Sunday, 28 March 2010

Lap Cheong 臘腸 - Chinese dried sausage

Stored bought lap cheong in UK are really tasteless, I don't really know why. I had tried so many brands and never find any I really like. It's such a shame good lap cheong from the far east are banned from import and carrying them yourself through custom. I don't buy UK lap cheong too often because they are expensive too about £5 - 7+ for a pound of meat.

Making my own lap cheong (Chinese dried sausages) had been on the to do list for a very long time. I got some synthetic sausage skin for a while starring at me everytime I opened the cupboard. I finally plucked up the courage and made some. I had avoided making them because I was too scared to poison myself. Having made my own bacon (not Chinese) for a while now I have more confidence to venture into other cured meats.

I don't have a sausage stuffing machine, so my stuffing method was very primitive with just a standard funnel and a stick as a plunger. Stuffing machine can be expensive, I don't want to buy one without the confidence to make more again.

I like lap cheong with tiny chunks of fat and meat bind together. Hand cut meat lap cheong 切肉蠟腸 are more expensive in the Far East and taste better IMO. So I hand diced the meat very fine. Coarse mincing will be my second choice if I want to save time. Avoid using store bought minced (ground) pork because they can be contaminated during processing and sitting on the shelf for hours or even days.

I have been toying with either drying the sausages in the oven for few days at low temperature or natural air drying. To turn the fan oven for days can have consequences: 1. It can cost a bit on the electric bill and 2. With the oven operating at low temperature for such a long time may damage it and this is not the expense I would envisage. So in the end I decided to risk it and dry the sausages naturally in ventilated area. I took them outdoor during the day when the weather is dry and airy. At night I hung them in my kitchen next to an open window.

I think the addition of cure salt is essential. Cure salt helps the meat to cure properly and avoid the danger of contamination and causing botulism. I bought this cure salt from US so the concentration is to US standard. Do measure cure salt accurately.




For the ingredients and recipe:


400 - 500g pork fat
1.25 kg lean shoulder pork (can also use leg meat)
10g salt
1/2 cup light soy
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup Chinese rose wine (mei kwei lu) or Shaoshing wine
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp 5 spice powder
5g #2 cure salt (#2 Prague powder)

sausage skin (natural or synthetic)

Other tools I used:
funnel and stick for stuffing the sausage
needle to prick the sausages to release trapped air
scissors to cut the skin and string
some cotton or butcher strings for tying the sausages
wire cloth hanger to hang and dry the sausages.


Method:
  1. Coarsely ground or finely chopped the pork fat and lean meat. I hand chopped (very finely diced) the meat you can use a mincer machine.
  2. Then thoroughly mix the pork with the seasoning mix, best use hand you can wear gloves if you want. Put the meat in the fridge overnight.
  3. Then stuff into sausages. I used a thin 21cm synthetic skin. I used a funnel and a wooden stick as plunger. Took me sometime. The sausages are in pairs and tied with a string in the centre.
  4. Hang the sausages. I used a wire cloth hanger which worked really well.
  5. Leave to dry in an airy place to dry. I had left it dry outdoor during the day and brought back and hang in the kitchen at night.
* It is essential to ensure good hygiene while processing the meat, stuffing and drying the sausages. Keep everything as clean as possible.

Review so far:
  • So far the sausages have been drying really well. No sign of spoilage at all. The smell was lovely and strong with the marinade day 1 and 2. After day 3 -4 the sausages had shrivelled and dried quite a lot and smell had diminished.
  • The colour of the sausages are reddish with speckles of white fat meat. 'They look great like the real thing.
  • I reckon they will need 1 week drying time before ready to eat.

Other issues.
  • I am hooked. If I am still alive after eating these sausages will definitely make some more. To save time and effort, I have ordered some sausages stuffing attachments to use with my meat mincer, Can't wait to make more.
  • I find synthetic skin easy to split will get some natural skin next time.
  • The sausages after drying for 4 days looked thinner than I expected using a 21mm wide skin. Will use a thicker (wider) skin next time.

I can't wait to taste these sausages. If you don't hear from me after 2 weeks or so, you know I had poisoned myself. Keep my fingers and my toes :) crossed, I don't want to end up in the hospital.

I have also made a batch of lap yuk (Chinese dried bacon), it has only been drying for 2 days, too early to post will keep you posted.

continue on this post.........

26 comments:

  1. OMG, I salute you. WOW. I have never thought of making lap cheong at home!

    ReplyDelete
  2. If I don't poison myself I will be really chuffed.

    ReplyDelete
  3. They look fantastic. Glad you finally got around to making them as you mentioned it ages ago.

    I look forward to hearing how they taste.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Meant to say I've been wanting to make these because the gf's mum is coeliac and used to love these when she was growing up in Malaysia. If I make them with a gluten free soy then she can have them again.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Will let you know when I tasted it Josh. Looks promising so far. Hope you will try making some too.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks for sharing the recipe with us. I always like to make my own lap cheong, the commercial one is little to fat for me. Could u tell where to buy the sausage skin?

