Snow Peas with Chinese Sausage
The sweet, apple-like quality of preserved Chinese Sausage is often paired with more robust green vegetables such as Gai-Lan, or green-beans, but it also works very nicely with the more delicate crispness of fresh snow-pea pods.
The recipe given below has been designed as a small appetizer dish, or a Dim Sum type offering, but it could easily be made in a larger quantity and served as a main dish in a Chinese meal, or even as a side-dish on a western table.
Introducing Chinese Sausage
You may already be familiar with preserved Chinese Sausage by its Cantonese name ‘Lap Cheong’ (or Lop Chong, Lup Chong, or other variant spelling). The name appears on the package shown above as 臘腸, which is pronounced làcháng in Mandarin. The fact that this translates as ‘Fragrant intestine’, can be a bit alarming to Westerners, but then, many Westerners regularly eat sausage without having really knowing how it is made.
There are different types of preserved Chinese Sausage. Some are made with pork, or duck liver, or at least contain some percentage of liver, but what you want for this dish is the more common type made with just pork meat and fat.
The flavor of plain preserved pork sausage is amazing. Like Chinese Preserved Pork-Belly, it develops a taste of sweet apples in the same way as does a good quality Prosciutto, or Serrano Ham. It is especially delicious steamed over rice so that the sweet apple quality infuses the rice as well.
The Basic Method
To prepare Snow-peas, you should take a little time to remove the ‘strings’ that line the edge of the pods. This is not critical, but they are quite tough and removing them will result in a more tender and digestible vegetable.
The finished dish will be improved if you first blanch the pea pods in boiling salted water for a minute or so and then arrest the cooking process by plunging them into very cold water. The pods will be tender enough require only a quick re-heating during the final cooking, and the brilliant bright green color will be preserved for a much more attractive appearance on the plate.
The Sausage slices need to be sautéed for a minute or two over high heat until they darken slightly and take on some crispiness along the edges. To finish the dish, the snow-peas and onion are added and stir-fried until just cooked through, and then everything is given a lovely sweet glaze with a pinch of sugar, and a splash each of rice wine and soy sauce.
Your Recipe Card:
Snow Peas with Chinese Sausage
- 1 small package of Snow peas;
- 2 Chinese Sausages;
- ½ a small Onion;
- 1 pinch Sugar;
- 1 splash each of Soy Sauce and Rice Wine or Sherry;
- Prepare the Pea-pods by removing the tough tips and the fibrous ‘strings’ along the sides.
- Slice each of the sausages on the diagonal into thin sections.
- Slice the onion vertically into very narrow wedges and separate the individual sections.
- Quickly blanch the pea-pods in boiling salted water for one minute and then arrest the cooking process by plunging them into cold water. Drain, and set aside for the moment.
- Heat a little oil over a moderate to high flame and then quickly saute the sausage slices until they throw off a little flat and darken ever so slightly.
- Add the snow-peas and the onion and saute for another minute or so until both are crisp-tender and heated through.
- Finally add the sugar, soy and rice wine (or sherry). Toss and stir quickly for a few seconds until the main ingredients are glazed and then serve immediately.