Category Archives: foodporn

Kotonk Chow Fan // Spam Fried Rice

Beware of Hawaiians. They will laugh at your “mainlander” accent. They thought I talked funny because I am a kotonk. I speak native Californian! Meanwhile, they spoke pidgin. Who’s right? Ah, when in Rome…do as the Romans do. And in Hawaii, that means, fall in love with Spam. From the Honolulu Star-Bulletin:

Hawaii residents consume nearly 7 million cans of Spam a year, an average of about six cans for every man, woman and child.

Not a fan of spam musubi (mandatory for Hawaiian residency). But, I do love it in my fried rice, as do many Hawaiians. Putting spam in your fried rice is a modern nod to the more traditional char siu. Plus – spam costs a lot less!

Kotonk Fried Rice

  • 3 cups of cooked, refrigerated Japanese rice;
  • 1/4 of a full container of Spam (thanks mapgirl!) ham / other savory meat-like thing;
  • 4 green onions, sliced moderately thin;
  • 2 eggs, beaten like they owe you money;
  • salt and pepper – be generous!

Use your favorite skillet – for this, I used a cast iron pan. I like to start off by frying the Spam. Then, add the rice – use your spatula vigorously! Add vegetable oil whenever necessary. Ideally, you would scramble the eggs separately, but, let’s not get too crazy here. Add the green onions when the rice is hot and the eggs are scrambled. These will wilt in a matter of seconds. You are done! Season with plenty of salt and pepper!

(My mis en place…well…minus the rice, salt, pepper and vegetable oil for frying…)

(action shot of beating the eggs)

(plated, just for you!)

P.S. I’m going to have to do the price calculations later. But, I think this is quite inexpensive to prepare! I think 1/4 of a container of Spam is going to work out to less than $1.00.

Luxurious, Lazy and Thrifty – Poached Eggs

If you have a little vinegar, and a small pot, you can have the most glorious poached eggs. Do you need silky golden yolk slipping away from a firm white? Don’t get me started!

Poaching away. Happily.

Adorned with a stripe of salt and black pepper.

Digging in!!!

Lately, I have been thinking about lowering my fat intake by just a little bit. Having fried eggs all the time is no path to glory. So I thought I might try poaching eggs instead. Many many ugly eggs later, victims of my experiments, I realized I needed perhaps to actually learn how people do it. I got a serious bee in my bonnet after fixating on …Lisa’s… eat, drink and be a fat bastard photostream on Flickr, where she displays her first proper set of poached eggs. I was totally inspired! After a few more tries, I feel like I have it down to a science!*

Poached Eggs

  • 2 eggs; (about $.16)
  • water in a pot, enough to cover the eggs by 1/2″ or so – about 2 cups;
  • 1 tablespoon of vinegar (the very cheapest distilled or apple cider is fine – mere pennies, if at all).

Bring the water to a boil. Shut off the heat. Wait until the bubbles stop. Add the vinegar. Crack each egg carefully and slip them in. Wait about 5 minutes, if you like them a teensy bit runny (as I do). Fish them out of the pot with a flat spatula. If you have some roasted garlic or garlic butter lying about, drop a teaspoon or two on the eggs. I like my poached eggs with some pita bread (about $.10 per pita) – costs less if you use regular bread (shown above with a toasted white roll). Lot of goodness for less than fifty cents. Enjoy!!!

*With practice, it’s totally multi-tasking friendly. For example, the other day, I started the water, made a short phone call, checked email, plopped in the eggs. I was done with the eggs at the end of the call!

Canned Fish is a Superstar II: Spinach & Sprats Fried Rice

Comfort is the ultimate expression of love. Or perhaps laziness? Maybe that is why I adore fried rice. Comfy and lovely. So easy, so cheap, so good! So tolerant of whatever you might happen to have around the fridge. Or in the case of canned fish, whatever is in your pantry.

Part II in a series of posts about the wonders of canned fish.

I usually like to use smoked pork products – like sausage or bacon (or even…gasp…SPAM! one of my secret loves). Smoked pork is my nod to the char siu traditionally found in fried rice . But this time, in the interest of advancing the culinary arts, I thought I’d try some smoked sprats. This brand, unlike the Riga canned sprats, have no tartness or sour sparkle to them. Instead, they have an unadulterated smoky sprat flavor. Whoa Nelly! That is some real fish. I wondered how the smokiness and fishiness would hold up in a fried rice dish. And would spinach’s earthiness do combat with the fish? Only one way to find out!

Spinach and Sprats Fried Rice

  • 2 cups of leftover rice, still chilled from refrigeration (used white Homai rice from the beloved Costco for $9.00/25 lbs);
  • 2 loose cups of fresh spinach, chopped (I’m sure frozen would work fine too, if you squeezed out the excess water);
  • 2 jumbo eggs;
  • 1 cup of chopped onion (about two smallish yellow ones);
  • cheese as garnish (Kraft Parmesan worked nicely for me);
  • salt; and
  • copious amounts of black pepper.

My fried rice is pretty informal. In an ideal world, maybe you scramble the eggs first, then add them back to the rice mixture. That’s probably what I should have done, but the results were fine without that step. Heat up the cast iron skillet, to almost smoking hot. Lower to medium high. Add the vegetable oil. Throw in the onions. Then add the rice and use the spatula furiously – folding, folding, folding. Beat the eggs, then throw them in. Scramble wildly. Loosely chop the sprats. Throw them in. Fold in the spinach. Sprinkle salt generously, after tasting. Load up the rice with as much black pepper as you can stand. Garnish with cheese. Yes, I know this is not traditional. Serve with a flourish. Wait for adulation – it will arrive! I received compliments, just a warning!

Gung Hay Fat Choy! Year of the Rat! Xiao Long Bao and more

Gratuitous food porn. From New Year’s Day lunch. That’s all. Just drool :-).

Here’s some xiao long bao. The World Foodie blog also has a nice explanation of the dish.

And some green onion pancakes, cong you bing.

Of course, wok fried pork spare ribs, piquat.

Beef tendon noodles. Noodles = = longevity.

And a picture of the cooks. Just because the kitchen has only glass separating diners from them. I think they are handling fish fillets.

Taking corn soup beyond the package


It’s easy to prettify a 32 oz package of soup. The Pacific Natural Foods Buttery Sweet Corn soup was only $1.00 at some food outlet.

Minced two stalks of celery. Had some sauteed onions in the fridge, so threw in 1/2 cup of that. Found a stray sweet potato. Wrapped it in some cling film and nuked it for about 6 minutes. Chopped up that sweet potato – kept the skin on because it adds a nice color. Served the soup piping hot, and encouraged diners to drop a little square of Tillamook Cheddar in the soup. Many happy eaters! The additions here help dilute the serious sweetness of the soup.

Junk food, and the salvation of Turkey Jook (a.k.a., rice porridge, xifan, congee, juk, okayu)

Question: is it wise to eat pizza, chocolate-covered rice crispy bars, spicy blue corn chips and other junk food exemplars for days and days on end…even if you feel like being lazy? Answer: No! My concern for all I’ve ingested leads me to attempt some salvation. Traditionally restorative, I am hoping that six thousand years of tradition in jook will come to my aid. To that end, I made a brown rice version for the first time. (I’m no stranger to white rice jook.)

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