Vietnamese Chicken Liver Pate

"I'm posting due to my infatuation with Banh Mi. The Vietnamese Pate differs in that it's laced with fish sauce. The Banh Mi is traditional Vietnamese street food originally starting out as French baguettes with butter and pate. When you combine French colonial influence with the exotic flavors and abundant fresh herbs of Vietnam, along with some culinary innovation of the Vietnamese people, you are presented with an exquisite combination of color, texture, flavor and history. It’s essentially an umami experience! Prep time includes an overnight milk soak. Recipe from:"
photo by a user photo by a user
Ready In:
24hrs 10mins




  • Wash the chicken livers and remove any excess white or yellow membrane. Wash again. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon salt over the chicken livers and mix thoroughly.
  • Pour enough milk over the livers to cover. Refrigerate overnight. (Note: Soaking the chicken livers overnight in milk reduces the strength of liver flavor. I recommend to include this step.).
  • The next day, rinse the livers and chop into smaller pieces. Set aside.
  • Saute one small diced onion and six cloves of garlic. Don't worry if they aren't too uniform as everything gets pureed anyway.
  • When the onions have slightly softened, add the chopped livers and 1/2 cup white wine OR 1 tablespoon cognac.
  • Saute until cooked and continue simmering for another 5 minutes or so until liquid reduces. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons fish sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  • Set mixture aside to slightly cool.
  • After alowing the mixture to cool a bit then puree in a food processor along with one stick (8 tablespoons) of butter. The heat of the warm mix will melt the butter and allow easy incorporation. Process until smooth. Pour mixture into ramekins lightly coated with butter.
  • Add just enough butter to coat the top of each container to prevent drying of the surface of the pate. Note: it is best to melt the butter at its lowest possible temperature, this will prevent re-liquefying of the pate and then pour this on as a thin layer on top of the pate in the dishes. Store refrigerated.
  • IMPORTANT NOTES: Regular butter to seal the Pate will need to be brought to room temperature to allow the butter seal to be spreadable. For food safety, the Pate must not be unrefrigerated for more than 2 hours in total time after cooking. This means if it is brought out of the fridge for use then returned, It is only safe for a total sum of two hours out of the fridge. If it's during hot weather or a very warm room {more than 90F}, then this time must be reduced to one hour. It is best to cut off a segment and place it on a serving dish returning the sealed unused portion immediately to the refrigerator to eliminated the doubt. The pate will keep in the fridge for five days. It may be stored frozen for 1 month. Make sure that the pate is covered if returned to the fridge after the butter seal has been cut.
  • ONE MORE NOTE: After cooking, liver tends to turn a pasty gray and ashen color which is quite unappealing. Add a few drops of red food coloring for aesthetics, if desired.

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  1. Just made this with whitefish livers that came my way. Really nice but I might cut back a bit on the salt. You can always add more. Processed in the Vitamix because I like buttery smooth pate.
  2. Great texture, super solid flavor. I only soaked the liver in milk for ~3 hours and there was no detectable offensive "liver-y" flavor. My Viet parents were super-psyched. Cheers. Oh! And I'd suggest smoothing even the pate reserved for storage before topping with butter. Just a reminder if you're dumb like me.


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