Blood is eaten in many cultures, mostly in the form of sausages: boudin noir in France, soondae in Korea, black pudding in Britain, morcilla in Spain. If you eat it with an open mind (and perhaps, closed eyes – I’ll admit, it’s not pretty), you’ll probably find it delicious.
Korean blood sausage is quite light because it contains sweet potato starch vermicelli or rice, vegetables and, sometimes, ground nuts, in addition to the spices. You can find it in the frozen and chilled sections of some of the Korean shops on Kimberley Street, in Tsim Sha Tsui, and it’s there that you can also pick up banchan (side dishes) to serve with the soondae.
If you like, use 200 grams of soondae and add a pig’s ear that’s been boiled until tender, then cut into 5mm-wide strips.
400 grams soondae
15 grams gochujang (Korean chilli paste)
15 grams corn syrup
15ml light soy sauce
10ml sesame oil
5 grams gochugaru (Korean chilli flakes)
5 grams salt
1 carrot, about 150 grams
½ a Korean zucchini
1 onion, about 200 grams
4 garlic cloves
6 red or green banana chillies, or a mixture of both
About 20ml cooking oil
Toasted sesame seeds, for sprinkling
Slice the soondae into rounds about 6mm thick. Put the gochujang in a bowl and add the corn syrup, light soy sauce, sesame oil, gochugaru and salt and stir to combine. Cut the carrot into thick batons. Slice the Korean zucchini in half lengthwise, then into half-circles about 4mm thick. Halve the onion then cut it into slices about 5mm thick. Cut the banana chillies into 5mm-thick rings. Slice the garlic cloves.
Heat a wok over a high flame, then add 10ml of cooking oil. When the oil is hot, add the carrot and cook for about two minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the zucchini, onion and garlic and cook until the onion is slightly softened; drizzle in a little more oil if the vegetables stick to the wok. Add the banana chillies and stir-fry for about 30 seconds, then transfer all the ingredients to a large bowl.
Heat the wok again over a high flame and add the remaining oil. When the oil is hot, add the soondae. Spread the soondae over the sides of the wok so the meat sears slightly. Push c to the centre of the wok and mix in the vegetables. Pour the gochujang mixture over the ingredients and stir well. Cook, stirring often, until the ingredients are hot and lightly coated with the sauce. If the sauce is too thick, stir in a little hot water. Transfer the ingredients to a platter, then sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds before serving with steamed white rice and banchan.
Morcela with eggs and pan-fried potatoes and onion
You will probably have to go to Macau to get the Portuguese version of blood sausage. This is a hearty, rib-sticking dish and is best served when the weather starts to get cooler.
If you have lard or rendered goose or chicken fat, use one of those for frying the potatoes. The secret to making delicious pan-fried potatoes is patience: you need to let the potatoes brown on the bottom of the skillet before mixing so the unbrowned parts come in contact with the pan. I like to move the pan around over the burner so it heats evenly (or rather, less unevenly, because there are always hotter and cooler areas).
4 links morcela, about 300 grams each (or eight sausages if you are big eaters)
4 smooth-skinned local potatoes, about 300 grams each
1 large onion, about 250 grams
2 garlic cloves
4 large eggs
Cooking oil (or another type of fat for frying the potatoes and onion)
Fine salt and freshly ground black pepper
Scrub the potatoes and peel them or leave the skin on (as you prefer). Cut the potatoes into 1cm cubes, then put them into a pan with cool, salted water to cover them by about 2cm. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the potatoes are barely tender. Drain in a colander.
Cut the onion into 5mm pieces and slice the garlic. Heat about 45ml of cooking oil or fat in a skillet, preferably cast iron, placed over a medium-low flame. Add the onion, garlic and a sprinkling of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the onion is soft, then turn the flame to medium. Add the potatoes, sprinkle with salt and cook slowly, without stirring, until the potatoes become crusty on the bottom. Slide a wide metal spatula (such as a pancake turner) under the potatoes and flip (you will need to do this in sections). Continue to cook the potatoes slowly, mixing and turning them as needed so there’s as much brown crust as possible. If the potatoes seem dry, add more fat. Taste for seasonings and add more salt, if needed. Mix in some black pepper just before serving.
Cook the morcela. Use a toothpick to prick about a dozen holes in the skin of the sausages. Lightly oil a skillet. Add the sausages to the unheated skillet and place it over a medium flame. When the sausages start to sizzle, adjust the heat so they don’t cook too fast (which might make them burst). Turn the sausages as they brown. They take about 10 minutes to cook until they are hot (you don’t need to worry about heating them until “done” because they are already cooked).
Heat another skillet over a medium-high flame. Oil the skillet, then fry the eggs sunny side-up.
Divide the potato/onion mixture between four plates and top with an egg. Add a sausage to each plate and serve immediately.