped scallions, and other seasonings to make the dumpling filling.
  • Wrap the filling in dumpling wrappers and cook the dumplings by either frying them in a pan or steaming them in a wok.

Stir-Fried Pork Liver with Green Onions

If you prefer a savory and spicy dish, try stir-frying pork liver with green onions. Here’s how to make it:

  • Heat up a wok or a frying pan and add some oil.
  • When the oil is hot, add the drained and sliced pork liver and stir-fry for a few minutes until it starts to sear.
  • Add chopped green onions and continue stir-frying until the liver is cooked through.
  • Season with soy sauce, oyster sauce, and chili flakes to taste.

Why Pork Liver is a Nutritional Powerhouse

Pork liver is a superfood that is packed with essential nutrients that our bodies need. Here are some of the key nutritional benefits of pork liver:

  • Protein: Pork liver contains a substantial amount of protein, which is essential for building and repairing our bodies’ cells.
  • Vitamins: Pork liver is a fantastic source of vitamins A, B12, and D, which are important for a range of bodily functions, including maintaining healthy skin, eyes, and bones.
  • Minerals: Pork liver is also rich in minerals such as iron, selenium, and zinc, which are important for maintaining healthy blood cells, supporting our immune system, and aiding in wound healing.
  • Amino Acids: Pork liver is a great source of amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein and are essential for many bodily functions.

The Health Benefits of Eating Pork Liver

Eating pork liver can have a range of health benefits, including:

  • Boosting Energy: The high protein content in pork liver can help to keep you feeling full and energized throughout the day.
  • Supporting Immune System: The vitamins and minerals found in pork liver can help to support a healthy immune system, which is important for fighting off infections and illnesses.
  • Improving Brain Function: The amino acids found in pork liver can help to improve brain function and cognitive performance.

The Difference Between Pork Liver and Other Parts of the Pig

While pork liver is a common ingredient in Asian cuisine, it can be easy to confuse it with other parts of the pig. Here are some of the key differences between pork liver and other pig parts:

  • Bacon: Bacon is made from the belly of the pig and is high in fat and calories, while pork liver is much leaner and contains fewer calories.
  • Blood: Pig’s blood is sometimes used in Asian cooking, but it is not the same as pork liver. Blood is unfiltered and contains different nutrients than liver.
  • Other Organs: While other pig organs such as the heart and kidneys are also used in Asian cooking, they do not contain the same nutritional value as pork liver.

Is Pork Liver Healthy?

Despite its bold and slightly metallic taste, pork liver is a highly nutritious food that can be a healthy addition to your diet. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • Low in Fat: Compared to other parts of the pig, pork liver is much lower in fat and calories, making it a great choice for those looking to maintain a healthy weight.
  • Packed with Nutrients: As we’ve already discussed, pork liver is packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that our bodies need to function properly.
  • Delicious and Versatile: While some people may be put off by the taste of pork liver, it can be a delicious and versatile ingredient when cooked properly. In Vietnamese cuisine, for example, pork liver is often marinated in a sweet and savory sauce and served with rice or noodles.


So, that’s how pork liver is used in Asian cooking. It’s a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. It’s a great way to get some protein and vitamins into your diet. So, give it a try! You might just like it!

Check out our new cookbook

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.