Spam—not the kind you get in your mail box, but the canned pre-cooked “SPiced hAM” variety that you get from the grocery or a balikbayan box from family and friends in the US. Like everything that is processed and/or comes in a can, Spam is not a healthy food but it is nice to have once in a while. We like it sandwiched in pan de sal or “tasty” loaf bread. But we like it best with fried rice and fried eggs, a meal we call “Spam-si-log,” a portmanteau of Spam, sinangag (fried rice), and itlog (fried egg). It is great not just for breakfast, but for lunch or dinner as well. It’s a great way to not only re-use leftover rice but also stretch a can of Spam.
* Always use cold rice — hot rice makes for soggy fried rice. Day-old rice is perfect as newly cooked rice does not fry well and the grains stick together. If you’re making rice the same day, use ¼ less water than usual, spread out the cooked rice on a baking sheet, and let it dry in an airy spot in your kitchen or in the fridge.
* Make sure your wok is very hot before adding the oil; otherwise rice will stick to it. The best skillet to use is an old cast-iron wok or kawalì — seasoned by many years of use.
Spam Fried Rice
- 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
- 6 shallots peeled and minced
- 3 spring onions chopped, plus more for garnish
- ½ can Spam cut into small cubes
- 3 eggs beaten
- 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables at room temperature
- 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp. Shaoxing wine optional
- ½ tsp. patis fish sauce
- 3 cups day-old steamed rice clumps broken up so grains are loose and separate
- Heat a wok or skillet over high heat until smoke rises. Add vegetable oil and swirl it around the wok to coat the bottom evenly. Heat the oil for about 30 seconds until it becomes runny and starts to shimmer. Stir-fry garlic, shallots, spring onions, and Spam for 2 to 3 minutes, until Spam is golden brown and starting to crisp on the edges.
- Push Spam mixture onto one side of the wok. Scramble the eggs on the other side of the wok, stirring for 1 to 2 minutes, until eggs are almost done but still a little runny. Add mixed vegetables; stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes, until heated through and crisp-tender. Add soy sauce, rice wine, and fish sauce; boil on high heat for about 1 minute, or until the sauce reduces to a glaze.
- Add rice; stir-fry over high heat until all ingredients are incorporated throughout the rice. Cover and let the rice mixture sit in the wok undisturbed for about 1 minute to heat up all the grains. Toss so the rice that is on top is now on the bottom. Cover and let sit for another 1 minute. Stir-fry for about 3 more minutes, or until all grains of rice are hot and toasty.
- Garnish with spring onions. Serve hot as a meal in itself, with a side of fried egg and a cup of brewed coffee.