October 19, 2019

Crispy Spam Hand Rolls

Crispy Spam Hand Rolls

Hand rolls filled with thin crispy Spam fries, sweet Japanese pickles, and decadent salmon roe.

Once again, I’m doing something with Spam. For those who have never had this canned meat, it’s basically a pork luncheon meat made into a block. Okay, so it doesn’t sound that appealing, but it is very popular in Hawaii. I grew up with it, as did probably every household there. And fact checking tells me that Guam…a tiny island…is probably the Spam capital of the world, having the greatest consumption of this meat.

Lately, Spam has been advertising on TV. That’s a first! Spam tacos? Maybe it’s becoming popular? I do know that there is a Spam Cook Off with grand prizes in various categories. Maybe I should enter it this year.

In my recipe log, you’ll find Spam BLT Sliders. As you can guess, I fry thin slices of Spam in place of bacon. This time, I’m frying thin sticks of Spam that look like shoe string French fries and putting them in sushi hand rolls. Like ham, Spam gets a bit saltier when it’s fried, so the namasu…sweet Japanese cucumber pickles…and the somewhat sweet sushi rice balances it out.  Maybe I should enter this in the Spam Cook Off. The appetizer category?

Crispy Spam Hand Rolls

Makes a dozen

  • 3 cups of cooked medium grain rice
  • ¾ cup Japanese vinegar (not seasoned variety)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 to 2 Persian cucumbers
  • ¼ cup of mayo
  • 2 tsp. Sriracha sauce
  • 1 can of regular Spam
  • Oil for frying
  • Salmon roe
  • 6 pieces of nori sheets
  • Optional: prepared wasabi

While the rice is cooking, combine the vinegar, sugar, and dash of salt. Stir to dissolve, or warm lightly in microwave. Cool completely if microwaved.

Cut the cucumber into 48 one-eighth inch slices. Place in a bowl with half of the vinegar solution. Set aside to marinate.

Mix the mayo and Sriracha sauce and set aside. You can add more Sriracha if you like it hot.

When the rice has cooled down, but still warm, sprinkle a tablespoon of the reserved vinegar solution on it, and toss to combine. After the second tablespoon, give it a taste. Some people like it lightly seasoned, others prefer more seasoning. My family prefers the latter. Cover the seasoned rice and set aside. Also set aside the remaining vinegar solution for assembling.

Lay the Spam block on its side and slice off a one-fourth inch piece from the top. Then cut it length-wise into eight strips. Do this until you have thirty-six sticks. Fry in hot oil until browned, but center is still soft. Note: the pieces will get stuck to each other in the hot oil, so only do a few at a time, moving them to stay apart. Cool on paper towel.

Cut the nori sheets in half across the width. Drain the cucumbers and start to assemble.

Lay the longer edge of nori, shiny side down, in front of you. Put about a quarter cup of rice on the left side. Lightly dampen two fingers with the reserved vinegar solution to spread evenly.  Spread a swipe of the mayo mixture diagonally to the left. (Or prepared wasabi). Lay two slices of cucumber, then three sticks of Spam in staggered lengths, following the mayo stripe.

Starting with the riced side, roll diagonally into a cone, holding the ingredients in place until it’s secure. When you get to the end, dampen the edge with vinegar, so the nori will stick and hold.

Nestle two more slices of cucumber on top in between the Spam sticks and top with salmon roe.

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