The first time I made this dish I got the greatest compliment from my youngest son. He said, “Oh. It tastes like real Chinese food.”
If you’ve done much cooking with stored food, you know that food storage meals can be hit and miss sometimes. I’m the first to admit it. Some of the stuff I try turns out absolutely terrible. Every now and then though, I get a big hit. This is one of the biggest. SPAM in this recipe doesn’t taste like SPAM, it tastes like Chinese pork. It’s perfect for this complex blend of spicy hot, smokey, savory, sour and sweet flavors. Put the bomb in your bomb shelter with Szechuan SPAM.
This recipe takes less than 30-minutes to prepare. Less than 20-minutes if you’ve made it before. Before you start it though, put on a pot of rice to cook. I use 2-cups of white rice cooked in 4-cups of water to accompany it. If you want pudding for dessert, prepare it before starting the rice. Canned peaches can be opened up just before serving dinner.
For a gluten-free, dairy-free meal be sure to use gluten-free soy sauce. If you’re serving pudding for dessert prepare conventional cooked cornstarch pudding, using soymilk instead of dairy milk.
- 2 or 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 (12-ounce) can SPAM, cut into small strips
- 1 large onion, chopped OR 2 to 3 tablespoons dry onions
- 1 (8-ounce) can mushrooms
- 1 (15-ounce) can French style green beans OR cut green beans
- 1 (8-ounce) can water chestnuts
- 1 (15-ounce) can baby corn
- 1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red peppers OR 8 ounces of pimento
- 1/4 to 1/2-teaspoon red pepper flakes OR ground red pepper
- 1/2-teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1-1/2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil (optional)
Before you start cooking do all of your prep-work first. Pour the oil into a large or deep skillet or pot. Set it aside.
Slice the SPAM into thin slices. Stack the slices and cut them into strips.
If you have a fresh onion peel it. Cut it in half and then slice into half-moons. Use your fingers to break it into many pieces. If you’re using dried onion then measure it and set it aside.
Drain the mushrooms and green beans, saving the liquid in a measuring cup. Add enough water to equal 1-1/2 cups.
Drain the water chestnuts, baby corn and red peppers. Rinse well if possible. Cut the red peppers into thin strips. Set the vegetables aside.
Measure the red pepper flakes, garlic powder and sugar into a small dish or cup. Set aside.
In a small bowl or cup combine the vinegar, soy sauce and cornstarch. Stir until the cornstarch dissolves in the liquid. Set aside.
Get out the sesame oil if you’re using.
Now it’s time to do the cooking. Heat the oil in the large skillet or pot over medium-high or high heat. Add the SPAM. Stir-fry for about 5-minutes, or until it’s somewhat browned. Add fresh onion if you’re using is. If you’re using dry onion, then wait to add it with the sugar, garlic and hot pepper.
Fry the onion and SPAM for 3-minutes or until the onion is hot and beginning to become tender. Add the mushrooms. Stir-fry for a couple of minutes, or until it dries out a little bit. This improves the texture of mushroom in the finished dish.
Next add the remaining vegetables and the sugar, garlic, hot pepper and dry onion (if you’re using it). Pour in the water. Bring the mixture to a boil. Stir in the cornstarch mixture. Simmer for 1-minute, or until thick. Measure the sesame oil if you have any. Add it to the skillet and stir it all until evenly mixed. Serve over rice.
To make a meal serve something cooling such as peaches or fruit cocktail. I like a simple vanilla pudding as dessert to cleanse the palate after the spice of this dish.