|FERMENTED BEEF SAUSAGES WITH FRUIT AND VEGETABLE CHUTNEY|
When I first made these fermented sausages for a book review, I didn't realise that they were based on the Northeastern Thai sour sausages known as Sai Krok Isan, those fat little wieners that street food vendors in Thailand cook up at every corner.
Authentic Sai Krok Isan are made with pork and pork belly. They are spicy and wrapped in hog's casing, and they contain curing salt apart from rice which helps with the fermentation process.
The sausage pictured here is made with beef. The recipe comes from a book containing contributions from chefs of two hotels in Malaysia. The recipes are interesting, but I think the collection serves more as publicity material for the hotels because most of the recipes are just not practical for the home cook. Some of them have really long lists of ingredients – that's fine for an executive chef with a brigade of assistants but another matter for those of us who prep, cook and clean alone. This sausage recipe was one of the shorter ones and the process of making it is much simpler than authentic Sai Krok Isan. There's just a bit of resting time as the rice in the sausage mix has to do its fermentation job.
The Sour Masala Jam was a recipe from another chef in the book and but it goes very well with the sausages and I decided to include as a dipping sauce.
Spicy Thai Fermented Beef Sausages
Makes 4 sausages
200g minced beef
70g chilled cooked white rice
50g garlic, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
4 bird’s eye chillies
350ml cooking oil
Cut the banana leaf into four pieces, each about 25cm x 25cm. Soften the pieces by scalding with boiling water or passing each one briefly over a flame. Set aside.
Mix the minced beef, chilled rice, garlic, salt and pepper till it becomes sticky. Divide the mixture into four portions. Form four patties and place a bird’s eye chilli in the centre of each one. Enclose the chilli with the meat mixture and form into sausages.
Wrap each sausage in a piece of banana leaf*. Secure the ends with toothpicks. Let the wrapped patties sit at room temperature for about 6 hours or for 2-3 days in the fridge.
Remove the banana leaves and deep-fry the sausages until well cooked.
* The banana leaf imparts a nice aroma to the beef. Alternatively, wrap the mixture tightly in cling film and then in aluminium foil.
Sour Masala Jam
5 cloves garlic
100g fresh pineapple
2 red chillies, seeded
100g cucumber, seeded
50ml tomato ketchup
50ml chilli sauce
1 tsp garam masala
Blend all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Pour into a saucepan and cook the sauce for 10-15 minutes until thickened.