Friday, April 11, 2008

Isaan-style Sausages

I made another sausage! This time I made a fragrant, garlicky, spicy sausage using the “Thai trinity” (lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime leaves) as the flavor base. The only thing that was missing was the sour component characteristic of this type of sausage. It is achieved by fermenting the sausage at room temperature for 1 to several days (see note). Wasn’t quite ready to go there, but soon, I promise! Even without the sourness, this fresh sausage turned out very tasty. Good thing too; I made 5 pounds of it!

Isaan-style Sausages
15 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped
3 stalks lemon grass, finely minced
1 tbs minced galangal
2 heads garlic (about 20 or so cloves), minced
Fresh bird’s eye chillies, to taste (start with 5 then go up from there)
1 bunch cilantro, minced
4.5 pounds boneless pork shoulder, diced
1/2 pound pork (back) fat, diced
2 cups cooked, cold sticky rice, kernels separated (other long-grain rice will work)
1 ¼ oz kosher salt (more or less to taste)
1 cup very cold water

Note: If you have the nerve to try fermenting the sausage, you'll need to add 1/4 tsp of pink salt per kilogram (approx 2.2 lbs) of sausage. Hang the sausage for 1 to several days at room temperature (approx 70 degrees is optimal). Keep it out of direct sunlight. A cool basement is probably the best choice if you have one. Test the level of sourness by cooking a small piece bit every day. Once you determine the sausage is sour enough, freeze whatever you don't plan to eat right away.
Season the diced meat and fat with the lime leaves, lemongrass, galangal, garlic, chillies and cilantro. Stick the meat in the freezer for about an hour. The meat should be well chilled, just starting to freeze. Your grinding equipment should be well chilled as well. I like using the coarse die for sausage. It leaves the texture just course enough to know you're eating real meat. Grind the meat into a bowl set on ice. To the ground meat, add the salt and water. Mix well. Lastly add the rice and mix again. Take a small portion to cook to determine if it’s seasoned properly (put the rest in the fridge while doing this). If it’s all good, then stuff the sausage into hog casings and enjoy! It's great served as a snack with ginger matchsticks, fresh roasted peanuts, and chillies. Being the simple person I am, I like to eat mine with sticky rice. I bet it would be yummy as a base for fried rice or noodles too. Remember, freeze whatever you can’t eat within two or three days.

Here are some other sausage recipes on my list that you may like to try: Burnt Lumpia's Longanisa and Mrs. Marv's Thai-spiced chicken sausage.


Anonymous said...

Looks and sounds delicious. I LOVE Issan sausage although I never even dreamed of making it. Thanks for sharing!

Manggy said...

Darlene, you're a biochemist?!!? That's so cool! (of course it's cool to me, heh)

I think I would be very scared indeed to ferment sausages-- I would let the pros do it, even if by making it I'm more likely to be safe, hahaha :)

dp said...

syrie, thank you! It's not hard to do, especially when you don't do the fermentation bit.

manggy, I don't do much biochemistry these days. I'm more of a cell biologist now. But I'm still cool :-)

Funny you should mention letting the pros do it...I've been reading a little and it seems that the sausage industry cuts a lot of corners. Because fermentation requires time, which in turn means money, the industry is turning to additives like citric acid or products like Fermento (dairy-based enhancer). While those additives aren't harmful and they greatly reduce the risk of poisoning, there will be a compromise in the taste. That's probably more than anyone cared to know, but I thought it was interesting.

test it comm said...

Those sausages do sound tasty even without the fermentation! I have never tried this type of sausage.

Mike of Mike's Table said...

This sounds amazing and completely new to me! I'm really enjoying your meat-themed're exposing me to a completely new realm of food that I need to start experimenting with. Very nice work!

dp said...

Kevin, unfortunately it's almost impossible to find them anywhere outside of Thailand, so you'll just have to make your own :-)

Mike, what a great compliment. Thank you! One of the things I wanted to do with this blog is show that there's more to Thai food then the typical stuff you find in restaurants and that it was all do-able at home.

Anonymous said...

Hi dp. I'm with you, I'd be a bit apprehensive at first to ferment the sausage. And thanks for the shout-out! Also, I noticed that the link to Mrs. Marv goes back to my post (ironic, considering her name!)

dp said...

Thanks Marvin. I updated the link.

Anonymous said...

I am well impressed! I had many of these sausages when I was recently in Chiang Mai and I never would have thought of making it at home!

Dee said...

Su-Lin, now you can give it a try! It requires a little time if you start from the meat grinding and if you do the fermentation, but well worth it. And they freeze beautifully.


Anonymous said...

I went to Vegas this weekend and had the wonderful experience of Lotus of Siam's fried rice with sour sausage--the only time i felt lucky in lv! thanks for the recipe-
Gretchen, NJ Shore

Dee said...

Gretchen, you were lucky! And now you can make them yourself. Double jackpot.

Next time I visit my parents in LV, I'll check out Lotus of Siam. Thanks for the tip.