Childhood memories of the sausages I’ve had in Kolkata are a permanent aroma in my brain. Unlike the ones that I now get from a cold storage shop in Mumbai, the made-to-order early morning sausage experiences are etched fondly in some nice places in my cranium.
These sausages have a strong and aromatic song of their own. They start as sides of pork in a shop in Taltala Bazar, or in New Market… Perhaps earlier, even in Tangra. Baba lifts, prods and inspects before selecting a section of meat and specifies how much meat is needed and hands over the spices we mix and grind at home along with some mint and parsley to the sausage maker. He then proceeds to ritually insist that some more fat be added.
While a chap sitting at a corner quickly minces some onion and green chillies the pork rind is dextrously sliced off, the meat and a little extra fat is coarse-ground while some more hard belly fat is diced. Then, all of this is mixed together with the spices, the mint and parsley, the onions, a little green chilly mince (and often some red chilly powder… that we omit). Squelched together dextrously into a rich, even and glutinous goodness.
Once home, Baba pricks the sausages with a thin needle to make sure they do not burst while they are cooked. Then, a little water is added with a wee little salt, and the sausages are simmered in a covered pan.
The sausages soon release their own juices, seep liquid fat, and some very heavenly aromas! Once cooked some of the sausages end up with split skins, this is providential, since they release tasty goodness into the liquid that swaddles them, and also because I use this as a neat excuse to quickly gobble them up.
While most sausages have a singular unified taste, I love the granular texture of the meat in these ones, the bouquet of (very Indian) spices, the sweetness and bite from the onion and parsley, and the hint of mint hiding somewhere, while the little cubes of pork fat goodness induces umami.
One can make a curry out of these sausages, but I like having them with bread, plain rice or naan, just with the fat and juices the sausages produce while they cook.
These freeze and keep well in the fridge. For rather extended periods of time. Contrary to what people may tell you, they travel quite well. Else, I would not be having them in Mumbai right at this moment.
The author blogs at eatbhaieat.blogspot.in