Hawaiian SPAM fried rice is a go to comfort food for locals living in other parts of the world. Fried rice is easy to make, with common ingredients, and tastes just like home. Don’t think you can eat SPAM? Our fried rice recipe includes tips on how to make fried rice with any meat or veggies on hand, even vegan and gluten free!
SPAM FRIED RICE VIDEO
HAWAIIAN FRIED RICE
Growing up in Hawaii, SPAM fried rice was a staple. My parents couldn’t stand SPAM, so we didn’t eat it at home. But it was a regular fixture on the school lunch menu, and available as a side at pretty much any local restaurant.
It was also the first dish to disappear at every church potluck.
As an adult in Hawaii, SPAM fried rice was my go to comfort food when bringing a meal to someone going through a hard time. I have vivid memories of various friends and acquaintances opening the container of fried rice, taking a deep breath through their nose, then sighing and clutching to their chest like a life preserver.
For those of us from the islands, we can’t really explain it. SPAM fried rice just brings us home.
HOW DO YOU MAKE FRIED RICE?
My Chinese aunties closely guarded their Chinese fried rice recipes. But I managed to sweet talk one into sharing some of her fried rice secrets with me.
- The first step is cooking your meat. You can marinate and fry up some SPAM, but you could also cook some bacon, or use leftover meat like teriyaki chicken or roasted ham. If you’re using leftover meat, no need to heat it until time to add it in. You can also skip the meat for vegetarian fried rice.
- Next scramble your eggs and remove the eggs from the pan while they’re still a bit wet. One of my auntie’s other secrets is to use a bit of sesame oil to fry your eggs in for added flavor.
- Use day old rice. I’ve had people serve me mushy fried rice and knew immediately that they had made it with fresh rice. When you fry the rice, it’s adding moisture to each grain of rice, so you need it to be a little dried out beforehand. The fridge is great for this. Whenever I’m using my rice cooker, I make a few extra cups of rice, then I just toss it in the fridge. In the next few days, I’ll make fried rice with whatever I’ve got on hand.
- let your rice rest in the HOT pan. The recipe says to heat your oil a couple minutes before adding the rice. This gets the entire surface of the pan hot enough to heat each grain of rice all the way through. But once you get the ingredients spread out in the pan, just let them sit a minute or two, flip and spread it out again and then let sit another couple minutes. This is another key to avoiding mushy fried rice.
FRIED RICE INGREDIENTS
- DAY OLD RICE! It’s really important to not use fresh rice when making fried rice. You will end up with gummy sticky rice. Make it at least a day before and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready.
- MEAT (optional): SPAM is our go to. You can also use chicken, ham, bacon, ground beef, thinly sliced stir fry beef, or shrimp.
- EGGS (optional): Scrambled eggs are traditionally a part of any fried rice, but can be skipped for a vegan fried rice recipe.
- VEGETABLES: You can really use any vegetables you want in fried rice. The traditional veggies are carrots, onions, peas, and corn. We like using red onion and red bell pepper to add color and flavor to our fried rice. We tend to eat carrots on their own so much that we don’t use them in our fried rice as often. You can also get creative with your vegetables and try using asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, or zucchini.
- SEASONING: Garlic and onion will add flavor to your fried rice, but the secret is in the sauce. I use my auntie’s recipe, with equal parts soy sauce and rice vinegar, plus a little sesame oil and a touch of sugar (or sugar substitute). The soy sauce adds great flavor and saltiness, but you might need to add a little more salt to taste before serving.
- OIL: We use sesame oil in the eggs and the sauce, but avocado oil (which has a high smoke point) for frying the rice.
MORE SPAM RECIPES
Not sure about SPAM? Well SPAM fried rice is the recipe I use for people who have never had SPAM before. It’s ready in about 20 minutes so is super easy and fast to make. Plus it’s really cheap which makes it an affordable option for a crowd. You should give it a try!
If you know you love SPAM and want some more ways to use it, here’s a few more our our very favorite SPAM recipes.
MORE FRIED RICE RECIPES
Want to get really creative? We did some research and hand picked some unique fried rice recipes for you to check out!
- Quinoa Fried Rice
- Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Fried Rice
- Chicken Teriyaki Fried Rice
- Pineapple Shrimp Fried Rice
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Hawaiian SPAM fried rice is a go to comfort food for locals living in other parts of the world. Fried rice is easy to make, with common ingredients, and tastes just like home. Feel free to sub your favorite meat or veggies, or check the notes at the end for how to make this vegan and/or gluten free.
If you would like to add leftover meat like teriyaki chicken, just skip the marinade and add the meat when you would add the cooked SPAM. You can season with soy sauce and rice vinegar to taste at the end of cooking.
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
Start with the meat by mixing the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil and sugar in a bowl. Add the chopped spam to marinate.
In another bowl, whisk the two eggs well.
Place a large frying pan or wok on a burner on high. Pour in the eggs with the sesame oil and stir continuously as they cook.
Remove eggs from the pan while still wet, before they set completely.
Separate spam from the marinade and reserve the marinade for later. Fry the spam in the pan on high, stirring occasionally until it is lightly browned. Remove from pan.
Fry the spam in the pan on high, stirring occasionally until it is lightly browned. Remove from pan.
Heat avocado oil in the pan (still on high) for a couple minutes. Add rice to the oil by crumbling it with your fingers so there aren't any large clumps.
Let the rice sit spread out in the pan for a few minutes, then flip the rice over (stirring) and let sit a few minutes more.
Stir well and add onion, garlic, pepper, peas, and corn.
Mix well again, spread out in the pan, then let sit for a minute or two. Give it another stir, spread it out again, and let it cook another two minutes.
Add eggs and spam to the rice, stir one more time to ensure everything is heated through.
Taste and add as much of the reserved marinade as desired for taste, stirring after pouring it in (I suggest no more than 1 TBS at a time). Add salt as needed to taste.
Approximate cost/serving: This a pretty cheap recipe. We buy our rice, SPAM, and seasonings in bulk which makes it even more affordable. The whole pot of fried rice costs us about $6.50 to make, I've used it to feed 8 people which means only 81 cents a serving!
Vegetarian/Gluten Free: You can definitely make vegan fried rice. Just skip the spam, eggs, and marinade. Add a little soy sauce and rice vinegar for flavor at the end. For gluten-free make sure you use gluten-free soy sauce.
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Nutritional and cost information is for estimating purposes only, and subject to variations due to region, seasonality, and product availability.