Sunday, July 30, 2006
Of Chinese Sausages & Hot Dogs
No I am not making another East Meets West dish.
Rather I made (or should I say, attempted to make) Lap Cheong (Chinese Sausages) today. So what's up with the Hot Dog thingy. As I had to make a 'smoking oven' to dry the lap cheong, I had to leash Rusti, my jack-russell terrier,to a corner of the balcony. As you know, JRTs are demolishers. They dash around the house at breakneck speed, knocking down things in the process. I do not want him crashing into the oven and so had to leash him. He was one mad dog. So there's one HOT (angry) dog for you.
Coming back to the lap cheong. Eversince I saw the Glutinuous Rice Sausages featured in Jo's Deli, I was obsessed to find those sausage casings in Singapore. It took me a good six months before I finally hunted down a shop in Chinatown that sells them. I was elated when I finally laid my hands on two bundles of the casings (S$10/bundle).
During the six months of hunting, I was meanwhile bugging my 3rd sister to dig into her archive of recipes for the lap cheong. The last time we made this dried delicacy was between 30 to 35 years ago. I was only a puny little kid then but I had the recollection of her scrapping the fresh pig's intestines to make the casings herself and then eventually smoking them inside one of those big rectangular oil tin to dry them out above a blazier. Gosh! It's so long ago!
Fast forward to today, DH help to construct the oven using 2 panels of those tri-fold stovetop greaseguard placed ontop a wiremesh. The whole thing is then placed over the blazier. The sausages are then suspended over the burning coals to slowly dry them out. It took almost 7 hours of smoking-time before the lap cheong reached an acceptable level of dryness.
A long process no doubt, from dicing the meat, stuffing the casing with the meat mixture and the long wait for them to dry.
DH who had busied himself the whole afternoon tending to the amber coals says ''Once is enough! No more home-made lap cheong. Buying them is cheaper!''. I grin sheepishly at him and countered: "Store bought no sense of achievement mah! Nothing like homemade.''
And the end results?? It did not turned out looking like normal lap cheong because they were not dried out per-se but were cooked. Tastewise it was more like the Taiwanese Sausages. The bottom tips were slightly burnt because the dripping oil had created a leaping flame that singed them black.
So will I make them again? Yes, if I can think of a better way to smoke them, or perhaps I should have just air dry them.
But then again, perhaps I should have just made the Glutinous Rice Sausages instead.....