Saturday, September 6, 2008

Spam-a-Lot: Spam Musubi and Spam Fried Rice

Spam Musubi: The perfect Hapa-Hillbilly treat

My Japanese-American friend Carol gave me a can of Spam for Christmas.

At first I wondered what she was trying to tell me, but since the can came with a lucite rice mold and a package of dried seaweed, the message was simple: Make Spam musubi.

Spam musubi, a simple snack consisting of steamed white rice topped with fried Spam and wrapped in seaweed, is one of our favorite guilty snacks during vacations in Hawaii. The popularity of Spam musubi among the Locals helps explain why the per capita consumption of Spam on the islands is four cans per person per year, higher than any state in the Union. (I hear that Hawaiians are 20% water and 80% Spam.)

But Hawaiians aren't the only ones who love their Spam. Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia is rumored to eat a fried Spam sandwich on white bread with mayo three times a week. Maybe that's why he's called the "king of pork barrel."

No matter how you slice it, Spam musubi is a perfect Hapa-Hillbilly treat, combining the low cost and convenience of the much-maligned canned meat with traditional Japanese white rice and seaweed.

The pale pink meat looks unappetizing straight out of the can. But fry it up and it turns a luscious brown caramel color. I used my new rice mold to form the base for the musubi, topped it with the fried Spam and then wrapped the concoction with a strip of seaweed.

After eating the Spam musubi, I had to admit that I like Spam-a-lot. While I was on a Spam roll, I decided to make Spam fried rice with the rice left over from the musubi.

Start by sauteing three chopped green onions and half a can of chopped Spam in a tablespoon of oil.

Move the sauteed meat mixture to the side and scramble two eggs in the well in the center. I learned this technique from Wandering Chopsticks.

Add 3 cups of day-old rice and one cup of frozen peas. Mix thoroughly and then add soy sauce to taste. I also added a tablespoon of fish sauce.

Top with freshly chopped cilantro.
The end result was surprisingly beautiful and delicious.

So don't be embarrassed. Sneak a can of Spam into your shopping cart and whip up these two easy treats. Your family will thank you.


Wandering Chopsticks said...

Haha. My Spam musubi look totally pathetic without a mold. But they taste good! :)

Susan C said...

I like the way you make your Spam musubi 'cause the seaweed is my favorite part.

CB3Dot said...

Hi Susan,

First, thanks for the encouragement following the read of my first blog. There will be more. Altadenahike referred me to you and mentioned a couple other blogs of yours that I checked out. Great work, and thanks for the pointer to the woman with cancer. I listened to her clip. Also, you're good. I'm trying to maintain my fighting weight. Some of your offerings might cause me to compromise somewhat, but Quality of Life does have its sway.

Petrea Burchard said...

It was lovely to finally meet you.

We used to have Spam all the time when I was a kid. I didn't know it wasn't cool and I liked it fine.

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan:
A surprisingly tasty add to the Spam fried rice is a couple of "Ketchup-type" bottle thumps of Lee Kum Kee Oyster Sauce (any market has it in the asian section) to the white rice. Also, some raw minced garlic in the oil of fried bacon drippings in the pan make for an extra yummy treat. My family swears by bacon fried rice! It also works for your "banter" blog too, with a big caloric punch!


Susan C said...

Wen, I know Wandering Chopsticks favors oyster sauce in her fried rice, and I wanted to give it a try, but was disappointed to find that I was out. I plan to replenish my bottle so that I can try it with the oyster sauce next time. And garlic is always a great upgrade to anything.

Susan C said...

CB: Great new posts on your blog!

Petrea: It was great to finally meet you too!

CB3Dot said...

Have I got one for you. Next post will publish tonite or tamarra morn!

Anonymous said...

Thats so funny. I've never had Spam. My first recollection of Spam was seeing it in the center of a Ed Ruche's painting when I was a kid. I think it's in L.A.C.M.A.'s permanent collection. Anyhow...
I have tried the "deviled somethings" in a can. It was to close to the appearance of cat food so it didn't take hold with me. Is it similar?

Susan C said...

PA: Wow - you're really an artist when your only Spam frame of reference is in hanging in LACMA.

I don't know about the other varieties of meat in a can, but my brother likes to tell stories about eating Vienna sausages on white bread while pitching hay in West Virginia.

Anonymous said...

What a great, delicious and informative blog you have here! I just had to stop by this spam post because without it, my family would consider it a disaster!

I just love your witty writing and photographs. I feel like I've known you forever as well!

Susan C said...

WoR: Wow! Thanks for the great compliment. Means a lot coming from two of my faves.

Another friend just sent me a link for spam and fried potatotes from mango and tomato that I'll have to try: