kruizing with kikukat

Monday, February 22, 2016

Okazuya Food: Eggplant and Spam Tempura

Once again, the short week did me in.  I just cannot seem to get my act together.  And being pulled out for one of those four days didn't help.  I need to pull up my big girl panties because I will be out two days this week. 

I spent a few hours on Saturday at a band festival.  I am so NOT a band person.  The hook to getting people there was all-you-can-eat hot dogs.  Red hot dogs.  Hilo kine.  Anyone from Hilo knows exactly what I mean.  Always a step behind, I ended up buying all ten tickets D2 had to sell.  Fortunately, I had a few hungry friends (ollieMama and her crew and The Keeper) who were willing to give up a few hours on Saturday to eat hot dogs and listen to adolescent band kids perform.  KikukatMom and KikukatDad were also in the house.  I thing the band made $ off of us.  Nobody ate more than two hot dogs.  Oh wait.  I think The Help ate three five.

The band festival was in the gym at the high school down the road.  KikukatDad almost died there when a lady with horrific body odor sat by him.  He HAD to move.  How could the lady not realize she stinks?  How could the people with her allow her to get so stink?  This wasn't an old person. . .40-something.  No excuse.  And people sitting rows above could smell her too.

After the band festival, D2 had a few friends over.  They spent the afternoon and part of the evening hanging out.  I thought they might play in the pool, but the afternoon was overcast so nobody went in the water.

Believe it or not, I had a goal for the weekend.  The goal was to eat some poke.  Several times this week, I passed a sign outside of WikiWiki Mart advertising fresh poke.  It was a reminder that I haven't had my favorite poke in a while. . ."mixed plate" poke from Suisan.  I meant to get a half-pound of it this weekend, but by the time I was able to get to Suisan, there was hardly anything left.  I ended up with a half-pound of wasabi salmon poke (this is probably the only time I eat a lick of wasabi, and it's only because I can't taste any wasabi in the salmon poke), which I planned to have for dinner.

But on the way home, I didn't feel much like cooking, so The Help suggested we go out for dinner.  I'm not sure why he suggested it, but thirty minutes later, we found ourselves headed to Noodle Club in Waimea.  Yummm.  The bao buns are a no-miss.  The KFC (Korean Fried Chicken, which is not the Korean chicken I posted the other week) was a winner too.  In fact, I'm going to be attempting a copycat version of it with some homemade kochujang. . .when I'm done with all of my other projects.

After all that feasting, I turned to something simpler for Sunday, eggplant and Spam tempura.  This is something KikukatMom cooked occasionally.  Aunty Mo, my friend Colleen's mom also made it.  I see it occasionally at Hilo Lunch Shop, but I stopped buying it after I had a few bitter eggplant ones.  I even saw it at some small okazuya in Honolulu (located on a side street near one of the Kim Chee restaurants between Makiki and McKinley High School).  I have no idea where The Help has been all these years, but he thought I invented this dish.  He was skeptical of my "creativity", but he ended up eating mound of these.

I tried cutting the Spam two different ways:  as coins (Hilo Lunch Shop and KikukatMom style) and as logs (Aunty Mo style).  I think I prefer it cut as coins, but the coins only work if the eggplant has a certain diameter (1-1/2 inches or more).  Skinny eggplants should be cut as logs.  As with all fried foods, leftovers should be reheated in a toaster oven.

 click on recipe title for printable recipe

     4 long eggplant
     1/2-1 can Spam
     1 c flour
     2 tsp baking powder
     1/4 tsp salt
     1 c cold water
     oil for frying

Slice long eggplant into 1 1/2" slices (same as width of a piece of Spam).  Eggplant can also be sliced into coins, 3/4-1" thick.  Cut through middle of eggplant, but do not cut all the way through.  Slice Spam into 1/4" thick slices.  Cut Spam to fit into slits made in eggplant.  Set aside.  Heat 1 - 1 1/2" of oil to 375 degrees.  Sift flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add cold water and mix gently.  Dip Spam/eggplant pieces into batter and fry until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.

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