Arnavut Cigeri Recipe from Saudi Arabia | Delicious Lamb Dish

Arnavut Cigeri

Arnavut Cigeri Recipe from Saudi Arabia | Delicious Lamb Dish
Region / culture: Saudi Arabia | Preparation time: 45 minutes | Cooking time: 10 minutes | Servings: 4


Arnavut Cigeri
Arnavut Cigeri

Arnavut Cigeri, a traditional Turkish dish, is a delightful culinary experience that brings the rich flavors of liver to the forefront, complemented by the sharpness of onions and the unique taste of raki. This dish, which translates to Albanian liver, is a popular meze in Turkey, enjoyed for its bold flavors and simple yet satisfying preparation. It's a testament to the simplicity and depth of Turkish cuisine, where every ingredient plays a crucial role in creating a harmonious dish.


The origins of Arnavut Cigeri can be traced back to the Ottoman Empire, where it was a favored dish among the Albanian guards of the Sultan. Over time, it became integrated into Turkish cuisine, evolving with regional variations but always maintaining its core ingredients: liver, onions, and a touch of heat from red pepper. This dish is a beautiful example of the cultural exchanges that have shaped the culinary landscape of the region.


How to prepare

  1. Place the onion rings in a sieve or colander, sprinkle them with 1 tbsp of salt, and toss them gently to coat evenly.
  2. Allow the onion rings to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes, then rinse them under warm running water and gently squeeze them dry.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the onions, parsley, and red pepper until well combined.
  4. Set the mixture aside.
  5. Place the liver in a bowl, pour in the raki, and stir them together for a few seconds.
  6. Then, pour off the raki.
  7. Combine the liver and flour in another bowl, place the liver in a sieve, and shake off any excess flour.
  8. In a heavy skillet measuring 10 to 12 inches, heat the oil over high heat until a light haze forms above it.
  9. Add the liver to the hot oil and stir it for 1 or 2 minutes, or until the cubes are lightly browned.
  10. Stir in the remaining 0.25 tsp of salt and a few grindings of pepper.
  11. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the liver to paper towels to drain.
  12. Arrange the liver in the center of a heated platter, and surround it with the onion-ring mixture and red pepper strips.
  13. Serve immediately.


  • For a spicier version, increase the amount of crushed hot red pepper. You can also substitute chicken or calf liver for a different flavor profile. Adding a touch of sumac or smoked paprika can introduce new dimensions to the dish.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To ensure the liver is tender and flavorful, soak it in milk or raki before cooking; this helps to remove any bitterness. Make sure to pat the liver dry before coating it with flour to achieve a crispy exterior. When frying, do not overcrowd the pan to allow each piece to brown nicely. Lastly, serve the dish immediately to enjoy its full flavor and texture.

Serving Suggestions

Arnavut Cigeri is traditionally served as a meze, accompanied by slices of lemon and fresh parsley. It pairs well with warm, crusty bread to soak up the flavors and a glass of raki or wine to complement its rich taste.

Cooking Techniques

The key technique in preparing Arnavut Cigeri is the quick frying of the liver at high heat, which seals in the juices and ensures a crispy exterior. Soaking the onions in salt before rinsing them softens their bite and adds a subtle complexity to the dish.

Ingredient Substitutions

If raki is not available, you can use another anise-flavored aperitif like ouzo or Pernod. For a gluten-free version, almond flour or chickpea flour can replace regular flour.

Make Ahead Tips

The onion and parsley mixture can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator. However, the liver should be cooked just before serving to maintain its texture and flavor.

Presentation Ideas

Serve Arnavut Cigeri on a platter with the liver in the center, surrounded by the onion mixture and red pepper strips. Garnish with lemon wedges and a sprinkle of parsley for a vibrant presentation.

Pairing Recommendations

A crisp white wine or a light-bodied red wine pairs beautifully with Arnavut Cigeri, balancing the richness of the liver. For a non-alcoholic option, a sparkling water with lemon complements the dish's flavors.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Leftover Arnavut Cigeri can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days. Reheat gently in a skillet over low heat to prevent the liver from becoming tough.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A single serving of Arnavut Cigeri contains approximately 300-350 calories, making it a moderately calorie-dense dish that can fit into a balanced diet.


