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Indians go desi with sausages

How about sausage omelette for breakfast, sausage rice and vegetables for lunch, sausage rumali roll or sausage chaat for a quick snack? Indians are changing their tastebuds...

india Updated: Jul 27, 2009 19:08 IST

How about some sausage omelette for breakfast, sausage rice and vegetables for lunch and sausage rumali roll or sausage chaat for a quick snack when guests drop by? Yes, India is gradually putting sausage - predominantly chicken - on its plate, but with a desi touch.

Sixty-year-old Chitra Singh, a grandmother from Panchsheel Park in south Delhi, is a sausage addict. "It is a common breakfast and snack at home," says the petite old lady.

Chitra usually "shallow fries" chicken sausages and adds a bit of minced green chilli and garlic to it for taste. "Sometimes, when there is nothing at home, I even add tomato ketchup or chilli sauce while frying," Chitra said.

She was at the MGF Mega City Mall Saturday evening in Gurgaon to take part in a unique "My Sausage Recipe Contest", as part of a sausage carnival, "Keells & Krest Sausage Festival", organised by John Keells Foods India Pvt Ltd, a market leader in processed and frozen meat products.

Ritu, a housewife from Gurgaon Phase II, makes sure there is always a pack of chicken sausages in her freezer.
"Since my husband loves salad, I toss lightly-fried sausage salads in combination with eggs and vegetables. It's value for money and much better than seafood," Ritu said.

Sausage - mostly made of processed chicken - is becoming popular on the Indian plate in indigenous avatars. And people are going out of their way to improvise the meat product - one can also make curd sausage or sausage salad to go with the main course.

Tanu Goswami, a housewife from south Delhi, also keeps her freezer stocked with chicken sausages of all varieties. "Usually I fry the sausages and serve them with bread, but sometimes, I improvise. I make sausage omelettes," Goswami told IANS.
Sausage omelette is simple snack - two rows of plain egg omelettes flavoured with black pepper and table salt with a filling of diced sausage between them.

The omelette at the top, which is uncooked at the bottom, binds the sausage filling and the omelette at the base, once put in a frying pan. "The raw egg white and yolk acts as the binder. It is a desi sausage recipe," the housewife explained.
Sometimes Tanu rustles up sausage rice for lunch - stir-fried diced sausages mixed with rice and diced vegetables, cooked in light fish and flavoured with garlic and cloves.

The history of sausage, says master chef Vivek Saggar of Delhi-based Food Art, goes back to nearly 2,000 years when meat was salted, smoked, pounded and stuffed into casings of animal intestines in Europe and even in China for storage and consumption.

Since then, sausage has evolved as a complete meat meal worldwide and a number of food festivals centre around sausages in Britain, France and Germany. History cites that the earliest sausage was made around 589 BC in China with lamb and goat meat filling. The Europeans later used pork, veal and beef.

"The popularity of chicken sausages is growing in India. It is easy to cook because part of it is pre-cooked. It is chicken 'keema'. The easiest way to cook it is to saute it lightly with a tablespoon full of oil," Saggar said.

His signature recipe is the sausage rumali roll - the traditional Indian meat roll in a casing of white-flour wafer-thin large chapatis. Only the meat is replaced by diced chicken sausage and the vegetables are lightly fried to keep the taste of the chicken intact.

Saggar also recommends another of his speciality, the sausage chaat. It is a dish of diced sausages flavoured with minced (raw) coriander, ginger, garlic, onions, bell pepper bits, salt, chilli powder and lemon juice - like the normal 'aloo chaat'.

Sausages are best preserved at -18 degrees Celsius - the usual freezer temperature and can last for months, Saggar said.

The penetration of sausage as a popular snack, however, is still every niche, said Saumitra Prasad, head of sales and marketing of John Keells Food India.

"It is just four percent. But we are trying to make it popular as a snack. In Sri Lanka, our products are popular school tiffin for children. We are currently available in 270 outlets in the capital. An AC Nielsen study says our market share is 12 percent in just seven months since January," Prasad told IANS.

The company, a market leader in Sri Lanka on packaged foods, launched its meat products in the country in January 2009.