Many countries in the world have various techniques and names for their sausages. The Chinese sausage is an umbrella term used to describe a variety of techniques used to make sausages all over China. The Chinese sausage dates back to 300 AD. A unique technique was used for meat preservation and sausage filling in the Northern and Southern dynasties. The Southern dynasties made sausages a delicacy for the New Year festival. This has led to the sausage being considered a delicacy for the New Year. Sausages are either air-cured or smoked.
What is the Chinese Sausage called?
The Chinese sausages are named according to their texture and component. The names are in Cantonese and are as follows:
Lap Cheong/ LAP Chang
The most popular name is the Lap Cheong or Lap Chang. This name refers to the Southern flavor of the Chinese sausages. This delicacy is found in any Chinese market or restaurant. All these Chinese sausages have one thing in common; a sweet, blended flavor. The Lap Cheong is used as a flavor component in a variety of dishes due to the intensity of its flavor. The various types of sausages vary in the degree of dryness and sweetness. The Northern regions of China have a special flavor of sausages. The Hong Chang is a smoked red sausage that is coarsely ground. This sausage has many similarities to European sausages in terms of flavor. Some sausage varieties are extremely dry, and require soaking in water before cooking. The fresh type of Chinese sausage is juicier than the smoked type. The fresh sausage can be snacked or taken without soaking.
What is Chinese sausage made of?
The sausages are made from a variety of ingredients and flavors. The Lap Cheong is made of pork and dried pork fat. This type of sausage is smoked, seasoned, and sweetened with soy sauce, wine, and rose water. Other types of sausages are made with liver, chicken, duck, and glutinous rice.
All these ingredients make up the variety of sausages under the umbrella term ‘Chinese sausages’. The newest favor in the market is the chicken. In the ancient Chinese dynasties, the main ingredient was pork. This flavor is still widely used as the main ingredient for Chinese sausage. The desired ingredients can either be filled using fresh ingredients or smoked components depending on the intended use. All these techniques date back to 300 AD when the first Chinese sausages were first made.
Types of Chinese Sausages
There are two broad categories of Chinese sausages; the sweet flavored variety from the Canton region and the spicy variety from Sichuan.
As mentioned earlier, Chinese sausages are named according to their ingredients and method of filling. The Lap Cheong, the most popular Southern flavor is made up of dried pork ad pork fat. The smoked sausages are dried completely. In the North, the common flavor is the Hong Chang. This flavor is deeply affiliated with the Lithuanian and Polish sausages. The intensity of the flavor and the coarse texture match those of the European sausages. The duck liver flavor is darker in color due to the bloody nature of the liver. It is called the Yun Chang. It is the second most used ingredient after pork.
There are some sausages made with blood as their main ingredient. The name of these sausages is Xue Chang. The sausages are filled with blood and are red. Another type of sausage is the Nuomi Chang. This sausage is white due to the rice component. The sausages are filled with white glutinous rice as the primary ingredient.
Why is Chinese sausage red?
The Chinese sausages are red due to some of the components and flavors. The chemicals used to cure sausages are sodium Nitrite and sodium nitrate. These preservatives develop a red color in Chinese sausages. The reddening ingredients are essential for curing and pest control. It is common knowledge that meat goes bad in a short time. Preservatives are used to keep pests away and to preserve them for a long time.
Another possible explanation for the redness of the Chinese sausage is the red chili pepper seasoning. The color lingers on even after the processing is over. The chili is favorable for those whose taste buds prefer spicy and salty tastes. Some fillings contribute to the redness of Chinese sausages. Those made of fresh meat tend to be red after the color of fresh meat. This color is mostly seen in the Guan Chang type of sausage.
How Chinese Sausage is Made?
The two broad categories of Chinese sausages are each made uniquely and specifically to suit the taste of consumers. Let us look at how each of these sausages is made
Sweet Cantonese sausage
5 kgs of pork(The amount can increase significantly depending on the amount of desired sausages) lean meat: fat ratio should be 8:2
Synthetic or natural sausage skin
Curing salt 30g
Well smashed rock sugar 150g
Ground pepper 20g
Light soy sauce 1/2cup
White spirit 30g
Gather all the necessary tools for stuffing i.e.
Funnel and chopsticks
Pricking needle to release air
Cotton lines and scissors
Cut your pork into chunks that measure 6cm in length, 4cm wide, and a thickness of 0.5cm.
Add Chinese white spirit or any hard liquid of your choice
Add all the seasoning and mix well( Salt, sugar, and pepper), then set aside for 30 minutes
Soak sausage skin in warm water.
Wrap the skin around the funnel, tie one end, and cut off the remaining skin
Use an automatic plunger or chopsticks to push down the pork
Use a cotton line to tie the sausage and divide it into small portions.
Use warm water in a pot to gently clean the surface. You can also use white spirit for the same
Dry using a clean cloth and hang outside to dry during the day and indoors during the night
Dry for 12 days
Sichuan Spicy Sausages
5 kgs pork( fat to lean meat ration of 3:7)
Synthetic or natural sausage skin
75g curing salt
150g chili pepper powder
Freshly ground Sichuan pepper powder 50g
50g well smashed rock sugar
50g white spirit/any hard liquid of choice
The preparation and method of this type of sausage are similar to the Cantonese sausage above. After air drying, the sausages are ready to cook or store as desired.
Is Chinese sausage healthy?
Chinese sausages have both a good side and a bad side. They are argued to be both healthy and unhealthy. The Chinese sausages have been found to be low in fat and a rich source of proteins. Recent studies show that the consumption of Chinese sausages could significantly reduce the risk of Ischemic attacks. The absence of carbohydrates makes these sausages diabetic-friendly. When carbohydrates are consumed, they are converted into sugars that are dangerous for diabetics. Chinese sausages are rich in omega 3 that reduces the risks of obesity.
The unhealthy significant health risk is the presence of too much sodium. This poses a high risk of hypertension. As it shows, the benefits outweigh the risks. It is, therefore, safe to say that Chinese sausages are healthy.
How long do Chinese Sausages last?
Lap Cheong is shelf-stable and can be found on store shelves. In an airtight container, the sausages can last up to a year in the freezer. Once the packaging is opened, the sausages can last up to three months in the refrigerator. The natural processing is what makes these sausages durable both when not refrigerated and after refrigeration. Some people have been known to store Lap Cheong for two years in the freezer. It is always advisable to use fresh foods whenever possible, but this does not mean that Chinese sausages are unsafe to use after a few weeks or months.
Best Chinese Sausage Brand
There are countless numbers of Chinese sausage brands. The top brand is the Kam Yen Jan. This is a Lap Cheong brand This brand is widely used in the United States. It is inspected and passed and comes in a pack of 400g. This brand comes in a vacuum pack that should be refrigerated. These pork strips are best served with rice dishes and are USDA-approved.
Chinese Sausages vs. Chorizo
There is a significant difference between Chinese sausages and chorizos. The chorizos originate from the Philippines. It is distinctive due to the use of anise liquid, a common ingredient in among the Pilipino. Chorizos are also known as chorizo de Macau in the Philippines. Other countries that have chorizos are Mexico and Spain. These two pork delicacies have great and distinctive tastes. The Chinese sausage is most preferred by many as it is tastier and has a wide variety of brads to choose from.
The Chinese sausages are a part of the rich Chinese culture that continues to thrive even in the modern day. The delicacy is served with rice dishes or as a snack depending on the type of Chinese sausage. Lap Cheong is mostly used as a flavor additive to other dishes.
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