(Original Post Date: Feb 19, 2010)
Last weekend was my friend’s bridal shower. We were asked to bring one of our best dishes to share, and a copy of the recipe for the bride-to-be. The bride-to-be was going to choose her favorite food item, and the winner to receive a special prize. I resolved to win this contest… and I decided I was going to win it using spam. Yup. Spam.
I don’t know what it is about spam that arouses so much passion. Amongst Americans, spam is kind of like a folk hero – people love to wear spam T-shirts, make jokes about spam, talk about spam… but when it comes to actually eating it… “No, thank you!” (unless you are in Hawaii). In Asia, however, spam is a culinary delight – and in Asian circles, spam is not a joke ingredient… but serious yumminess. So the night before the shower, I embarked on my spam wonton journey – and the results were surprisingly good!
At the bridal shower, after sampling the various offerings, I realized my main competition for the win was my friend Christina’s delicious Thai chicken curry (for which she substituted plain yogurt for coconut milk to add creaminess and reduce fat content). Another possible competitor… fried glass noodles with beef. Hmmm. I wasn’t sure how she was going to judge, but when my friend announced that my Spam Gyoza was her favorite – I was glad that I had followed my instincts and used spam to add flavor to the dish.
So here it is, my prize-winning recipe:
Pork & Spam Gyoza:
- 1 can of Spam Lite
- 9 oz raw pork loin (2 small pork loin chops, fat trimmed off)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 stalks green garlic (or green onion), chopped
- 8 shitake mushrooms, stems discarded, minced
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1 tsp. soy sauce
- 2 tsp. sesame oil
- 1/2 c. panko breadcrumbs
- 1 pkg. won ton skins
This recipe will make approximately 48 wontons. You may substitute green onion stalks for
the green garlic – but if you can find it, green garlic imparts a better flavor. The Spam
gives the gyoza a little extra something – I know it sounds weird, but it’s really good. According to the spam can label, it’s “crazy tasty” – and I agree.
1. Mince the garlic, shitake mushrooms, and slice the green garlic finely.
2. Roughly chop the pork loin and Spam. Dump the meat into the work bowl of a food processor, and pulse until ground into a rough paste. Add the garlic and pulse a few more times to combine.
3. Put the meat mixture into a mixing bowl, and add the green garlic, shitake mushrooms, egg, panko breadcrumbs, and all seasonings. Mix thoroughly.
4. Take a tiny spoonful of the meat mixture, and microwave for 45 – 60 seconds until cooked. Taste to check seasonings, and adjust if necessary.
5. Lay a square won ton skin in the palm of your hand, and moisten all edges with a little water, using your fingertips.
6. Fill the won ton skin square with a heaping teaspoon of the meat mixture. You don’t want to use so much meat mixture that you have a hard time sealing the gyoza… but you don’t want to use too little either – that would be a very unsatisfying bite, leaving you to wonder, “Where’s the beef?” Or in this case, “Where’s the spam?”
8. Stack the gyoza side by side on a parchment lined baking sheet until you finish. This recipe will approximately fill about 1 package of wonton skins (48 gyoza).
9. You have the option of steaming, pan frying, or deep frying your gyoza. Today, I decided to pan fry them. You will need to work in batches.
10. Heat a large wok with 1 tsp oil on medium. Place 12 gyoza into the wok and cook for 2-3 minutes until golden brown on one side. Make sure you have a large lid that will fit the pan or wok.
11. Flip the gyoza, and cook for 2-3 minutes until golden brown on the other side.
12. Add 1/4 cup of water to the center, and as the water sizzles, place the lid on top, trapping the steam in the wok. Steam the gyoza for about 1-2 minutes, until all the water has evaporated.
13. Work in 4 batches, until all the gyoza are cooked.
If you prefer to deep fry them: Heat about 3 inches of canola oil in a small pot, and when the oil is hot, drop 3-4 gyoza in at a time. Deep fry on medium heat until golden brown.