Starch Water Spam Luncheon Meat

Yields: 1 Serving Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 10 Mins Cook Time: 45 Mins Total Time: 55 Mins

Do you WTF? If you WTF, then you will have an incredible excess of starch water to make this starch water spam. If you are asking, “wtf is WTF?” Let me explain. WTF or Wash The Flour is a method of making seitan or mock meat with flour. Find out more about WTF seitan at the Seitan Society website. Because many people who make their own seitan at home are also very concerned with food waste, there have been a large number of new recipes for the starch water (or spawn) that is left from WTF.

To be honest, this starch water spam recipe came about from a failed spawn cheese. But I’ve been so enamoured with this spam that I haven’t tried to make cheese since! This spam is firm enough to slice cleanly and fries up really nicely. I’ve been using it in noodle soups like Budae Jjigae (Korean Army Stew) and also with cooked breakfasts.

The recipe is pretty straightforward, just mix everything together well, emulsify the oil, then steam it. Because we use agar-agar powder, make sure you cool it after steaming, and let it rest in the fridge for at least a couple of hours. I like to leave it overnight so it sets really well.

This recipe made 3 cans of spawn spam. Feel free to customise it to suit your palate! I actually find the salty porky taste a little bit gross so I didn’t season it too heavily.


  • This recipe uses spawn, the thick white part of starch water. To get the most spawn, I leave my starch water in the fridge overnight so the layers are very distinct. Then very slowly pour out the clear liquid on the top. The leftover clear liquid should only be a small amount (approx. 5% of the total).
  • If you want a Maling taste instead of a Spam taste, add five-spice powder.
  • If you want a proper oily spam mouthfeel, increase the oil to 3/4 cup instead of 1/2 cup.
  • Oil the inside of the steaming vessel for easier removal later.
  • Make sure you only fill 80% as that spam will grow when steamed! (It gets smaller again later. Science is weird.)


  • SPAM TOO SOFT – Try adding more agar powder. Or perhaps there was too much water in your spawn to start, try to drain more out.
  • SPAM TOO HARD – Some agar powders are mixed with carrageenan, which sets harder. If so, reduce the amount of agar powder next time!
  • For carrageenan instead of agar powder, you can halve the amount (so 3 tbsp instead of 6 tbsp).
  • If you use “gulaman powder”, check the ingredients. Some are pure carrageenan, some are pure agar, and some are mixed. If it just says “seaweed powder” then you will need to do a test batch to find out how much to add.

Don’t do WTF but make your own soy milk or tofu? Check out my Vegan Okara Spam Luncheon Meat recipe instead.

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0/12 Ingredients
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0/8 Instructions
  • This is pretty much the consistency of the spawn, like wet paint. Most of the clear water has been drained out, leaving about 5%. water.
  • If you run a spoon through it and tip the spawn out, there should still be a sticky layer on the spoon.
  • Mix everything except the oil together in a blender or by whisking thoroughly.
  • Slowly add the oil in while whisking in one direction until the oil is well incorporated.
  • Fill a container up to 80%, cover with foil, and steam for 60 minutes. If you are using a metal can, oil the sides beforehand.
  • After steaming, leave to cool on the steam rack for another 30 minutes. Then cool to room temperature and rest overnight in the fridge.
  • To get the intact spam out of a can, use a can cutter and cut the other end, and then squeeze the can and push from the bottom side. It should just slide out.
  • They should be happy and solid and not disintegrate when fried.


    1. Hey Chris, it’s pretty much 95% spawn and 5% residual water. Kind of the consistency of wet paint. To get the intact spam out of a can, use a can cutter and cut the other end and then squeeze and wiggle the can a bit. You can also oil the container before pouring the liquid. I’m going to add that into the steps now, and I will add an image of the starch water the next time I make this again.

  1. What is the consistency of this supposed to be? I tried following it and ended up with something between like a jello and a loose, fresh mozzarella. It’s not bad, although when I tried to sear/fry a slice, it pretty much just melted back into a near-liquid state.

    1. Hey Jack, it’s definitely supposed to be firmer than that, and should be able to be fried very well on both sides without disintegration. I’ve had some other feedback with varying levels of solidity, so I’m beginning to think that not all agar powders are the same. Try it with double the amount of agar powder and see how you go? I’ll post a couple of pics today.

      1. Agar is what melts, so I kind a doubt increasing that would fix the problem. I’ll try again with just 2 cups of starch water and no other milk/liquid to see how it goes.

    1. Hi! Are you trying to make it gluten-free? Rice starch may work but I suspect you will need to make it quite thick. In my experience rice starch works best with something else in the mix such as okara or grated radish. Potato starch I haven’t tried so I can’t say. If you are trying to make it gluten-free, I have a g/f okara spam recipe here: Let us know how you go with your experiments!

  2. This looks so good I want to try it but another starch water be used ? Like mung bean starch, glutenous rice starch or potato starch or lentil starch ?? There are so many but could it be done ?

    1. I’ve not tried it but let me know if you do! Glutinous rice or tapioca starch will be too sticky I think. But the ordinary rice or mung bean starch may work.

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