So many people cringe when they hear the word “Spam”. Put that in front of a crazy sounding word like musubi and then people really weird out. But for those of us who have been enlightened to just how fabulous an ingredient spam is, and our mouths start watering as soon as we hear it. Now I don’t pretend to know or understand how or what it is, but what I can tell you is that it is salty, tender and crispy and super flavorful.
So what is spam musubi? Well my experience with it is a marinated slice of spam that is then fried and pressed onto a block of sushi rice seasoned with a little furikake and a strap of nori. I have experienced a few different versions of this Hawaiian delicacy, but today I will share with you my version of it.
So one thing that I find an essential piece of equipment to properly make it is a musubi press. This is simply just a plastic mold that has a plunger to press it with. You can buy them at Asian markets or online at places like Amazon here. These help you get the rice molded to the right shape and press it to the right density. Now if you don’t have a way to get one of these cool tools you can use the spam can itself. You can cut the can down and use it as a mold. It is obviously the right size to hold a piece of spam. I have done this myself but find that you can’t get the consistency that you can with the press.
So from my experience there are 2 important parts to making your musubi really great. The first is to use sushi rice that is seasoned just like if you were going to make sushi. The second key is to give the spam a nice cook in a saute pan. Nothing makes spam better than getting a nice sear on it and rendering a little of the fat out of it. I usually always buy the reduced sodium spam so that it is not quite as salty, but the best part is there are a ton of different flavors that you can try and play around with.
Now there are lots of different ways I have seen the spam prepared. I have found the one that works the best for me and the one I love the most is to take equal parts soy sauce and oyster sauce and a little bit of sugar as well. Mix that up in a bowl with a whisk trying to get the sugar dissolved as much as possible. Cut you spam into the desired thickness, I like it about a 1/4 inch thick, and place in the mix, I like to let it marinade for at least 30 mins if not longer. I then pull it out and put it into a warm but not sizzling hot pan. I like to sear mine in a medium heat pan so that I don’t scorch the remaining marinade. With all the sugars in the sauce it tends to burn easily.
Once you have your spam cooked and cooling it’s time to prepare the nori. This is as simple as cutting a sheet into strips. I prefer strips that are between a half and three quarters of an inch wide. I have seen some where it is closer to an inch and a half or so wide. After you have that prepared it is as simple as placing a strip down putting your press over it, placing a slice of your spam down and then adding in rice. Then you take the plunger from your press and put some pressure on it, compacting it to as tight as you want. Then slide it out of your press and fold your nori strip around to the bottom.
That is how simple it is to make yourself a big old plate of one of the most delicious appetizers or meals that you can make. Every time I have made these they are always a huge hit. If you are leery about buying one of the most delicious cans of meat on the planet then give this a try. I promise that you will not be disappointed if you try this and that you will fall in love with the glorious can of spam!
Dedicated to John “Keoni” Tyler. Always enjoyed eating your food and listening to you sing in your kitchen. The memory of your food and love of cooking will live on. RIP