Spamsilog: Adolfo Aranjuez

This post is part of a new segment where I recreate the recipes of those around me. I am forever curious about the homecooked food my friends and family subsist on and nourish themselves with – what are their lazy day go-to meals? What do they turn to when they feel like making a splash in the kitchen? What is their definition of comfort food? I will explore these questions through my histamine-intolerant lens, but will include the original recipes for those who don’t get bloated off everything.

 What: A Filipino classic worth the garlic breath after

 Who: Rameniac i.e. Adolfo Aranjuez

 Bloat score: 2 – The belt had to be completely removed

Rameniac was part of our now disbanded ramen club and even though he pre-dates this blog’s proffering of nicknames, he actually appeared (sans nickname) in these reviews of Hakata Gensuke and Shizuku Ramen. And yes, I stole his nickname off Master of None but I think Aziz Ansari has bigger eggs to fry.

Sinangag (garlic rice) is a Filipino staple and Rameniac has it every morning for breakfast. He says you can pair it with any random meat from sausages and bacon to ham, spam or tuna but for the purposes of this blog, I made a classic Spamsilog with, you guessed it, Spam and a fried egg.

Because Rameniac is a jock, his main suggestion to “health up” the recipe is to add chopped frozen spinach (a handy freezer staple in these times) after the sautéing of the garlic. He also sprinkles chia seeds on the rice towards the end for extra health, but I didn’t follow his advice because I’m a bin of a person.

For more information about the tradition and etymology of the dish, Rameniac says:

“The meat is a separate dish, and almost always fried because Filipinos have a problematic love affair with fried food. The format of the dish is [meat] + si[nangag] + [it]log (egg). So, Spamsilog, longsilog (longganisa = sweet sausage), etc.”

I made enough rice for perhaps two small portions or one big portion, but I was hungry and ate it all at once, hence my odd serving size suggestion below.

The rice was the star of this dish – the yellow oil-speckled bits of garlic that flavoured the rice were so tasty, and I loved the pairing of Spam and fried egg. I maybe overdid it on the Spam front by frying myself five slices of it and had to chug down a few glasses of water afterward to account for their saltiness, so perhaps keep this in mind while salting your rice.

Preserved meats aren’t allowed on the low-histamine diet and Spam is perhaps the most preserved of them all, but I didn’t feel too bad after at two bloats. The garlic rice and egg is something I’d whip up again in a heartbeat alongside a more histamine-friendly meat option, but I liked this so much I made it again the next day with only three Spam slices and felt decidedly less bloated.

I’ve included Rameniac’s original instructions below, with my additional comments in italics.

Spamsilog (an original recipe by Adolfo Aranjuez)
Serves: 1 and a half

2 cups of day-old cooked rice (preferably from the fridge)
3 medium-sized cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Spam
1 egg

Using a large knife, crush the garlic cloves until the skin cracks open. Peel off the skin.

Continue crushing the cloves, then chop finely.

In a deep frypan or wok, heat up the oil on a medium flame.

Once heated, sauté the chopped garlic. Season with a pinch of salt. Continue sautéing until the garlic turns golden-yellow. (If it has turned brown, it’s too late ­– your rice will be bitter and burnt.)

If adding chopped spinach, do it now.

Cook the rice into the oil, ensuring that each rice grain is separated and coated in oil. You can use a spatula to separate the grains. Sprinkle some salt, along with a pinch of pepper.

The garlic should colour the rice. When all of the rice has turned yellowish, the Sinangag is ready.

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Once the rice is done, set it aside (it should stay warm) while you fry up the meat. If adding chia seeds for health, sprinkle them across the rice.

Slice the Spam into approximately 1–1.5cm thick slices and fry. You can choose to fry them until they’re super crispy, or just until the edges are crispy but the middle is soft. But defs fry both sides.

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I go for the latter, so I use a high flame and just fry for just a few minutes. If you want super crispy Spam, fry on a medium high-flame for longer. (I went for super crispy Spam and once mine had fried up, I placed them on paper towels to absorb the excess oil.)

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After you fry your spam, fry your egg to your liking. (I like mine slightly overdone, so I flipped mine and fried it on both sides.)

Serve your garlic rice alongside your fried Spam and egg.

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Author: Sonia Nair

Sonia Nair is a Melbourne-based food writer who persists with her love of everything deep fried and spicy, despite being diagnosed with a histamine intolerance and lactose intolerance after incorrectly thinking she was fructose-intolerant for several years.

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