We’re always looking for new ways to integrate vegetarian meals into our diets, and as much as we love tofu we’re eager to explore some more imaginative alternate proteins. Lately, that has meant pulse-patties, from black bean burgers to falafels. We love falafels for transforming relatively-boring-but-packed-with-nutrients chickpeas into crisp-on-the-outside-moist-on-the-inside flavour bombs that add substance to rice bowls and keep us full for hours after a meal. They’re traditionally spiced with cumin, coriander, mint and cilantro, but we wondered if they could be done using the same blend of aromatics as our favourite Thai sausage, Sai Ua. The answer is a resounding yes. Full of lemongrass, turmeric, chilies, kaffir lime leaves and galangal, these Thai inspired falafels have a bold flavour that keeps you going back for more. For strict vegetarians, we use powdered dry mushrooms for umami, but if you’re more lenient we recommend a healthy dose of fish sauce.
This sausage from Northern Thailand is insane. It's spicy, rich, herbaceous and fragrant. There's a long list of ingredients that go into it, and it takes some commitment to stuff the sausages at home, but the end result is well worth it. If you don't have a sausage stuffer, not a problem. You can use a funnel and manually stuff the casings, or you can simply make patties out of the meat and fry them up in a pan. If you don't have a meat grinder (and realistically, how many people have a meat grinder at home?) simply substitute 2 lbs of ground pork for the belly and shoulder. We use long red chilies instead of bird's eyes simply because they're easier to calibrate - if you'd rather use bird's eyes, that's fine too.