I know this seems like it’s blasting out of left field. No, spam musubi is not a cake or a dessert of any kind – in fact, it’s a slice of canned pork, pan fried and caramelized in its own fat and laid on top of a rectangular shaped rice block, wrapped in seaweed! It’s extra salty, extra tasty and pretty much the perfect snack – if you can handle the fact that you’re eating meat from a can, that is! If you’re a Coco Cake Land reader, you might know that my family is quite obsessed with all things Hawaii. We love it there; I feel at home there. Maybe it’s because I have naturally darker skin, I’m Asian, I have a few tattoos, and I’m a pretty chill person? I also adore swimming and sunshine, plus snorkelling happens to be one of my favourite things ever to do… I also love the mix of Asian cultures you find in Hawaii, and all the super cute hapa (half Asian!) children. But you know who is probably the biggest Hawaii fan of them all? My dad, Gerry! Half of his wardrobe is Hawaiian shirts, his email signature is even a classic “Aloha”! My dad couldn’t make it to my cousin’s wedding in Hawaii last month because of some health issues. So for Father’s Day, I knew what I wanted to do for my dad: bring Hawaii to him, and make him spam musubi! (and haupia chocolate cream pie, but I’ll save that recipe for a future post!)
After searching for recipes online, plus armed with my tastebuds – having freshly been to Hawaii last month (and I ate my share of spam musubi from Shirokiya – the Japanese department store in Honolulu!) – I was confident I could come up with a decent semblance of this simple lunchbox food. At first I was wishing I had bought one of those plastic spam musubi molds online, but I ended up just using the Spam can, and I didn’t even have to cut the bottom out! Spam – the original “nose to tail!” (haha)… So here you go: how to make spam musubi!
- 1 can of Spam
- ½ cup teriyaki sauce
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 2 cups uncooked short grain white rice, sushi rice
- 3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
- 2 sheets of toasted nori
- Note: I used a nonstick mini rolling pin to pack down my rice. You can use any kitchen tool that will help you do this, or clean fingers dipped in water!
- Make your sushi rice – I used a Tiger brand rice cooker, and I used a ratio of one cup of uncooked white rice to 1¼ cups of water.
- While your rice cooks, cut strips of nori with clean scissors. I cut my strips about two inches wide.
- Once your rice is finished, add the seasoned vinegar; mix to combine with a rice paddle.
- Open up your can of Spam. Try not to be horrified by the sight and scent of pale packed meat glistening in its own gelatin. Ha! Slice the Spam into eight equal slices.
- In a medium bowl, mix the teriyaki sauce and brown sugar until combined. Marinate the Spam slices in the mixture for a few minutes.
- In a medium frying pan set on medium high heat, fry up your Spam slices until caramelized and browned, around 2 minutes per side.
- Move to a clean countertop or table workspace.
- Spoon 1/3 cup of rice into your empty Spam can. Pack the rice down in an even layer. Turn the can upside down and whack it flat down on your workspace countertop. If the rice is packed down well, it will plop out in a pleasant rectangular rice puck!
- Place a slice of browned Spam on top of the rice.
- Wrap the Spam and rice with a strip of nori! Use a bit of water to adhere the nori edges together.
- You did it!! Eat the first spam musubi (you have to test it!). Then continue the process with the remaining ingredients; serve warm.