Nduja (en-doo-ya) is a lethally spicy but incredibly addictive spreadable salami from Calabria, Southern Italy. It gets it fearsome heat and blood red colour from the local Calabrian chillies, scorched by the sun to a vicious intensity. You don’t need a lot of n’duja melted on a pizza to make it special. Three or four blobs on a nice chewy base and you’re good. Or a small dollop melted in a pan throw in pasta and some seafood, forget about it!
The thing about nduja though, for an amalgam of basically pork fat and chillies, it’s needlessly expensive. Especially if like me you could spread the stuff all over your face, and I’ve got a big Chinese face. It’s dearer than Parma ham. So being a fairly seasoned charcutier, I decided it can’t be that difficult to make. It isn’t. The only problem is getting hold of Calabrian chillies. Instead I substituted the reddest chilli I could think of, gojugaru, Korean chilli powder. In Korean supermarkets they always keep this in the fridge, so it’s as fresh as can be in this country. It’s a magic ingredient, warm and sweet with deep fruity red pepper flavour. But of course, we all know how fussy Italians are about locality and produce, I can’t exactly call it nduja anymore. In deference to the dear leader, Kimdooya was born (I can’t remember whether it was me or my buddy Dom Clarke who coined this but it still makes me chuckle). Here’s the recipe:
1kg pork back fat
350g pork shoulder
30ml fish sauce
4g #2 cure
1g bactoferm (salami starter culture) in 20g of water
Beef middles salami casings
- Cut the back fat into strips and feed it into a meat grinder through a medium grinding disc. It helps if the fat is partially frozen as it will grind better. The strips will feed themselves into the grinder.
- Do the same to the pork shoulder meat.
- Add all the other ingredients to the pork fat and meat. The amount of chilli will look ridiculous, this is normal. Mix well until a homogenous mass is formed.
- Stuff into beef casings and prick all over. Let it hang in a warm place overnight, your kitchen, to help the starter culture inoculate the sausage.
- Optional, but not optional if you like extra flavour, cold smoke the sausages with a sweet wood. Pecan is a favourite.
- Dry cure for at least three to four weeks for proper flavour development.
I like nduja but this kimdooya is something else, the milder Korean chilli means you can use so much more of it. Which if you have a love of pig fat and chilli can only be a good thing.