Arnavut Cigeri is relatively low in carbohydrates, with the main sources being onions and flour used for coating the liver. A serving of this dish contains approximately 10-15 grams of carbohydrates, making it a suitable option for those following a low-carb diet.


The olive oil used for frying contributes to the fat content of this dish. However, since the liver is cooked quickly at high heat, it does not absorb a significant amount of oil. A serving of Arnavut Cigeri contains about 15-20 grams of fat, primarily healthy monounsaturated fats from the olive oil.


Liver is an excellent source of high-quality protein. A serving of Arnavut Cigeri provides roughly 25-30 grams of protein, making it a great option for muscle repair and growth.

Vitamins and minerals

Liver is packed with essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, B vitamins (especially B12), iron, copper, and zinc. These nutrients support various bodily functions, including vision, energy production, and immune system health.


The primary allergens in this dish are gluten (from the flour) and potential allergens in raki, depending on its specific ingredients. Those with gluten sensitivities can use a gluten-free flour alternative.


Arnavut Cigeri is a nutrient-dense dish that offers a good balance of proteins, fats, and essential vitamins and minerals, with a moderate calorie count. It's suitable for those following a low-carb diet and can be adapted for gluten-sensitive individuals.


Arnavut Cigeri is a flavorful and nutritious dish that showcases the best of Turkish cuisine. With its rich history, simple ingredients, and satisfying taste, it's a wonderful addition to any meal, offering a unique culinary experience that's both delicious and healthful.

How did I get this recipe?

The first time I saw this recipe, I knew it was something special. It was a hot summer day in Istanbul, and I was wandering through the vibrant streets of the city, taking in all the sights, sounds, and smells. As I passed by a bustling market, my nose was suddenly filled with the tantalizing aroma of sizzling meat and spices. Intrigued, I followed my senses towards a small, unassuming food stall where a man was expertly frying up a dish that looked unlike anything I had ever seen before.

Curious, I approached the stall and struck up a conversation with the friendly cook. He explained to me that he was making Arnavut Cigeri, a traditional Turkish dish made with tender cubes of liver, seasoned with garlic, paprika, and cumin, and fried until golden brown. As he plated up a steaming portion for me to try, I was already salivating in anticipation.

The first bite was a revelation. The liver was cooked to perfection – tender and juicy on the inside, with a crispy, flavorful crust on the outside. The spices blended together harmoniously, creating a symphony of flavors that danced on my taste buds. I was hooked.

I begged the cook to share his recipe with me, and after some coaxing, he finally relented. He walked me through each step, explaining the importance of marinating the liver in a mixture of olive oil, garlic, and spices before frying it to ensure maximum flavor and tenderness. I scribbled down every detail in my notebook, determined to recreate this masterpiece in my own kitchen.

Back at home, I gathered all the ingredients and set to work. As the liver sizzled in the pan, the familiar scent of garlic and spices filled the air, transporting me back to that bustling market in Istanbul. I followed the cook’s instructions to the letter, and when I finally plated up the finished dish and took my first bite, I felt a rush of pride and satisfaction.

From that day on, Arnavut Cigeri became a staple in my culinary repertoire. I would make it for family gatherings, dinner parties, and even just for myself when I craved a taste of Turkey. Each time I cooked it, I was transported back to that sunny day in Istanbul, surrounded by the sights, sounds, and smells of a city that had captured my heart.

Over the years, I shared the recipe with friends, neighbors, and anyone else who expressed an interest. I loved seeing their faces light up as they took their first bite, just as mine had all those years ago. And each time I made Arnavut Cigeri, I felt a connection to that friendly cook in the market, who had unknowingly sparked a passion for this incredible dish within me.

Now, as I sit in my kitchen, surrounded by the aromas of garlic, paprika, and cumin, I can’t help but smile. That chance encounter in Istanbul had led me on a culinary journey that had enriched my life in ways I never could have imagined. And as I take a bite of the tender, flavorful liver in front of me, I am filled with gratitude for the recipe, the cook, and the city that had inspired it all.


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