A sausage like no other. This Sichuan sausage is pungent, spicy, tingly and smoky. It’s dried, so the texture is harder, perfect for fried rice, steamed on top of rice or just eat it as a side dish with a glass of Chinese white wine. Perfect drinking snack.
If you’ve been following me for a while now, you’ve probably noticed that I like to make things from scratch. ABSOLUTELY scratch. I would probably try to use real intestines for this sausage if I could, baby steps I guess.
Making sausages from scratch is honestly something I’ve never thought that I’d be making someday when I started this food journey. Not until Chinese new year is right around the corner, and this ONE has kind of been our tradition. We don’t have a lot of traditional dishes during Chinese new year in my family, my mom likes to come up with a new menu every year, and it’s usually healthier dishes than you would find in restaurants. But this sausage holds special meaning to our family.
If you’ve read my post on MALA HOT SAUCE then you’d know that my grandpa was a veteran from Sichuan, moved to Taiwan with the air force when he was only 19. All the military personnel were assigned to different military kindred villages in Taiwan by the government, it is a pretty interesting culture and an important part of the history of Taiwan. Since residents of the villages came from different parts of Mainland China, you could smell various dishes being made in kitchens in the late afternoon. The military community’s dishes have become delicacies that represent their hometown, and most air force villages are made up of mostly people from Sichuan.
Around Chinese new year, all the families would start hanging sausages and cured meat in their front yard and it was quite a scene. That scene is now gone since the government has torn apart most of those military kindred villages to build newer, prettier buildings instead. These sausages become not only a memory to the taste buds but also a visual memory. Brings people back to those days when they lived and fought together.
Only a handful of people are still making Sichuan mala sausage to my knowledge, and they only do it right before the Chinese new year. It’s a mixed feeling to see the sausages hanging at the old market that’s falling apart, right in front of the brand new building where the village used to stand. The flavor’s still good but there a slight sadness mixed in with the spice.
Traditionally, strips of pork are used to make this sausage. The fattiness of the pork melts perfectly with the chili and spice. I couldn’t find hog casings at my local supermarkets, so I ordered it on Amazon. This particular hog casing has great reviews and I have no complaints about it. Depending on how much sausage you’re going to make, I used about 3 strips from the package for my 3 1/2lb of pork. There’s still a lot left, but it’s got a zip-lock so I just put the rest back and stored it in the fridge.
The most important part of the seasoning is definitely the Sichuan pepper. Make sure you find high-quality peppers- firm and without too many black seeds in the middle. The black seeds will become sandy once ground up and ruin the texture of the sausage. There are a few different varieties of Sichuan pepper, our family’s favorite has been “大紅袍” (da4hong2pao2). Dahongpao literally means big red robe, the shells of the peppercorn explains the name- red and glorious. It’s fruity, tingly and delicious.
I used a bottle I cut open as a funnel and my cocktail muddler for stuffing the sausage since I refuse to buy more tools I don’t use very often. The only problem I had was that I wasn’t able to use all of the sausage casing at once, they were too long I had to cut them in half. Other than that it’s really not as hard as it seems!
After the sausages are made, let them air dry for 3 days. If you would like to smoke your sausage, start a fire and set up a rack to hang your sausages by the fire, where the smoke will hit. Add cypress leaves to the fire to start the smoke, let it smoke for 30 minutes to an hour.
The pottery plate from the cover photo and this one is made by a Rochester MN local pottery artist- Little Henn Pottery. Maura has some super gorgeous pieces, great for food photography or just every-day use!! Visit her Etsy Shop to check out the collection–> Little Henn Pottery Esty Shop
I WOULD LOVE TO KNOW WHAT YOU THINK OF THIS RECIPE, RATE + COMMENT BELOW OR #CHEWEXPERIMENT ON INSTAGRAM!!!
- 3-1/2 lb Pork 30-40% Fat, I used a big slab of pork belly
- 2 TBsp Vodka Or mix vodka and ShaoXing for more authentic flavor
- 1/2 TBsp Sugar
- 1-1/2 TBsp Salt
- 3 TBsp Chili Flake
- 3 TBsp Sichuan Peppercorn
- 1/4 tsp White Peppercorn
- 1/8 tsp Cumin
- 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
- Cut the pork into 1/2" strips.
- Blend all the spices in a blender or grind with a mortar.
- Add the spice powder and seasoning to the pork strips and mix well.
- Stuff the sausages and tie knots on both ends.
- Prick holes on the sausages and tie into sections with cotton strings.
- Hang somewhere with good airflow and let dry for 3 days.
- Smoke the sausages if desired: start a fire and set up a rack to hang your sausages by the fire, where the smoke will hit. Add leaves of a cypress tree to the fire to start the smoke, let it smoke for 30 minutes to an hour.
- Store in the fridge or a cool place after.
- Steam for 10 minutes before slicing and serve.
Prepping for Chinese New Year?