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Chinese sausage


helenas
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We had a chicken with chinese sausages and black mushrooms from "Staffmeals from Chanterelle" yesterday for dinner. As recommended by the book i bought sausages containing some duck liver. As i sliced them to put into a pan for cooking i tried one piece, and it really tasted funny, almost coconut-sweety, but i decided to proceed. The dish came out pretty well; chicken, mushrooms (i used fresh oysters) and braising liquid (contained oyster sauce, chicken stock, soy sauce, ginger and scallions) were very tasty, but i still was not thrilled by those sausages. The dish is really worth trying again, but what's with sausages? Should i try some other brand? My store carries about ten of different kinds.

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Chinese sausages are on the sweet side.

They are especially good in fried rice dishes, especially with pineapple, thai basil and heavy use of chiles.

They also have more savory kinds which are used in sticky rice dishes. But they are still sweeter than their western counterparts.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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I'm afraid that they all will be sweetish, although the degree changes from maker to maker. Some brands are much better then others, some have a distinct metalic taste which I don't like. Some of the sausages are made with liver and are therefore, much darker in colour. Still sweetish, but you may like them more.

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Yes, they are sweet. Too sweet. I only use those with duck liver and usually use some rice vinegar. In fact, I sometimes slice them up and marinate them in rice vinegar before using them. :wink:

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

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Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Yes, they are sweet. Too sweet. I only use those with duck liver and usually use some rice vinegar. In fact, I sometimes slice them up and marinate them in rice vinegar before using them. :wink:

You're so right about this vinegar thing; i had the gut feeling i need some splash of vinegar, but was unwilling to change much in the recipe (already substituting black mushrooms for oysters).

On the positive side all this sweetness helped to keep a chicken skin from becoming mushy during the covered braising, and i got a nice crispy skin by putting a pan for two minutes under the broiler (neat trick i learnt on egullet!)

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I worked on a project for a sausage maker in China recently. I was surprised by the sweetness of sausages there. In fact, one of the most popular snacks in China is called "red sausage" which is a wax covered stick sausage that is shelf stable. People eat these like bananas, peeling them and eating while walking down the street. They are cheap as dirt and pretty awful too. The streets in Beijing are littered with red casings.

But even the better grades of sausage are sweetish, as others have said here.

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But what's with the Chinese sausages?

There are two primary types of sausages sold in Chinese butchers and food markets: pork and duck liver. While the store may be selling more kinds than this, they typically are one or the other and differ in the coarseness/texture of the chopped meat filling. Additionally some sausages are prepackaged and usually refrigerated while others hang at room temperature behind the butcher's counter.

I have never developed a taste for the duck liver sausages, I find their texture dry and mealy, but love the pork sausages. They are sweet, but go very well with certain flavor combinations.

I would suggest purchasing the coarsely ground loose pork sausages. They are sold in multiples of two, because they are manufactured so that two sausages are tied together by a coarse rope. Since the sausages are hanging out in the open it is good idea to rinse them thoroughly under hot water before using them. A finicky chef I know actually suggests dropping in them in boiling water. In any event they must be wet cooked for about 1/2 hour before they are worth eating. You're right they do taste funny without cooking.

One of my favorite ways to prepare them is with rice. When I'm making a pot of rice I frequently take 4-6 sausages and roll-cut them into 1 1/2" - 2" lengths and place them on top of my rice right before I cover the pot. After the rice cooks for 20 minutes and then rests for an additional 10 the sausages are beautifully cooked and the pork fat drips down and flavors the rice. Delicious! If you have any leftover, this rice also makes particularly good fried rice.

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One of my favorite ways to prepare them is with rice. When I'm making a pot of rice I frequently take 4-6 sausages and roll-cut them into 1 1/2" - 2" lengths and place them on top of my rice right before I cover the pot. After the rice cooks for 20 minutes and then rests for an additional 10 the sausages are beautifully cooked and the pork fat drips down and flavors the rice. Delicious! If you have any leftover, this rice also makes particularly good fried rice.

That was a staple in my college days. It's still comfort food for me.

What are the fatter and longer sausages (look similar to salami) called? My mom buys them sliced from a Cantonese butcher and they're usually hanging beside the bbq duck and other bbq meats. They're a little less sweet that the short, thin ones and I tend to just eat them on their own.

