Spam musubi is one of those quintessential Hawaiian foods, like kalua pig and lomi lomi salmon. Nowhere else in the world has something quite like the Spam musubi. Based on the Japanese snack food called onigiri, the Hawaiians melded it with their love of Spam to form this perfect, one-handed meal-to-go.
I love Spam musubi. So do a lot of our friends, though they (like most Mainlanders) started out with an aversion to Spam. “SPAM?!” they’d exclaim as they crinkled their noses, “why would anyone ever want to eat SPAM?
Let me tell you, a spam musubi is the perfect meal. You’ve got meat, vegetable (seaweed), and starch. You’ve got fat, protein, and carbohydrates. You’ve got salty, sweet, slightly bitter (seaweed again) and umami (but no sour – a musubi doesn’t have rice vinegar like sushi). What more could you ask for?
I’m gonna share with you some secrets to making Spam musubi, so that you, too can enjoy this perfect, Hawaiian meal.
Spam Musubi Recipe
Ingredients:1 can SPAM (REGULAR SPAM, not low fat, turkey, no flavor SPAM!)6 cups cooked rice2 tbsp shoyu (“soy sauce” for you Mainlanders)2 tbsp sugar4 sheets norifurikake (optional)
Step 1: get a pot of rice steaming. SECRET #1: For Spam musubi, you want to use short grain rice. It’s stickier and holds together better than medium grain or jasmine rice. Don’t even think about using brown basmati; Spam musubi is NOT health food!
Step 2: Open can of Spam, plop the Spam on to the cutting board, and slice it lengthwise into 7 or 8 slices, depending on how much Spam you like on each musubi. SECRET #2: Don’t cut it too thinly, or else the rice-to-Spam ratio will be too much. Balance, young grasshopper.
Step 3: Heat a frying pan over medium heat. You don’t need oil – there’s plenty of oil already in the Spam (unless you’ve ignored my first instruction and used low-fat Spam; If you’re using low-fat Spam…might as well forget it, Cuz. Da buggah not goin’ taste good, li’dat!). Lay as many slices of Spam as can fit on the bottom of the pan. Lightly drip a couple of drops of shoyu on each slice, then lightly sprinkle a litte sugar on top of each slice. Immediately flip and repeat the shoyu and sugar topping on the other side.
Step 4: Fry each side for about two minutes. SECRET #3: You want to fry until you get caramelization of the shoyu and sugar, but not so much that the slice gets crispy and dried out.
Remove the caramelized Spam from the pan and set aside. We’re almost ready to wrap.
Next, I wanna talk about nori, the stuff you wrap the Spam musubi with. But this post is gettin’ kinda long, so we’ll continue with more secrets to making Spam musubi in Part 2.