It was clean-out-the-refrigerator day, so I found odds and ends of leftovers and transformed them to this Kimchi Fried Rice with Spam. This was an original recipe by my son, Tim Quirino. I was having a quiet moment, thinking of my two sons and missing them. Like many, we are all sheltering in place and avoiding travel due to the coronavirus. My grown sons live and work in different cities. Tim was home for a long stay, Christmas last year, pre-pandemic. What a different time that was.
Well, today, in my New Jersey kitchen, I recreated what Tim cooked for brunch then. I have to warn you. This is a fiery, and explosive dish. The fried rice base or classic Filipino sinangag jump starts your energy. I tossed in the spicy notes as the garlic and onions sizzled in the skillet. The salty slivers of Spam complemented the textures of the leafy, hot Kimchi and thick paste of Gochujang. Mix it all together and you have a piquant, tangy, sort of peppery rice dish with a slight sweetness. But these are the very strong, sharp flavors that nudge you into getting on with your day.
Most of us have not seen family for months. Filipinos are not used to this. Ours are now confined to online Zoom meetings, group texts, chats online, daily messages, shared photos on Facebook. It is not easy. But it is not hard either. We have technology, smart phones, and social media that reach family in the Philippines. Then there are the old fashioned ways of phone calls or mailing hand-written letters. The important thing is, we stay connected to our life line – family, friends and those we hold dear. It’s the best we can do right now. That, and a big, bowl of this well-seasoned, sharp and flavorful Kimchi Fried Rice.
Kimchi Fried Rice with Spam
- large skillet or wok
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 to 4 slices canned Spam
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ of a whole onion, diced
- 2 stalks scallion whites, chopped
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 Tablespoons chopped Kimchi
- 3 cups cooked white rice, at least 1 day old, must be refrigerated
- 1 Tablespoon melted butter
- 1 Tablespoon Gochujang
- ⅛ teaspoon sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 stalks scallion greens, chopped for garnish
- ½ Tablespoon sesame seeds for garnish
- 2 to 3 whole eggs, sunny-side up
- Add oil to the skillet or wok. Over high heat, pan fry the Spam slices for 3 to 4 minutes till brown. Remove from skillet. Place on parchment paper or paper towels to remove excess grease. Cut into cubes and set aside.
- Using the same skillet, with the same oil over high heat, saute the garlic, onions, and scallion whites. Sprinkle the salt and stir ingredients.Add the chopped Kimchi and mix well.Then add the cooked rice and blend with the ingredients.
- In a small bowl, combine the melted butter and Gochujang paste. Blend till smooth.Pour this into the skillet with the cooked rice. Return the Spam cubes to the rice mixture. Mix all ingredients well.Season with sesame oil and black pepper.Garnish with scallion greens and sesame seeds. Serve warm with a side of eggs, sunny-side up.
- Kimchi is Korean pickled Chinese cabbage. It has sour, sweet and spicy flavors. It has Korean green chilies, ginger, garlic, scallions, Korean red pepper powder, sugar. Some kimchi are made of radish. This is prepared with spices and condiments and sits in jars for at least a week or longer. Bottled kimchi can be purchased at Asian or Korean markets or online sources.Gochujang is a Korean red chili paste. It has savory, sweet and spicy flavors. This is a fermented condiment which contains chili powder, glutinous rice, salt and other Korean spice seasonings. It is a basic ingredient used in most Korean cooking. This is a thick, reddish paste and usually sold in plastic tubs. Find Gochujang in Asian or Korean markets and online.
Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
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