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One of my favorite ways to prepare them is with rice. When I'm making a pot of rice I frequently take 4-6 sausages and roll-cut them into 1 1/2" - 2" lengths and place them on top of my rice right before I cover the pot. After the rice cooks for 20 minutes and then rests for an additional 10 the sausages are beautifully cooked and the pork fat drips down and flavors the rice. Delicious! If you have any leftover, this rice also makes particularly good fried rice.

That was a staple in my college days. It's still comfort food for me.

What are the fatter and longer sausages (look similar to salami) called? My mom buys them sliced from a Cantonese butcher and they're usually hanging beside the bbq duck and other bbq meats. They're a little less sweet that the short, thin ones and I tend to just eat them on their own.

The Cantonese phrase for sausage is 'lop chang'.

It sounds like the sausage you're describing is a freshly prepared and cooked (that's why they're with the ducks in the window) ROAST sausage called 'kao' (roast) lop chang'. This actually is a VERY coarsely textured fresh (not dried like regular lop chang) sausage that is flavored and cooked like traditional roat pork. It is not a commonly prepared item in the US though I do run across it from time to time. I almost always try it when I see it, as roast sausage can be quite delicious.

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The best Chinese sausages were ones a Cambodian-Chinese friend use to bring from Paris - don't know if its the Indochinese influence out there, but they were juicier and more flavoursome.

I agree best moist cooked - especially sliced and steamed which leaves them plump and juicy. At a pinch they can be sliced and sauteed though - very nice with scrambled eggs.

Some of the sausages have a funny, slightly artificial taste which is not entirely pleasant.

As well as the wax covered sausages its very common in China to find a kind of bastardised hybrid between a western banger and a chinese sausage - fresh and banger shaped by redder and sweeter. They sell them on the street grilled in little roller machines. Very nice but awfully fatty.

J

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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Yes, that sounds right. They're quite common in Vancouver's Chinatown. I think almost every butcher has them; however, I've never had them in any restaurant.

They are sometimes found in a Cantonese restaurant with a serious BBQ program. Unlike the shorter thinner 'lop chang' they are ready to heat and neither need nor benefit from further cooking. However they can be tossed into a dish and just heated through. For instance they would be great in fried rice but not steamed over white rice.

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  • 5 months later...

helenas,

I agree with eatingwitheddie. Starting off with the 'pork and duck liver' instead of just the 'pork' type is ambitious for someone whose never had Chinese sausage. I also have it sliced at an angle, steamed at the same time with the rice and then eaten with rice.

Kings is a good brand. You're just going to have to try different brand and see which you like best.

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LOL! My Caucasian husband, who will eat Chinese food that I wouldn't touch, hates Chinese sausage. Yeah, the Chinese like their meat somewhat sweeter. Just take a look at Chinese jerky.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Yes, they are sweet. Too sweet. I only use those with duck liver and usually use some rice vinegar. In fact, I sometimes slice them up and marinate them in rice vinegar before using them. :wink:

You're so right about this vinegar thing; i had the gut feeling i need some splash of vinegar, but was unwilling to change much in the recipe (already substituting black mushrooms for oysters).

On the positive side all this sweetness helped to keep a chicken skin from becoming mushy during the covered braising, and i got a nice crispy skin by putting a pan for two minutes under the broiler (neat trick i learnt on egullet!)

I'm in the camp that eschews chinese lop chang because they're too darned sweet. I never cottoned to them while growing up although my Cantonese grandma employed them throughout her cooking opportunistically. I far prefer western sausages and have often substituted spicy Italian sausage when I thought I could get away with it.

To tell the truth though, I shy away from substituting western sausages while cooking traditional Chinese fare for my family . It's just not worth the grief. Besides, there are a few dishes where lop chang work well, such as the steamed rice dish described above. However, if you don't have to worry about shrewish relatives, you should feel free to substitute your own favorite variety of extruded meat product.

Edited by titus wong (log)
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The Cantonese phrase for sausage is 'lop chang'.

Sorry to nitpick, but the more usual transliteration (at least around here) is 'lop cheung'. The 'cheung' has the rising-falling tonation (I think).

I'm not particularly fond of them due to their high fat content, but used more as a seasoning than an ingredient as such, they're tolerable.

Edit: Add opinion of them.

Edited by Human Bean (log)
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I'm in the camp that eschews chinese lop chang because they're too darned sweet.  I never cottoned to them while growing up although my Cantonese grandma employed them throughout her cooking opportunistically.  I far prefer western sausages and have often substituted spicy Italian sausage when I thought I could get away with it.

