Lets go back in time to World War II. Fish was unavailable so us Brits made SPAM fritters instead for our weekly deep fry with chips.
SPAM is canned pork luncheon meat made in the USA by Hormel, introduced in 1937. It became popular during WW II because of the difficulty in getting fresh meat to front line troops. Wherever US troops served it became popular with the locals and part of their diet.
SPAM became so deeply embedded in British culture the Monty Python team even wrote a song about it!
The billionth can of SPAM was sold in 1959, the year I was born.
In 2006 pre-packaged SPAM fritters made a return to the shops.
However, SPAM fritters are really easy to make and you can’t beat the taste of homemade beer batter.
If you fancy trying another British classic, have a look at Toad in the Hole.
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Recipe – SPAM Fritters
- 350 g Spam 1 can
- 130 g Plain Flour
- 240 ml COLD Beer
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- ¼ tsp White Pepper
- ¼ tsp Sea salt
- Oil for deep frying
- 8 slices Cheddar cheese
- Dijon mustard as needed
- Remove spam from tin (follow instructions on can, make sure it comes out whole). Place on chopping board and slice into 8 equal sized wedges. I find this easiest by halving (2), halving those halves (4), then halving each of those (8).
- Lay each wedge flat and very lightly spread with dijon mustard (not too much, just enough for the cheese to stick ~½ tsp). Lay each slice of cheese on top and firmly press down so it sticks to the spam.
- Combine flour in a bowl with baking powder, white pepper and salt. Making sure the cheese stays intact, carefully (but thoroughly) coat each fritter in flour.
- At this point pour 750ml-1litre oil in a deep pan and heat it to 180°C/356°F.
- Once all the fritters are coated in the flour pour in the COLD beer. Use a whisk to stir (don’t over beat or the bubbles with burst, some small lumps are fine). If you go OTT with the beer and it’s too thin just mix in a few pinches more flour, vice versa with the flour. Again, you want the batter as airy and cold as possible so don’t beat the hell out of it.
- Use a fork to lower the fritters into the batter, allow them to fully coat, then carefully transfer into the hot oil. Work in batches of 3-4. You want to work fairly quickly as you want the batter to be as cold and bubbly as possible.
- Once the fritters are in the oil the temp will drop, so try and keep it at a steady 180°C/356°F (increase the heat as needed). Allow them to fry for a couple of minutes, then flip and continue cooking until golden. Remove one by one and place on a wire rack with paper towels UNDERNEATH (don't place them straight on paper towels or they'll go soggy). Repeat with the second batch.
For a truly authentic experience serve your fritters with a helping of mushy peas.
I was first introduced to mushy peas while working in Manchester, North West England in the 1980s. I have to be honest, I didn’t like them then, and I still don’t.
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