Thai Foods Ep.7


Chinese Sausage Fried Rice ข้าวผัดกุนเชียง

by Thomas M. Tillman
For people growing up in Asia, Chinese sausage fried rice is the epitome of childhood nostalgia. These sweet, savoury, and chewy Chinese sausages (lap cheong) are the highlight of this simple and quick weeknight-friendly meal. Adding an abundance of veggies also make this a balanced, one-dish meal.

Key to Success: Choosing the Right Chinese Sausage

Making the fried rice is easy, but this is THE most important thing to get right. There are usually several brands and types of Chinese sausage at any Asian grocery store and you can get ones made with pork, chicken, and/or liver, but my preference is the classic all-pork version. Beware of too-salty. The biggest issue with lap cheong is that some brands are quite salty, which is fine in some applications, but when put them in a seasoned fried rice it's just too much. This is something you just have to try to find out, but know that if you find one brand to be too salty, they're not all like that! Less ingredients are better. Some brands have a lot of additives and preservatives in them (shown in pic below), but others don't. In my experience, the less ingredients the better they taste as they don't have as much "stuff" to hide behind.
3 of the brands available in Vancouver. My favourite is Sakura Farms on the right. Dollar Food (left) is much too salty and the added liver makes the texture less chewy. T&T (middle) is less salty, but still too much for fried rice.
Comparing different ingredient lists. The best one (right) has a clean, simple ingredient list with no additives - the way these sausages are traditionally made.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I substitute other vegetables?

Yes, this is a good clean-the-fridge-out recipe, but keep the total amount more or less the same, and stick with firm, low-moisture veggies that won't make your rice wet.

Are Chinese sausages gluten-free?

Most Chinese sausages are made with soy sauce which contains gluten. You would have to look for a brand that specifically says it is gluten-free.

What's the best rice to use for fried rice?

For Thai fried rice, use jasmine rice for the most authentic flavour. Jasmine rice is fragrant, tender, and separates easily enough for frying. If using rice fresh right out of the pot, be sure to rinse the rice thoroughly beforehand until the water runs clear, and then use a little bit less water when cooking (1 part rice:1 part water). See this post for how to cook the perfect rice.

Are there any vegetarian/vegan substitutions for Chinese sausage?

I've never seen one for sale, but there are recipes online for making your own that you could try.

Can Chinese sausages be eaten raw?

No! These are not like pepperoni sticks or salami despite the similar look. It should say so on the package, but you have to fully cook these until they reach an internal temp of 160°F (71°C). In this recipe we pan sear them first, but if you want to eat them on their own you can steam the whole sausage for 10 minutes over boiling water.

Ingredients

  • 75 g Chinese sausage, ¼-inch thick slices
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • ⅓ cup diced onion
  • ⅓ cup diced carrot
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup chopped gai lan, stems cut in thin rounds, leaves in ribbons
  • 300g (2 cups) cooked jasmine rice (see note)
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • For serving: chopped cilantro or green onions, cucumber slices, and a wedge of lime
Note: If measuring rice by volume, press the rice in just enough so there aren’t any big gaps in the measuring cup, but do not pack it tightly.

Instructions

  1. Add the sausage to a wok and spread out into a single layer. Turn heat on medium high and let them cook without stirring until they start to brown on one side and render a little bit of fat. Toss the sausage and keep cooking briefly just to cook them through. Do not cook them for too long or you will render out too much fat and cause the sausage to become too salty. Remove from heat, then remove the sausage from the pan, leaving any rendered fat behind.
  2. Add more oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Turn the heat on medium and add onions and carrots and cook for about 2 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds, then add gailan and toss just until wilted.
  3. Push veggies to one side to create space for the eggs, and move the wok so the veggies are sitting a bit off the element. If the pan is dry, you can add a bit more oil for the eggs here. Add the eggs and break the yolks, then let them set about half way.
  4. Scramble briefly, then add the rice and pour the soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar and pepper onto the rice and toss everything together briefly.
  5. Add the sausage back in and continue tossing until the rice is all separated and evenly coated in the sauce.
  6. Once well mixed, let the rice sit without stirring for 10-15 seconds to toast slightly, then toss to mix and let it toast again. Do this 3 times, or more if your rice is a bit moist, until the rice is dry and some of the grains have browned.
  7. Remove from heat and plate. Top with some chopped cilantro or green onions and serve with fresh cucumber slices. I like to squeeze a bit of lime over it as well to cut the richness. Enjoy!