Tasty and Easy Spam Fried Rice Recipe
Why Spam? Why not? Easy One-Pot Meal At Any Time
I'm Cambodian and my husband is Korean but we grew up in the melting pot of America...California to be specific. Both of our moms are great cooks and have great fried rice recipes, but the following recipe is uniquely our own. My husband cooks it best and he is the one who added the nostalgic and eternal canned food SPAM* one day instead of the chinese sausage I was used to adding (he thinks it's too greasy). For some reason, this canned fully-cooked meat was in our pantry. I was skeptical at first, but after MANY reiterations of this recipe, we love it and rely on it as our easy, go-to, one-pot meal when we're hungry. It's especially easy when we use the already chopped vegetables that I usually have set aside from prepping another meal and have already cooked a pot of rice. Then all we have to add is the Spam and seasonings, and we've got tasty and satisfying fried rice in less than 30 minutes!
*I just learned that Spam is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year (2012). Wow...it really is a long-lasting food icon!
- cooked white rice (2 cups uncooked = about 6 cups cooked)
- 1 (12-ounce) can of Spam Lite*
- 2 medium zucchinis
- fresh mushrooms (1 box or about 2 cups)
- 1 small onion
- 1 bunch (about 8 stalks) green onion (aka scallions)
- 2 eggs
- olive oil, 2 tablespoons
- soy sauce, 2 tablespoons
- chili powder, 1 tablespoon
- garlic powder, 1 teaspoon
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Cook rice, about 25 minutes, and set aside. Because the rice is fresh and soft, I would say this "fried rice" is more like a "sauteed rice" since the rice does not get fried in a lot of oil or get hard. The rice in our version stays soft -- this is what sets it apart from your standard fried rice!!
- Wash and chop all vegetables into a small dice (zucchini, onion, mushroom, green onion). Similarly, chop half of the Spam into small cubes. Slice and save other half for breakfast (cook and eat like bacon).
- In large pan or wok, heat up oil. Fry the Spam until slightly brown and crisp. Add the onions, and cook for a couple minutes. Then add zucchini and mushrooms. Cook until onions are translucent or soft. Season with some of the spice above (just a little of the chili, pepper and garlic).
- Add the cooked rice. Be sure to toss and saute everything together. Add the soy sauce, and more chili powder, so that the rice gets nice and brown. Stir and mix frequently. I add the remainder of the spices here, tasting and seasoning until I'm satisfied. Just season according to your taste (more chili or salt, etc. if you like spicy or salty).
- Make a well in the middle of the fried rice in the pan; crack eggs and scramble until cooked. Then mix into the fried rice. Alternatively, you could have fried the egg in the pan by itself first, then set it aside on a plate, to add back into the pan at the end, over the rice.
- Add the green onions, stir in and cook briefly. Then you're done! For extra spiciness, we add a drizzle of red chili sauce (Sriracha brand, i.e. green cap).
Yields: about 6 big servings (where this is the main entree, not a side dish)
From the nutrition label:
SPAM LITE (12 ounces or 340 grams)
Ingredients: Pork, with Ham, Mechanically Separated Chicken, Water, Salt, Modified Potato Starch, Sugar, Sodium Phosphates, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Ascorbate, Sodium Nitrite
Serv. Size 2 oz. (56g) / Servings: 6
Calories 110 / Fat Cal. 70
Total Fat: 80g (12% of DV) / Sat. Fat 3g / Trans. Fat 0g
Cholesterol: 40mg (13% of DV)
Sodium: 580mg (24% of DV) **
Total Carb: 1g (0% of DV) / Fiber 0g / Sugar 0g
Vitamin C 30% / Iron 2%
Billed as 50% less fat, 25% less sodium, and 33% fewer calories than Spam Classic, Spam Lite is what we pick up if we see it in the store. It lasts for years on the shelf (maybe forever?) but we usually buy and use 2 cans per every 8 weeks or so. One can yields enough for a huge pan of fried rice, and 8 thin slices for breakfast the next day (we use it like bacon, eating it with plain white rice and/or eggs). We still buy real smoked bacon every month, which is more salty and greasy than Spam in my opinion and about 3 times more expensive. I think Spam is a great pantry item, since it's a shelf-stable fully cooked meat, and it tastes better than tuna or other canned fish or ham. It's handy to have in your cabinets just in case. Even without fresh meat, it's still possible to make a tasty entirely-from-the-pantry fried rice with just Spam and some frozen mixed vegetables, if you really have nothing fresh. I am not ignorant of the evils of processed foods, and don't advocate this canned meat for everybody; but personally, my family likes it, and we do not eat too much of it. I do not eat it when I'm pregnant however, because I cut back on nitrates/nitrites when I'm pregnant (so sadly, NO to most hot dogs too). Of course, everything in moderation.
**Regarding the sodium content...Most complaints are about the saltiness of Spam. It may just be my upbringing, where we eat steamed white rice with many of our dishes, but Spam does not seem that salty to me when eaten with rice. Plus, the amount of Spam in one serving of fried rice is a lot less than the amount that equals one serving according to the nutrition label, so the nutrition label statistics are very skewed, as much as double what you're actually consuming per serving. That's why you should try this recipe if you're at all interested in eating Spam or trying out a new fried rice concoction. Thanks for reading!
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