What an obvious choice…making the ultimate Thai Pizza with Sai-ooah/Chiang Mai sausage…hot, pungent, and fiery!
So we’re off on a mission to Kad Luang aka talat Warorot, Chiang Mai’s oldest and largest market along the Ping River, for the best Sai-ooah in Chiang Mai! The market is open and bustling day and night 24/7 including holidays; food, clothing, household goods, textiles, monk supplies, gold shops, fishing tackle, flowers, you name it. Sai-ooah is legendary throughout Thailand and the prized gift for Thai family and friends back home. Sweet, sour, pungent, and HOT only begins to describe this culinary wonder that has been made for generations here in the north. A recipe? Thais pass unwritten recipes along making sausage with the next generation in the family. It’s very much a family affair. I have come across some written recipes by visiting foreigners, but in reality the only way to come up with a real recipe is to actually observe the sausage being made from beginning to end in the village with the maker! Some makers have reached mythical status as the BEST as the crowds standing six deep in front of their stall at the market will attest to. The most famous is where we are heading…the undisputed queen of Chiang Mai sausage sitting serenely, today on her mobile phone, as her attendants courteously serve the unending gaggle of loyal customers.
Ingredients include lemon grass, smoked shallots, kaffir lime leaves, dill, dried red chilies, and fermented shrimp paste, pounded and pulverized into an exotically aromatic concoction in a stone mortar. The mixture is then massaged into ground pork, fermented, or marinated if you prefer, stuffed into natural casings, and hung up to dry out before grilling over a charcoal fire. The sausage is like nothing you have ever tasted and, to my mind, ranks as the best sausage I have ever eaten! It is virtually unavailable beyond the north of Thailand and never shipped abroad, so I do promise to come up with a recipe once I have actually witnessed the entire process on the spot. So stay tuned for that! It will be the only way to experience this wonderful sausage at home, unless you plan on making trip to Chiang Mai!
Chiang Mai sausage is traditionally eaten with Nam Phrik Num, adding even more heat to the sausage with this fiery Thai grilled green chili and eggplant “salsa.” Also delicious with other grilled meats, fish, or thinned as a dipping sauce.
- pizza dough
- garlic & onion puree (posted in basics)
- nam phrik num (posted in basics)
Preheat oven to 500F/260C or as hot as you can get it for at least 30 minutes with a pizza stone placed just above the oven floor
makes 1 10 inch pizza
- pizza flour and semolina for dusting
- olive oil for brushing
- 1/4 cup garlic onion puree
- 1/2 cup nam phrik num
- several slices of red onions separated into rounds
- 12 pieces Chiang Mai sausage sliced on the diagonal into 1/2 inch thick pieces (substitute chorizo or Italian hot sausage)
- 1/2 flame roasted sweet yellow pepper, sliced into 1/2 inch strips lengthwise
- 1 tablespoon fresh green peppercorns (optional)
- fresh dill or fresh cilantro sprigs as garnish
Form the pizza dough round as directed in your recipe. Place on a lightly floured pizza peel or baking sheet dusted with semolina. Brush a 1 inch swath around the rim of the pizza with olive oil. Spread a thin layer of the garlic onion puree over the surface of the dough. Spread the Nam Phrik Num on top of the garlic onion puree. Distribute the onion rings over the surface and place the Chiang Mai sausage slices between the onion rings. Add the sweet yellow peppers where space allows. Scatter the fresh green peppercorns over the surface (if using).
You are now ready to slip the pizza onto the pizza stone. Give the pizza a forward backward reflex motion to be sure the pizza is going to slide easily off the peel and onto to pizza stone. If there is any resistance, use a spatula to loosen any sticking points and add some more semolina under the dough for good measure! Open the oven door and slide the pizza onto the pizza stone.
Cooking time will vary depending on the heat of your oven, but somewhere between 8 to 12 minutes should produce a crispy blistered crust and the surface of the pizza should be just slightly bronzed.
Slide the pizza peel under the pizza and remove it from the oven. Allow to cool for a minute or so and then add the fresh dill or fresh coriander sprigs as a garnish. Using a large knife or pizza wheel slice straight across the pizza at a right angle to make four wedges.
Serve at once!