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Chinese Sausages

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Chinese Sausages Chinese New Year is on 18 February 2007. 2007 is the Year of the Pig or Ding Hai.

Believe it or not, the most populated country in the world is fond of a nice bit of sausage, especially at New Year.

The picture shows Chinese sausages. At the top we have raw sausages, in the middle they have been sliced on the diagonal and stir fried for 3 or 4 minutes. The bottom shows them steamed. This is the most common cooking method which requires around 15 minutes steaming - often over a pot of rice. They need cooking and are initially hard, cooking softens them but they are still chewy.

They are traditionally made with pork or liver, the Chinese name is Lap Chong which means "winter stuffed intestines". The Chinese traditionally make sausages in the cooler months because they are air dried (not a good idea in a hot, humid summer).

They are similar to salami or chorizo and have a sour / sweet taste derived from the 5 spice (a mix of star anise, fennel, cloves, cinnamon and hot Sichuan pepper), rice wine, sugar and soy sauce used as flavourings. Sadly many contain MSG and don?t expect to see any details of here the meat comes from. Most are made with high meat content - often around 120g of meat for every 100g of produce sold. The difference is caused by the weight loss during drying. Typically the ratio of meat to fat will be around 6 meat to 1 fat and the meat hand chopped.

Like a cooking chorizo they are usually used to as a flavouring agent in dishes such as Fried Rice or the classic Chicken & Sausage Hot Pot or simply diced and used with spring onions and few shakes of soy sauce to pep up a bowl of steamed or boiled rice. You may also find them on Dim Sum menus.

In the UK you will probably have to buy them from a Chinese Supermarket or a Chinatown in Bristol, Birmingham, Cambridge, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Nottingham, and Oxford and will pay around 6 for a 450g pack. Suppliers include Hoo King Supermarkets (they offer mail order) and Win Yip Supermarkets.

They keep for months and can be frozen.

Goon Hey Fat Choi (Happy New Year!)

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