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Sai Krok Isan (Thai Sausage Recipe)

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Sai krok Isan is a delicious fermented and grilled Thai sausage recipe hailing from Northeastern Thailand. Made with pork and rice, these flavorful snacks are best served alongside spicy chili peppers, fresh ginger slices, and fresh vegetables.

Sai krok Isan Thai sausages on a bamboo basket, with a backdrop of chilies, ginger, and cabbage.

If you like Thai grilled pork, you’ll love these: Thai ribs, moo yang, and moo ping recipe.

What is sai krok Isan

Sai krok Isan (ไส้กรอกอีสาน) is a traditional Thai sausage from Isan, Northeastern Thailand. Made of pork and rice and seasoned with garlic, salt, and various spices, the sausage undergoes fermentation in the hot sun, infusing it with a distinctive sour flavor.


Thai sai krok Isan sausages served on a woven tray, accompanied by ginger, garlic, and vegetables.

Why try this recipe

  • Perfect for your backyard barbecue: These grilled sausages are perfect for a summer backyard barbecue. Simply light up the charcoal and grill up some sai krok Isan with your friends and family.
  • Unique and authentic flavors: Traveling to the Northeastern, rural region of Thailand is an experience that many tourists seem to skip. Which is a shame, because Isan food is known for being incredibly flavorful. And this sai krok Isaan recipe is the best way to experience the region’s authentic flavors at home.
  • They’re the ultimate snack: Take them with you on your next picnic or potluck, they’re delicious cold or hot off the grill, and they’re the perfect party starter.
  • Fun and unique recipe: Making your own sausages is a fun and unique family activity. Gather the kids and stuff those sausages.
  • Healthy ingredients: Did you know that fermented foods are great for your gut health? The ingredients in this Thai sausage recipe are acceptably healthy, so you can enjoy them guilt-free!

Lao som moo is another fermented sour pork sausage you’ll love.

What does Thai sausage taste like

Thai sausages are known for their unique blend of flavors, combining sour, sometimes spicy, and herbal notes. They have a unique flavor that sets them apart from other sausages.

Sai krok Isan sausages skewered and ready to enjoy with herbs, spices, and cabbage.

Sai krok Isan

If you’re a fan of fermented foods, this Northeastern Thai delight is about to become your new go-to snack. Fermented under the scorching sun, infusing every bite with a sour kick, this sausage will inspire you to explore the world of Isan cuisine.

You’ll often spot this sausage sizzling on local street carts, where they’re chewed on by locals and tourists as the perfect on-the-go snack.

Sai krok Isan sausages served on a banana leaf.
In Thailand, we have several sausages, like sai krok Isan and sai krok woon sen, which is made with glass noodles.

Sai ua

Venture further up into Northern Thailand, and you’ll find sai ua ruling the streets. This Thai sausage is brimming with herbs and spices like aromatic lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and spicy red curry paste.

While this Thai specialty is not fermented, it makes up for that with its aromatic blend of herbal and sweet.

Ingredients

Ingredients can be sourced at Asian grocery stores and Asian markets.
The exact measurements are in the recipe card at the end of this post.


Ingredients for sai krok Isan labeled: rice, garlic, coriander root, sugar, oyster sauce, white pepper, sausage casing, white pepper, salt, golden mountain sauce, and minced pork.
  • Pork – Minced pork is the key ingredient, making these grilled sausages irresistibly juicy. It’s important to use pork with some fat to it, don’t go for lean pork!
  • Steamed white rice – Rice plays a leading role in the fermentation process, adding a unique texture and a tangy flavor.
  • Sausage casing – Soak in water and clean before use.
  • Golden mountain sauce – A staple in Thai cuisine, adding umami. It’s a Thai seasoning sauce that adds just that bit of extra flavor compared to soy sauce.
  • Oyster sauce – A key ingredient in Thai cooking for adding a savory, slightly sweet flavor to dishes.
  • Coriander root – Coriander root adds a herbal note.
  • White pepper – White pepper adds a mild heat, without overpowering the other ingredients.
  • White sugar – A touch of sugar is key for balancing the salty and sour elements.
  • Garlic – Elevates the sausages with a pungent aroma and enhances the flavors.
  • Salt
  • Dried glass noodles (optional) – The glass noodles add a delightful, unique and chewy texture. These are optional, you can make the sausages with or without them. With glass noodles, we call them sai krok woon sen.

Cooking instructions

Thai sausage casings soaking in water.

Step 1. Prepare sausage casing: Begin by submerging your sausage casings in water to ensure they’re pliable. Let rest for 30 minutes and then clean the in- and outside with running water.

Crushed herbs and spices in mortar.

Step 2. Crush herbs and spices: Crush garlic and coriander root in a mortar.

Raw ingredients for Thai sausage filling before and after mixing.

Step 3. Make the filling: Mix your ground pork with steamed white rice, crushed garlic and coriander root, white pepper, golden mountain, oyster sauce, sugar, and salt. If you’re using glass noodles for sai krok woon sen, add them in this step.

Step-by-step Thai sausage stuffing process, from filling the stuffer to twisting the sausages.

