Have a lone can of Spam in your pantry? Not sure what to do with it? Here are 5 delicious Spam recipes that I recommend to help you make delicious meals! And for more reading about Spam, be sure to read up on “Why Do Hawaiians Love Spam?”
1. Spam Musubi
One does not mention Spam recipes without mentioning the king of them all: the Spam musubi! Spam musubis make a great snack and can be found at almost all convenience stores in Hawaii.
The recipe: The Spam musubi is extremely easy to figure out: it’s just cooked rice and Spam wrapped with dried seaweed (also known as nori). Some people also marinate the SPAM in teriyaki sauce (basically soy sauce + sugar) or add a block of scrambled egg under the SPAM slice. Some people also sprinkle furikake (salty mixture of ground & dried fish, seaweed and sesame seeds) on the rice. Some people also use rice vinegar for the rice, which is a traditional sushi technique. SPAM musubi recipe at SeriousEats.com You might also want to pick up a Musubi Press if you want to make this at home. Otherwise, it’s very difficult to make a solid, firm rice block.
2. Spam Fried Rice
My favorite Spam recipe is fried rice. I love my fried rice recipe, which is based on Chinese-style fried rice and all my friends compliment it whenever I cook it for them. Spam and any processed meats (hot dogs, breakfast sausages, Portuguese sausages, etc.) are always great when diced up and browned on a skillet. My fried rice recipe is adapted from a recipe by Chef Martin Yan, that jovial, Chinese chef you see on the TV. The key to this Spam recipe is to use leftover rice because fresh rice is too wet and sticky to cook with! Let your fridge dehydrate your rice overnight. The Hawaii Plan’s Fried Rice Recipe Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 8 minutes Yield: 4 Servings
- 3 tbsp cooking oil
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- 3 cups of cooked, leftover rice (break up the clumps first!)
- 3/4 cup of Spam (in chunks or in strips)
- 3/4 cup chopped veggies (peas, carrots, cucumber, bell peppers, onions, etc)
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce or 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic pieces (skin removed and sliced or cracked open)
Step 1. Put skillet on high heat. Add 1 tbsp oil and very lightly scramble eggs, salt, and pepper. Put eggs on the side on a plate or cup. Only lightly scramble them because we will put them back in later and cook them some more. Step 2. Put 2 tbsp oil in and let it heat up to medium-high heat. Add the garlic and spam. Let it lightly brown. The garlic fragrance should fill your kitchen too. Then add in your rice (de-clumped). Add the oyster sauce or soy sauce evenly and stir everything. Step 3. As you cook your rice, it should start to soak up the oyster sauce or soy sauce and may get a little crisp too, since leftover rice is not very wet. But stir occasionally, as you don’t want your rice to burn. Finally, add in your veggies, your green onion, and your eggs back in. Optional: Fried rice is really a flexible dish, so you can add anything you like! I personally like to add cayenne pepper and bits of ginger. Some of my friends like fried rice with ketchup. To each, their own!
A Local’s Advice
Did you like the Chinese flavor of this recipe? Be sure to pick up Martin Yan’s Chinese cookbook, “Chinese Cooking for Dummies.” It’s what I read to understand Chinese cooking and it has many other wonderful recipes like Mapo Tofu, Chow Mein, Kung Pao Chicken, and Honey Garlic Chicken.
3. The Hot Hawaiian Breakfast: Spam, eggs, and rice
Spam, eggs, and rice is what I like to call “The Hot Hawaiian Breakfast.” This recipe is just a local interpretation of the sausage, egg, and hash brown breakfast that is popular on the mainland. Here’s a fun fact: Spam, eggs, and rice is so popular in Hawaii that both McDonalds and Burger King have it on their breakfast menus.
Whenever it’s cold outside, eating this for breakfast is guaranteed to warm up your soul and get you ready for the day. And don’t forget the ketchup! The recipe: you don’t really need a recipe for this Spam recipe. Just cook rice in a pot and your eggs and spam in a skillet.
4. Budae Jjigae, or “Army Base Stew”
I worked in South Korea for 2 years and ate many great dishes there (most of which are waaaay too spicy for a guy raised in Hawaii). Of all the great Korean food I tried, my favorite was budae jjigae (부대찌개), a stew with a variety of things thrown in.
Budae jjigae was originally made by Koreans after the Korean War. The Koreans did not have much food and ate a lot of what was available from the U.S. military base there, which was mostly low-quality foods like Spam, hot dogs, and instant noodles (wiki). With what they had, the Koreans made a new stew. Although it was a very low-budget food, it actually tasted great and Koreans continued to make it even after Korea had recovered from the war. Today, it is a dish commonly ordered in Korean restaurants. Try Anthony Bourdain’s recipe.
Update: Or try this Korean Kitchen version, which is very similar! I just tried it recently, April 2019. It uses chicken broth instead, which is easier for me than the anchovy kelp broth. I pretty much dissolved 4 chicken boullion in water and used that. A couple notes:
- finding specific mushrooms is hard or expensive, so feel free to just use buttons mushrooms or shiitakes
- if you are controlling your carbohydrate-intake, I would definitely skip rice — just add more meat, maybe oil (sesame oil is a great way to add even more flavor)… ground pork is great! I plan to use ground beef next batch, which alters the flavor a bit
- you can’t go wrong with extra garlic and green onions, like in my video!
- don’t put too many noodles… they will soak up all the water and leave you with a soppy meal instead of stew
And this is how it looks when it’s stewing over medium-high heat! It smells wonderful!
A Local’s Advice
Did you know that Koreans love Spam too? Outside of the US, they are the biggest Spam consumer. Spam gift sets are very popular choices for gifts during the Korean holiday season. “Mah-shiit-dah!” — it means “delicious” in Korean!
5. The Spamwich
Because of it’s rectangular-size and because it’s so easy to slice, SPAM can easily be used for a sandwich. You can make whatever type of sandwich you want with SPAM, but I highly recommend that you cook your SPAM first. It is a hassle and not necessary because Spam is already cooked, but Spam is just not the same treat we all know and love when it comes straight from the can. When cooking Spam, I recommend just frying it in a pan over low to medium heat. Spam naturally has a lot of fat, which will melt and lubricate the pan when it is heated. Ideally, you want your Spam a crimson color, with a crispy outside. SPAM Reuben recipe at RecipeSource.com
Honorable Mention: Breakfast Skillet
I saw this lovely, Spam breakfast dish on Spam.com and had to mention it here. As you may have noticed from the other recipes, Spam can be easily substituted into any recipe where there are sausages or hot dogs or bacon. The same goes here with this Breakfast Skillet recipe. Hearty Spam Breakfast Skill recipe @ Spam.com
Dishonorable Mention: Spam Apple Turnover
Wait… what? Apple Spam Turnover Recipe @ Spam.com
Want more Spam?
I personally only know a handful of recipes that use Spam. However, there are endless with this beautiful, culinary treat. If you want more Spam ideas and recipes, take a look at the Spam cookbook, Hawaii Cooks With Spam by Muriel Miura available on Amazon.com.