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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Pate Gan Gà (Chicken Liver Pate Mousse)

One of the dishes I plan to serve this Lunar New Year is a combination of bánh mì pate, thịt giò bó, chả lụa (sandwich with pate and steamed hams).

I don't have yet the pate for the banh mi. So today after carefully reading and learning the process of making pate, I took my first shot at making chicken liver paté. 

Since I wanted to preserve the natural flavor of the livers, I add little salt in pate. Therefore it turned out a little bit plain. My other flaw was instead of using clarified butter on top of the pate, I just melted the butter and poured it over the pate, so the top layer of the pate was white instead the nice golden-yellow I was hoping for.  For more information on how to make clarified butter, click here.

You want to be careful not to overcook the chicken livers because it will harden the liver and it's the tenderness that gives good pate that sublime and silky texture. Overcooked (browned straight through) livers will make a heavier pate that is grainy on the tongue and far less appealing.  As the pate oxidizes, it turns into the unique greyish green color.

When you shop for the livers, look for good quality livers but this is quite challenging.  Ideally the chicken livers should not have any hint of yellowing. They should be a rich light pinkish to dark purple color with little or no white connective tissue on them.

Even though it was a first attempt, the chicken liver pate turned out surprising good. Whenever I work on a new dish, I'd like  to play with it at least a couple of times; I like how this Paté turned out but there's room for tweaking. As I experiment, I will keep you posted. For now, have a crack at it and ring in the New Year  with some fine living . . . at least vicariously!
RECIPE: Pate Gan Gà (Chicken Liver Pate Mousse)
Printable Recipe


1 lb Chicken Livers, prefer pastured chicken livers, trimmed off all the gristle and wash
1/4 cup Panko Bread Crumbs or Dried Bread/Sandwich
1/2 stick Butter, room temperture to soften it
2-3 tablespoons Butter, for clarified butter
1/2 tablespoon Sugar
3/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt or regular Salt
1 tablespoon Salt, for cleaning the livers
1-1 1/2 teaspoons fresh Ground Pepper 
2-3 whole Shallots, minced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
3 tablespoons Brandy or Cognac
1/4 cup Whipping Cream

In a pot, add water and salt and bring to a boil.  Add livers and bring it to a boil again.  This process is to clean the livers.  Rinse and pat dry.

Cut 1 tablespoon of butter from 1/2 stick butter.  Sauté 1 tablepoon of butter with minced garlic and shallot until fragrant.  Set aside. 

Place livers in a food processor and give it a quick whirl.  Place sauteed garlic and shallot and the remaining ingredients except heavy whipping cream in a food processor.  Process until you have a very smooth mixture.  If you want a super smooth mixture, force the mousse through a fine mesh strainer.

Transfer the mixture into a large ramekin or a shadow plate.  Steam it for about 10-15 minutes or until cooked but still a little bit pink.

Transfer the pate mixture into a large bowl.  Whisk together the heavy whipping cream and pate mixture.

After melting the butter, skim off the white foam (which I forgot) 

Cover with melted clarified butter on top of the smoothed surface of your pate. To be extra fancy, float a bay leaf, thyme leave, a prig of rosemary or peppercorns on top which will set right into the fat and give it nice mottled look. 

When butter layer hardens then cover with cling film, lid or and refrigerate. This way the pate will last in the fridge for up to two weeks or in the freezer for a few months. Bring to room temperature before serving.

(If you happen to have an awesome pate recipe, do share)

Năm Mới Vạn Sự Như ý!
May All Your Wishes Be Fulfilled in the New Year!


  1. I've been followed your blog for a while and have tried a few of your recipes, which all turned out very delicious. This chicken liver pate looks very good. I will put it on my to-try list. Thank you for sharing your recipes

  2. This is great recipe. Thanks for posting. I made a mistake adding ground ginger instead of ground pepper but it still turns out good. Do you know if I can freeze it and use later?