Step 4. Fill sausage casing: Start by tying a secure knot at the end of the sausage casing. Next, load the meat mixture into your sausage stuffer and eliminate any air pockets. Attach the open end of the casing to the stuffer’s nuzzle. Gently press the meat out, filling the casing but avoid overstuffing. Fill your whole sausage casing with the meat mixture and then tie off the sausage with string at 1-2 inch intervals or according to your preference, pulling each knot tightly.

Step 5. Cure sausage: Place the sausages in a sunny spot or outside air to cure for 6 hours. This step imparts the sausages with their signature tang and aids in preservation. If a less sour flavor is preferred, limit to 1 hour. For an extra sour taste, leave them outside for another day.

Instructions for grilling sai krok Isan.

6. Grill: Heat your sausages on a charcoal grill until they’re done. Serve immediately with sticky rice.

How to serve

Sai krok Isan is best eaten with some sides to accompany it. Lay the grilled sausages out on a serving dish and pair with:

  • Fresh vegetables like cabbage, lettuce, or cucumbers
  • Bird’s eye chilies for a spicy kick
  • Fresh ginger slices
  • Raw garlic cloves

Side dishes

Sai krok Isan pairs wonderfully with spicy salads like som tum thai and long bean salad. And what’s an Isan meal without Thai sticky rice? It’s a must! Simply roll some sticky rice into a ball and enjoy it with a bite of Thai sausage.

How to store

Before storing, allow the sausages to cool down to room temperature. Place them in an airtight container in the fridge to keep them from drying out. Consume within 5 days.

Freezing instructions: Wrap each sausage in cling film or aluminum foil and place them in a freezer bag. Store for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and then reheat.

Reheating instructions: Throw them on the grill or on a grilling pan to sizzle them back to life.

Fun facts

  • When I’m wandering in a Thai food market, craving a sour flavor or spicy and herbal notes, Thai sausages are my go-to comfort food.
  • Sai krok Isan is common street food in Northeastern Thailand. Your trip to Isan wouldn’t be complete without trying one!
  • The rice grains in sai krok Isan ferment along with the meat, giving it its distinct sour flavor and unique texture.
  • Street vendors grilling Thai sausages on open charcoal grills is a common sight in Isan and Northern Thailand.
  • “Sai Krok” is Thai for “sausage,” while “Isan” refers to the Northeastern region of Thailand.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ’s)

How does sai krok Isan go bad?

To prevent your sai krok isan from going bad, store them in the refrigerator in an airtight container. If not properly stored, the sausage can spoil through bacterial contamination, moisture build-up, or mold growth. If the sausage has an off-smelling odor or a moldy texture, it has probably gone bad.

What to serve with Thai sausage?

Thai sausages are often served with raw chili peppers, fresh ginger slices, garlic, and an assortment of fresh vegetables like cabbage or cucumbers. For a complete meal, pair it with spicy Thai salads like green papaya salad, and a portion of sticky rice.

Is this recipe gluten-free?

Sauces like golden mountain sauce and oyster sauce may contain gluten, depending on the brand. Check the labeling and opt for gluten-free versions.

More Thai pork recipes you’ll love

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Sai Krok Isan (Thai Sausage Recipe)

Sai krok Isan Thai sausages on a bamboo basket, with a backdrop of chilies, ginger, and cabbage.
Delicious Northeastern Thai grilled sausages with minced pork, glass noodles, and traditional ingredients.
Praew
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Cuisine Thai
Course Appetizer, Snack
Serving Size 3 people

Ingredients

  • 17.6 ounces pork minced, see notes
  • 120 inch sausage casing
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 2 coriander root
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1.5 tablespoon golden mountain sauce
  • 14 ounces steamed rice
  • 1.5 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoon salt
  • 1.8 ounce glass noodles optional, soaked and cut

Instructions

  • Begin by submerging your sausage casings in water to ensure they’re pliable. Let rest for 30 minutes and then clean the in- and outside with running water.
  • Crush garlic and coriander root in a mortar.
  • Mix your ground pork with steamed white rice, crushed garlic and coriander root, white pepper, golden mountain, oyster sauce, sugar, and salt. If you’re using glass noodles for sai krok woon sen, add them in this step.
  • Start by tying a secure knot at the end of the sausage casing. Next, load the meat mixture into your sausage stuffer and eliminate any air pockets. Attach the open end of the casing to the stuffer’s nuzzle. Gently press the meat out, filling the casing but avoid overstuffing. Fill your whole sausage casing with the meat mixture and then tie off the sausage with string at 1-2 inch intervals or according to your preference, pulling each knot tightly.
  • Place the sausages in a sunny spot or outside air to cure for 6 hours. This step imparts the sausages with their signature tang and aids in preservation. If a less sour flavor is preferred, limit to 1 hour. For an extra sour taste, leave them outside for another day.
  • Heat your sausages on a charcoal grill until they’re done. Serve immediately with sticky rice.

Notes

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
  • Pork: It's important to use pork with some fat to it, don't go for lean pork!
  • Before storing, allow the sausages to cool down to room temperature. Place them in an airtight container in the fridge to keep them from drying out. Consume within 5 days.

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