Recipe: Cartlak Kebap (Liver Kebab With Onion Salad)


Adapted from Musa Dağdeviren, as presented at the 2008 World of Flavors Conference.

Serves 6 to 8

For the liver:

    • 1 lamb's liver, whole
    • 1 ounce beef tallow
    • 3 ounces lamb fat (from the tail)
    • 1 ½ teaspoon Maras chile pepper
    • 1 ½ teaspoon cumin
    • 1 ½ teaspoon dried mint
    • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • salt to taste
    • skewers as needed

For the Onion Salad (Sogan piyazi):

    • 1 bunch parsley
    • 7 scallions
    • 1 red Anaheim pepper
    • salt to taste
    • 3 teaspoons sumac
    • lavash, or pita bread, for serving
    • cumin, for sprinkling

Clean the liver. Remove the membrane. Cut the meat, tallow, and lamb fat into quarter-inch cubes.

Skewer two pieces of liver followed by one piece of fat on metal or bamboo skewers—soaked in water, if you use bamboo—making longer or shorter kebabs, as you like them.

Mix the Maras chile pepper, cumin, dried mint, and black pepper.

Heat a charcoal or gas grill to maximum heat.

Place the liver kebabs on the grill and while grilling, sprinkle often with the spice mixture, turning often. Be careful not to overcook.

To make the onion salad, finely chop the parsley, scallions, and red pepper. Mix with the salt and sumac. Refrigerate for one to two hours.

To serve, un-skewer the pieces of liver on warm lavash or pita bread and sprinkle with cumin. Add the sogan piyazi, and roll the bread around the liver and salad.

To read Aglaia's article about the Turkish chef Musa Dağdeviren, click here.

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Aglaia Kremezi writes about food in Greek, European, and American magazines, publishes books about Mediterranean cooking in the U.S. and Greece, and teaches cooking classes. More

Aglaia Kremezi has changed her life and her profession many times over. She currently writes about food in Greek, European and American magazines, publishes books about Greek and Mediterranean cooking in the US and in Greece, and teaches cooking to small groups of travelers who visit Kea. Before that she was a journalist and editor, writing about everything, except politics. She has been the editor in chief and the creator of news, women's, and life-style magazines, her last disastrous venture being a "TV guide for thinking people," a contradiction in terms, at least in her country. She studied art, graphic design, and photography at the Polytechnic of Central London. For five years she taught photography to graphic designers while freelancing as a news and fashion photographer for Athenian magazines and newspapers. Editors liked her extended captions more than the pieces the journalists submitted for the events she took pictures for, so she was encouraged to do her own stories, gradually becoming a full time journalist and editor. You can visit her website at

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