In Vietnamese cooking, Chinese sausages (lạp xường) are most commonly found in pint-sized spring rolls called bò bía, savory sticky rice (xôi), and Chinese-influenced fried rice dishes (cơm chiên). When I caught glimpse of this recipe for a Retro Thai Sausage Salad on Robyn and Dave’s amazing EatingAsia blog, I was excited to experience these wrinkly sweet sausages in a completely different way. Make sure to take Robyn’s advice and pair this salad with hot Jasmine rice. The interplay between hot and cold, snappy and yielding, and sweet and savory is really delightful.
- 6 Chinese sausages
- 4 large cucumbers
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 4 scallions
- 2 jalapeños
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons black soy sauce
- Cilantro (to garnish)
Begin by slicing the sausages at an angle with a sharp knife—this will expose the maximum amount of surface to the pan’s heat. Fry the sausages over medium heat in a dry skillet or wok until they start to blister. A few black spots are fine, but don’t let them burn. Remove sausages from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.
Thinly slice cucumbers into bite-size spears—remove peels if desired. Halve the scallions lengthwise (white and green parts only) and then cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Chop the jalapeños finely—remove seeds if desired.
Place the onions in a large mixing bowl and pour vinegar over. Set aside to soak for 5 minutes. To the onions, add the sausage, cucumber, scallions, and jalapeños.
Mix the fish sauce, sugar, and soy sauce, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the dressing to the onion, sausage, and cucumber mixture and toss to coat along with a bit of salt. Taste for seasoning and adjust as desired.
After assembling the salad, let it chill in the fridge for a solid thirty minutes in order for the cucumbers to soak in the dressing and slightly wilt, and for the jalapeños to unleash its heat throughout. Transfer to a plate or bowl and top with cilantro sprigs. Serve alongside hot Jasmine rice.
Serves 6 to 8.
Adapted from Thai Home-Cooking from Kamolmal’s Kitchen by William Crawford.