I’m sure some of you are surprised by my chosen recipe this month. Ramen? and Spam? Don’t judge a recipe by its over-processed ingredients!
Ramen is very popular here. At least a dozen different varieties can be found in any corner store. It’s a kitchen staple for many Korean households. It’s easy, fast, and much tastier than the ramen you may know from college. I guess you could say that if ramen is popular in Korea, then Spam is revered. Seriously. Spam is considered a specialty food item. About a month ago Korea celebrated Chuseok, a holiday equivalent to American Thanksgiving. During Chuseok, it is traditional to give food gift sets to friends and family. The most popular gift is Spam. I saw so many Koreans walking around with Spam gift boxes tied up with ribbons. (Read more about Spam’s popularity here.)
I have a friend who swears that cheesy ramen and Spam is the best hangover food to be found in Korea. She buys a version that has all the ingredients already included, and the chef only has to add boiling water. I was inspired by her recommendation and decided to make my own version. I tried two different types of ramen, one regular and one spicy. I choose to use extra sharp cheddar with the regular ramen and monterey jack with the spicy ramen. I think they were both winning combinations!
Cheesy Ramen & Spam (yield 2 servings)
First, open your Spam and try not to be appalled by the smell. Decide how you want to use your Spam. It is easiest to eat in bite size pieces with the ramen. You will only use about half the can for this recipe; so you can chop half for the ramen and slice the rest of it for leftover Spam sandwiches. Brown the meat in a frying pan for a few minutes. Remove from heat.
Follow the directions on the ramen box. My ramen could have been prepared in its carton; however, I chose to cook it on the stove top so I could better control how much liquid was absorbed. Both of my ramens called for 260 ml of boiling water; I simmered them in two different saucepans. Some people prefer their ramen to have more broth and resemble a soup, but for this recipe I let the ramen simmer longer than normal (about 10 minutes) so that most of the broth was absorbed.
While the ramen finished simmering, I added about 2/3 cup of chopped Spam and 1/4 cup of cheese to the regular ramen. I let the cheese melt and mixed it all together. I spooned the meal into a bowl and topped it with the remaining cheese. For the spicy ramen, I added the monterey jack cheese in the same manner, but tried Spam slices instead of chopped pieces. Jared and I agreed that the chopped pieces were much more practical.
We were both pleasantly surprised at how well the flavors blended together. The regular ramen with cheddar was my favorite out of the two. I think it would be easy to add scrambled eggs to the recipe and call it breakfast!
Is this the most exciting and gourmet recipe ever? Absolutely not. However, it was easy, delicious, and fun to experiment with! Let me know what combination you discover!