    Thanks

    Stephie

    ReplyDelete
  7. Stephie, If you are from UK or USA you can easily get synthetic or natural sausage skin via internet stores.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wow! You are definitely brave to do lap cheong! I will try with my friend Lily someday (we did lap yoke already). Let me know how it taste and is the curing salt (the nitrate really necessary)?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Claire,
    Hope you and Lily will try. It's very satisfying.

    I think the curing salt is necessary, not only does it avoid botulism it also gives the sausages the right red colour and cured flavour. I would not attempt to make and eat cured meat hanging to dry in natural air without the cure salt, far too risky. Nitrite/nitrate salt is not that nasty to health if you use it sparingly. I am comfortable to use it.

    Btw I tried some last night, I feel fine no illness yet. The flavour and texture were nice. Will give a full review later.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wow, homemade lap cheong, nice!

    ReplyDelete
  11. lap cheong addict28 November 2010 00:13

    *Shriek if excitement*
    OMG OMG OMG!! I found a recipe from http://mycookingescapades.blogspot.com/2006/10/finally-i-am-ready.html
    but did not try it because-1) did not know what kind of casings to buy
    2) did not know where to air-dry them (am based in UK too, summer= flies, winter= will never dry)

    but you have totally inspired me to give it a go!

    Which internet company did you use for the skins? or aren't you allowed to say?

    Thank you thank you!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi there

    You can get the skin from Ebay or some of these sites:

    http://www.weschenfelder.co.uk/catalog/790/natural_sausage_casings?gclid=CLPtycunwqUCFYpO4QodjVOwNw

    http://www.sausage-casings.co.uk/?gclid=CPP3jd6nwqUCFQwf4QodTUrPCQ

    http://www.sausagemaking.org/

    http://shop.trunetpackaging.com/butchers-black-pudding-casings-71-c.asp

    What you saw on this post I used synthetic (collagen) skin. It can break easily. Better use natural skin.

    It's a bit hard work using a funnel and push stick to stuff the lap cheong. Save a lot of work if you have a stuffer machine or a stuffer attachment to a meat mincer.

    For std lap cheong use skin around size 22/24 for thin lap cheong and 25/30 for thicker lap cheong.

    Qty of skin, about 2 - 2.5 metre of skin/kg of meat.

    Drying: Any airy area near a window indoor is fine till lap cheong is dried (around a week)

    Curing salt: It is essential to use it for colour and preservation. If you need to find #2 cure salt I have plenty I can sell some to you.

    ReplyDelete
  13. lap cheong addict29 November 2010 12:08

    Thanks!

    Don't suppose you know how to make the big sausage they sometimes serve on kon loh loh shi fun? (the one with dark black sauce and minced pork)

    ReplyDelete
  14. kon loh loh shi fun (dry stirred rat noodles?) with sausages? Not heard before is this a S'porean or W Malaysia thing? What kind of sausages do you know? Not lo bak (meat roll wrapped in soy bean sheet) is it?

    ReplyDelete
  15. I finally got around to making this recipe.

    My gf's Malaysian mum is a coeliac and so hasn't had Lap Cheong since she was diagnosed. I repeated your recipe but used gluten-free soy and they turned out great, smelling fantastic even after 10 days hanging in my spare room. Luckily the spell of snow brought the temperature in there down to about 15 degrees as it's now back up to 19, even with the radiator off, which is getting a little warm.

    I've not tried one but she said they tasted great, just how she remembers them from the last time she ate them in 1994.

    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Great to hear you finally got round to making some. I have some real hog casing will be making some again soon.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Joshua - you really are a trooper. Your girlfriend (and her mother!) is lucky to have snatched you up.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Wow finally I could see how exactly to make lap cheong. My grandma never passed on her recipe to any of her kids so thanks for this! Btw, what exactly is curing salt? DOes it contain nitrate/nitrite? can I use sea salt? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  19. One more question, is the cup measurement is the US cup measurement? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Yes curing salt is a mixture of nitrite and nitrate. I find it essential. You can omit it if you so wish it will harm you, but without it you may be risking botulism and the colour of the cured sausage will not be pinkish red like it should be.

    If you want to read more about Chinese curing meat see all my other posts on curing.

    The measurement is standard cup size.
    If you are in US you can buy the salt online.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hi,

    I'm from the UK. I have recently bought some lap cheong here. I'm wondering whether the lap cheong's skin is edible or should I remove it before cooking?

    Thanks in advance.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi lap cheong skin is edible.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Can I put it in my food dehydrator?

    ReplyDelete
  24. I guess you can just not in warm air as fresh undried meat can go bad in warm temp.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Where can I obtain the skin?

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hi David
    Where in the world do you live?
    I can only help if you are in UK or USA.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for reading and leaving your comments or suggestions.
Spam or link to suggested sales will be removed.