Did you know that rice is the second most widely consumed staple in the world? Not surprising when you consider that there are over 40,000 varieties growing on every continent, with the exception of Antarctica.
Asians have enjoyed fried rice for centuries. It may have been invented during the Sui dynasty in China. Most countries in Southeast Asia have their own varieties.
Rice makes a great side dish, but when you combine it with eggs and meat and throw in a few vegetables it becomes a meal in itself.
While on vacation to Chattanooga late last year, my family and I enjoyed some incredible dishes at Thai Smiles. Among them was a plate of Hawaii Fried Rice. (Don’t judge. That is how it is spelled on the online menu.)
I decided to try to re-create the dish at home. It took me three times to get come up with a recipe that is passable. I need to make another trip to Thai Smiles. For research, of course.
The original dish has chicken for the main protein source. Being that Hawaii is in the name, I thought it would be fun to use Spam instead.
Spam has been around since 1937 when Hormel introduced this new lunch meat. Between 1941-1945, Spam was shipped to our troops. It didn’t require refrigeration and it had a long shelf life. According to Spam’s website:
The true root of the island’s love for SPAM® products goes back to World War II, when the luncheon meat was served to GIs. By the end of the war, SPAM® products were adopted into local culture, with Fried SPAM® Classic and rice becoming a popular meal. The unique flavor quickly found its way into other Hawaiian cuisine, from SPAM® Fried Wontons to SPAM® Musubi , and SPAM® products became a fixture in breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
In 2004 Spam singles were introduced. (I bought this one at my local Wal-Mart.)
Back to Hawaiian Fried Rice….
For this recipe, I cube a packet of Spam. If you like a LOT of Spam, you could use an entire can.
I chop one medium-sized onion and saute it in some toasted sesame oil. I then add a couple of eggs that have been beaten with a little milk and cook them until done. Next I throw in the cubed Spam and some frozen peas and carrots and stir-fry until the veggies are no longer frozen. At this point I add the rice, stir well, and then pour the curry mixture on top. I add cashews and then stir-fry it for about 1-2 minutes.
This is what the finished product looks like.