To tell the truth though, I shy away from substituting western sausages while cooking traditional Chinese fare for my family .  It's just not worth the grief.  Besides, there are a few dishes where lop chang work well, such as the steamed rice dish described above.  However, if you don't have to worry about shrewish relatives, you should feel free to substitute your own favorite variety of extruded meat product.

Man, imaging clay pot rice with "Italian" sausage (it really isn't Italian but that's a different subject) is totally freaking me out. I think it would give me a lot of grief too. I wold be more apt to substitute some dark soya, bitter orange peel or chun pay (dried tangerine peel) and star anise, along with ground pork, if I felt the need to substitute.

One thing I've found is that lap cheung (and it's relative, lap yuk) can really vary in sweetness. I refuse to use the kind that comes sealed in plastic, because it's invariably too damn sweet. If you can find the kind that is made and hung up by strings around a butcher area, you'll be a lot better off. We couldn't find that kind here in Portland, but when the partner was in Philly, thanks to some egulleteers, he found an Asian market that had them and bought a years supply to bring home. Another thing is that we always eat dishes with lap cheung in them with a condiment of red chopped chillies in dark soya. I don't think this is Cantonese, I'm guessing it's more Nonya, but it's a fantastic combination and the heat and fruitiness from the chillies complements the strong flavors from the lap cheung.

I fantasize about making them myself, done the old fashioned way they sound really good. You're supposed to smoke them over lychee wood though, and I'm trying to figure out an acceptable substitute (plum, maybe?).

regards,

trillium

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Ick, what's all this about "relative sweetness" of sausage? What about the sausage in Sichuan: big chunks of pork and pork fat aggressively seasoned (read:spicy) stuffed into a casing, smoked over some wood until a thin film of creosote covers the links, then air-dried on people's balconies, storefronts, etc. Usually about 6"-7" long and an inch or so in diameter, not these skinny lop cheung thingies. Yum, just don't forget that thorough rinsing before cooking to wash away the black, smoky film.

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I have a little extra step that I do to these prepackaged sausages that works for me but is untraditional and unChinese - sorry, Dad. I throw myself on your mercy.

While normally, I'm mindful of building and concentrating flavor, I find that these sausages have ...err... no shortage ... of sweetness and fat. That being the case, I slice them first, then steam them directly in 4-6 tablespoons of water, for just for 2 or 3 minutes, then pour off the water. Then I let any residual water evaporate, and the slices begin to fry in their own fat. They render out some fat, are still sweet, but a little less intense, plus they dry out and get a little browning on them.

I suppose if you wanted to, you could defat the liquid in the fridge and use it to cook clay pot rice or something.

chengdude's description makes me want to try the homemade spicy/smoky variety.

~Tad

edit for puntuation & clarity

Edited by FoodZealot (log)
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  • 11 months later...
not these skinny lop cheung thingies.

I take those 'long skinny thingies' and hang them in my little chief smoker for about 8 hours with a mixture of apple and alder chips.

I also fill a rack of 'long skinny thingies' laid sideways and basted with a thin coat of oyster sauce and smoke them at the same time.

Most of the fat comes out and the smoky and less sweet flavour is wonderful.

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chinese sauasages lap cheung the red waxy like sausage hanging by strings.

yes they do have a sweet taste and they are fatty but if cooked right are very tasty. You don't really find them in restaurants as this product is more for home cooking. Quality varies from brand to brand like any other product .

But the simplest way to cook them is to toss them in the rice cooker

with your rice, while the rice steams the sausages are cooked and they impart their flavour to the rice. Once cooked take them out and slice them into very thin half a centimetre thick diagonal slices. And they are just eaten like that with your other chinese dishes.

Yes they are an acquired taste as chinese wind dried/cured products are very different from western versions.

If you don't like the sweetness you can make sticky rice which is made from a load of rehydrated dried shrimps, squid, shitake mushrooms. The water from the rehydration is used to cook some glutinous rice, at the same time you cook the chinese sausages.

chop up all the ingredients into small piece and quickly stir fry in a wok with oyster sauce, soya sauce a little sugar.

Then you mix it with the steamed glutinous rice. serve with a sprinkling of chopped scallion. :)

"so tell me how do you bone a chicken?"

"tastes so good makes you want to slap your mamma!!"

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Slightly off-topic: I once threw several roll-cut lap cheung into a batch of tomato spaghetti sauce that was a bit too acid. The result was delicious.

I've never tried to reduplicate that batch, but the "sweet and sour pasta" was wonderful.

BB

Food is all about history and geography.

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