Saturday, 22 September 2012

Confessions Of a Spam-a-holic - Sweet And Sour Spam

Most people are not fans of SPAM but then I'm not most people. So here I am, making this declaration of my love for the one and only SPAM - the brow-raising inducing delicacy. Ok, so it may not be the most trendy ingredients around. It has survived a world war and has long been associated with rationing and peasant food and it is precisely this reason that many would raise their nose and snigger at the very thought of consuming this in any shape or form. But to me, it conjures up fond  childhood memories. 

Spam has always been a stable diet as I was growing up, featured in lots of my childhood dishes. There were the mandatory pan-fried spam slices on top of the instant noodle or what we simply called the Maggi Mee (the name of the famous ubiquitous brand). Along with these will be some blanched vegetables and a fried egg to turn this humdrum snack into a complete meal.

Sometimes my mum would use chopped up pieces of spam and these will be fried with beaten eggs for a simple dish to be added to wonderful arrays of delightful dishes on our dining table. Even leftover cold rice would be stir-fried with spam and transformed into a delicious, comforting Spam fried rice, plonked with a massive dollop of chilli sauce (like) or ketchup (dislike). And also, there's the school packed lunch stable, Spam sandwich. Yum! Yum!

Then there was this, the ever reliable Sweet and sour spam. This is basically a variation on the famous Gou Lao Yuk or Cantonese Sweet and sour pork that you will find in many Chinese restaurants and takeaways.  This is very common dish in many Singapore and Malaysia household and so I thought I will share this recipe . Maybe this might not be as high brow as a lot of other dishes but this humble food is something that I will always prepare for myself whenever I feel that bit nostalgic, regardless of what reaction it may provoke. So bring on the Spam I say (but please, not the unsolicited kind).

Ingredients (Serves 2 - 4)

200g spam, cut into bite-size chunks
1 large potato, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks (same size as the spam)
1 green pepper, cut into chunks
1 red onions, cut into chunks
1 large red chilli, cut into rings
2 garlic gloves, crushed
1 tbsp chopped ginger
5 tbsp peanut or vegetable oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the sauce:
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp tomato sauce
1 tsp tomato puree
3 tbsp water
1 tsp sugar


Mix all the ingredients for the sauce together in a bowl and set aside.

Heat some oil  in a wok and pan fry the spam until browned on all sides. Remove and drain on some kitchen paper.

Next, pan fry the potato until browned on all sides. Remove and drain on some kitchen paper.

Pour away all but 2 tablespoon of oil in the wok and heat over high heat until smoking. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and stir-fry for about 30 seconds, until fragrant

Add the spam, potato and cook for 3 minutes before adding the green pepper, red onion and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add the sweet and sour sauce and mix well to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately with a bowl of steamed rice.

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