Tanu Goswami, a portly housewife from New Delhi, keeps her freezer stocked with chicken sausages of all varieties. “Usually I fry the sausages and serve them with bread, but sometimes, I innovate. I make sausage omlettes,” said Goswami, who was at the Spencer's food mart at the MGF Mega City Mall in Gurgaon to take part in a “My Sausage Recipe Contest” in the Indian capital.
The contest was part of a unique daylong sausage festival, “Keells & Krest Sausage Festival”, organised by John Keells Foods India Pvt Ltd, to promote its packaged chicken sausage brands in the capital and NCR.
Sausage omlette is simple snack- two rows of plain egg omelettes flavoured with black pepper and table salt with a filling of diced sausage between them.
Sausage rumuali roll, sausage omelette, sausage in vegetables, sausage chaat, curd sausage, sausage rice, sausage salad ... India is gradually putting sausage - predominantly chicken – in its indigent menu flavouring them the traditional way.
Sixty-year-old Chitra, a grandmother from Panchsheel Park in the capital, usually shallow fry chicken sausages. “But I add a bit of minced green chilli and garlic to it for taste while frying,” Chitra said.
Ritu, a housewife from Gurgaon Phase II, tosses lightly-fried sausage salads in combination with eggs and vegetables. “It's value for money and much better than seafood,” Ritu said.
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.
“The popularity of chicken sausages is growing in India. It is easy to cook because part of it is pre-cooked. 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.
“You can also try out the sausage chaat- diced sausages flavoured with minced (raw) coriander, ginger, garlic, onions, bell paper bits, salt, chilli powder and lemon juice – like the normal 'aloo chaat',” Saggar said.
Sausages are best preserved at -18 degrees C – the usual freezer temperature, Saggar said.
The penetration of sausage as a popular snack, however, is still every highend, said Saumitra Prasad, head of sales and marketing of John Keells Food India.
“It is limited to 4 per cent. But we are trying to promote it as a snack and even as children's tiffin in schools. It's much better than fast food. At present, we are available in 270 outlets in capital, including mom & pop stores, with a market share of 12 per cent (A.C. Nielsen figure) since January,” Prasad told said.
The company, a market leader in Sri Lanka on packaged foods, launched its meat products in the country in January 2009.