Spam, that strange meat loaf from a can, has become so popular in Hawaii that they actually keep it in locked shelving at the grocery store. It is no surprise that the beloved meat has found its way to the top of a musubi.
Musubi comes from the Japanese rice ball snack omusubi and was created and popularized by a local Japanese woman, Barbara Funamura.
Try this easy-to-follow, fun-to-make recipe provided by our own Rebecca Sabalones to see what all the excitement is about.
(Makes 8-10 servings)
Cooking time: 40 min
2 cups calrose or short-grain rice
2 cups water
1 can SPAM
10 half sheets of toasted seaweed paper
2 tablespoons furikake seasoning (optional)
1 teaspoon macadamia nut oil (or veg. oil)
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup rice vinegar or white vinegar
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (optional)
Cook rice using a rice cooker or pot. Rice should be slightly sticky and have a bite without being too hard. Hint: Use the finger method to make perfect rice every time.
Cut SPAM long-ways into ¼ inch slices (should end up with 8-10 slices). Fry spam in a nonstick frying pan and brown on both sides. Set fried spam aside and keep fat in pan.
In the same pan, combine oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and toasted sesame seeds and boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce until sauce starts sticking to spoon.
Once sauce is thickened, add spam back in pan and coat with sauce. Take off heat.
While rice is still hot, distribute rice evenly into musubi maker or into a 9 X 13 inch cake pan.
Compress the rice with musubi maker or spatula so the rice sticks together (rice thickness should be close to double spam thickness, depending on your preference).
Sprinkle with desired amount of furikake and a small drizzle of the extra sauce.
Add a slices of spam in a row on top of rice and compress again. Cut rice and remove from pan or just remove from musubi maker and wrap seaweed around middle of musubi. Continue process until all are finished.
Optional: Add a piece of cooked egg on top of spam before wrapping with seaweed. Yum!
Enjoy as is or wrap musubi in plastic wrap to keep warm and save to eat later (perhaps at the beach ;)). Hint: Musubis can also be frozen and reheated later for a quick, on-the-go snack.
Nina Jones, a mainland gal from way back, is now a transplanted Islander. With her husband of 41 years, she volunteers at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Her hobbies include swimming, traveling, studying and writing about what she is learning from the various Polynesian cultures. Her blogs focus on their history, beliefs, practices and – as an added bonus – delicious food! To her, Polynesia is not just a place to visit, it is a way to live and she is very honored to be able to be a part of their amazing world.
Rebecca Sabalones is a published writer and editor from Indiana. She graduated with a B.A. in Cultural Communications from Brigham Young University–Hawaii, worked as a multi-media journalist and editor-in-chief for Ke Alaka’i, taught English in Taiwan, and worked as a copy editor for The Daily Herald. The islands called her back to Hawaii where she has been occupied with sales and marketing for the Polynesian Cultural Center.