If you have friends or family who hail from the Hawaiian islands, chances are you have eaten or at least heard of Spam musubi.
Spam musubi, a popular snack and lunch food, is deeply rooted in Hawaii’s history, coming from the era of World War II, when food was rationed and canned meats was common fare. Nowadays, you can find Spam musubi everywhere in the islands, from church potlucks, to 7-11, to school bake sales, to all respectable grocery stores (usually found in the deli area with the rotisserie chicken). Hawaii locals are apologetically proud of their love of Spam.
One summer my family went on a brutal 20-mile hike into Maui’s Haleakala Crater. We stuffed our backpacks with water and a weekend’s worth of Spam musubi. I still count those meals of Spam musubi as the primary reason I didn’t collapse and die during the trip.
Composed of six ingredients, Spam musubi are simple to prepare. The key gadget needed is a plastic or acrylic musubi mold, which you can find in a Hawaiian convenience store or Amazon. Sushi nori (dried sheets of seaweed) and furikake (Japanese seasoning) are available in Asian grocery stores.
1 can of Spam, sliced lengthwise into 10 even pieces
3 cups of cooked white Calrose rice
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sugar
5 sheets sushi nori, cut in half lengthwise
Fry Spam in a large, ungreased pan over medium heat until brown and slightly crispy. Remove from heat, drain on paper towels, and set aside. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce and sugar. Add Spam slices, turning to coat; let sit in marinade until ready to use. In a small bowl, have some water ready to seal the ends of the musubi. Place a sheet of nori on a plate or cutting board. Position a musubi mold lengthwise on the nori so it is centered across the width of the nori. Fill the bottom of the mold with approximately 1/4 cup of cooked rice, on top of the nori; press rice down with the flat part of the mold until it is compacted to about 1/4-inch thick. Place a Spam slice on the rice. Sprinkle an even layer of fukikake on top the Spam. Cover with an additional 1/4 cup cooked rice, and press again. Remove the musubi from the mold by pushing the whole stack down with the flat part of the mold while lifting the rest of the mold up. Fold one end of the nori over the musubi and press lightly onto the rice. Wet the other end slightly, then wrap around the musubi. Repeat the process with the remaining ingredients, making sure to rinse the mold off with water after each musubi to keep it from getting too sticky. Makes 10 musubi.