Fry it again Sam: Guide to frying sausages

Sam recently wrote in with a desperate plea for help. "What's the best way to cook sausages? I seem to get them wrong, underdone, overdone, burst open, too much fat spilling around. I have tried several kinds of sausages cannot get them right. Please help," he wrote.

I felt that this was a very serious query and deserved a post of its own. So here you go.

Sam, I assume you are talking of what's called 'English' sausages here. This is as opposed to 'Goan' sausages.

Sausages are the easiest thing to cook. And they cook faster than you can say 'Superchef'. Good quality sausages help of course. My preferred brand is Al Farms. In life, pork sausages are the real thing. But chicken's not too bad either.

The traditional way to fry sausages is to fry them whole. A simple trick here might help. Remember sausage is meat stuffed in skin. The stuff inside begins to rebel when fried. This could lead to the problems that you mentioned. One way of circumventing this is to poke a few holes in the skin of the sausage with a fork. This helps calm things inside. Or slash the sausage from the middle once so that it is slightly ribbed. The advantage here is that a bit of the inner surface is exposed and the oil, and any seasoning, that you use, infuses into the depths of the meat.

An even more foolproof way of cooking sausages it is to chop them into rings and fry them in oil. You can add any seasoning that you want. This way both the skin and the meat inside gets evenly fried.

Always thaw sausages before you fry them. Never add salt to sausages. You would need some lubricating base to fry the sausages in. This could range from decadent butter to size zero Olive Oil. Heat the base and bung in the sausages. You know your sausage is done when the skin of the sausage begins to darken and looks slightly crinkled. Take it off the pan then.

Seasoning Options: Crushed Black pepper, green chillies, bird's eye chillies (red), finely chopped garlic or ginger, Herbs: Basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, even good old deep fried onions and the ultimate treat - cheese (grated or slices thrown in). Anything that you can think of actually.

Health tip: You can poke holes into sausages, place them in the micro for 3 seconds to a minute for oil free sausages.