Hi Everyone, Porky, meaty, sweet – that’s Lap Cheong (in Cantonese). I’m sure you’ve heard of it before or maybe you’ve eaten it too whenever you order any special fried rice or perhaps at dim sum.
Lap Cheong is a type of Chinese sweet pork sausage and it is nothing like the kind of sausages we are accustomed to. Dry-cured and hard to the touch, Lap Cheong has a distinctly sweet flavour due to the sugar, rose water, salt and rice wine added to it.
The wrinkled appearance means that all of the moisture has been dried out of the sausage leaving it with intense flavour of the meat and fat. Yes, there is sweet delicious fat that once released from the sausage flavours whatever the sausage is cooked with. It no wonder that fried rice is so special!
This is not the type of sausage to cook as if you were making breakfast and having sausages and eggs. Rather, this air-cured meat, much like the Italian pancetta is ideal when cooked with rice, vegetables or noodles. It is a very versatile ingredient and if you’ve never tried it before, please do so; I am sure that you will like it. It’s a specialty item not available on your regular supermarket shelf but you can find it at Asian grocers. You will pay a little more than you would for regular sausages but it is so worth it. Hey, you’d pay more money for salami, slab bacon and pancetta. Same thing.
Maybe you’re not that adventurous and would prefer to have someone cook Lap Cheong for you. With the abundance of Chinese restaurants all around, that should not be a problem. For those of you wanting to make your own Lap Cheong fried rice. Let’s go.
Lap Cheong Fried Rice
3 Lap Cheong sausages
2 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons minced ginger
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced hot pepper
½ cup thinly sliced bora (optional)
½ cup diced carrots (optional)
Salt and black pepper to taste
4 cups cooked rice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon five spice powder
2 eggs, scrambled and chopped into small pieces
1 ½ teaspoons toasted sesame oil
Thinly sliced green onions (scallions/shallots)
1. Cut the sausages thinly on the diagonal and set aside.
2. Heat wok or karahi or large frying pan on medium heat.
3. Add sausages, ginger, garlic and pepper and let sauté for 2 – 3 minutes or until sausage has lost most of its fat.
4. Toss in bora and carrots if using, season with salt and pepper and let cook for 2 – 3 minutes.
5. Add rice, soy sauce, five spice powder and sesame oil and toss, toss, toss. Let rice heat through with the other ingredients (about 4 – 5 minutes). Check for seasoning (salt and pepper) and adjust if necessary.
6. Scatter in eggs and give another toss.
7. Serve hot with scallions/green onions/shallots sprinkled on top.
If fried rice is not your thing, you can still enjoy Lap Cheong; one of my favourite ways to have it is steamed over rice and eaten with pepper sauce and sliced scallions. Simple. Satisfying.