Spam Musubi

Spam apps

This isn’t so much a project as a snack item I make every now and then, but which makes a great party contribution so I thought it was worth posting about for others.

Spam musubi is an extremely popular snack in Hawaii, where Japanese and American traditions collide and meld in some really delicious ways. A friend of mine took a trip there a few years ago and brought back this mold made specially for Spam musubi. It’s such a great tool! You can get your own here for a pittance.

spam mold

To make your musubi, you’ll need the following;

About 5-6 cups of warm, cooked rice (short or medium grain is best, whatever you’d use for sushi)

5 sheets of dried nori (seaweed, you can find it in the “international” section of any grocery store)

1 can of your favorite Spam (I use Spam Lite)

1/4 c soy sauce

2 tablespoons sugar

Japanese furikake seasoning (optional, I use the wasabi-flavored stuff)

Slice your Spam into 10 long slices, cutting horizontally across the block.

spam sliced

In a nonstick frying pan, fry the Spam over medium-high heat on both sides until it’s lightly browned.

Mix the soy sauce and sugar together until the sugar is dissolved. Pour the mixture over the fried Spam and let it bubble up, turning the Spam slices so they’re completely coated.

spam frying

Once the mixture has thickened into a glaze and there’s no liquid left, remove the pan from the heat and let the Spam cool slightly.

spam glaze

Cut your nori slices in half to make long rectangles.

spam nori

To assemble, lay out a rectangle of nori on a plate or cutting board. Dip the musubi mold in water and place it in the center of the nori. Take 1/4 cup of rice and press it into the bottom of the mold.

If desired, sprinkle the rice with furikake seasoning. Lay one slice of Spam onto the rice, then press another 1/4 cup of rice over the Spam.

Using the press, hold the entire stack down while lifting the mold away from the musubi. Fold the nori up and around your stack of rice and Spam, and seal the edges with water. Repeat with the 9 remaining slices of Spam.

spam process

if I’m not going to eat them immediately I wrap the finished musubi in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to a week, microwaving them (wrapped) until heated through before eating– otherwise the rice is hard and not really edible. After they’re warmed you can carry them around for snacking at room temperature– it’s just the crystallization from the fridge that makes them hard. I’ve used these as portable lunches frequently. You can also slice them like sushi rolls and serve them as finger food at parties. If you’re going to do that, it’s best to make them fresh so the nori doesn’t get too soggy– the heat from the rice really wilts the nori quickly.

Tips:

1. Freshly cooked rice is best here– rice that’s dried out won’t stick together as well when you assemble your musubi.

2. Definitely wet the mold frequently or the rice will stick.

3. There are a lot of different types of Spam available– like I said, I use Spam Lite, but Low-Sodium might also be a good idea. I’ve also seen black pepper-flavored Spam, which sounds tasty.

4. Feel free to use a squirt of Sriracha or other flavoring in your soy-sugar glaze. Just make sure you have soy sauce (for flavor) and sugar (for flavor and texture) as a base.

5. As you can see, this recipe makes 10 musubi. You can probably get 4-5 slices out of each for finger food, so one batch will make a decent-sized plate for a party.

6. I’ve also made these on plastic wrap instead of nori- then I just wrap them tightly and freeze them while still warm. When I’m ready to eat, I just heat them and then wrap in fresh nori.

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