SPAM, glorious, SPAM. In case you didn’t know, Hawaii LOVES it’s SPAM, as a matter of fact, over seven million cans a year are estimated to be consumed in the Aloha State. We even have an annual festival for it on the Island of O’ahu.
I don’t eat SPAM every day, but occasionally I will peel open a can and serve it up in my recipes. Sometimes other people serve it to me and I would never think to complain when they do. It would be rude.
Most people who “hate” SPAM have never actually tried it. There is a stigma on the Mainland about eating it and some people absolutely refuse to even try it. If you look at the can, you’ll see that it has less junk in it than plenty of other processed food out there, and if you get the SPAM Lite, it is less salty and lower in fat than the regular. So, haters, just stop hating and don’t knock it until you try it.
One of the things I’ve tried to do is put a healthier spin one of the beloved local favorites, the SPAM Musubi. It’s pretty basic stuff: rice, seaweed, SPAM, and teriyaki sauce, but you can tell a good one from a bad one right away. Some people have their own special recipe and technique. My recipe is pretty standard, but I’ve substituted brown rice for white, and use SPAM Lite instead of regular.
I buy a Japanese medium grain brown rice, which tends to be good for keeping the rice sticking together. I also add extra water when cooking the rice to help with this. If you are not used to making musubi with brown rice, I recommend trying this recipe with white rice the first time to get the hang of it. *FYI… A musubi maker is absolutely necessary, especially when using brown rice, because you want to really ‘pack it down’ to get the grains to stick together.
- 1 can SPAM Lite
- 4 sheets of nori, cut in half to make 8 wraps
- 4 cups cooked white rice (or cooked brown rice short grain)
- 5 tablespoons soy sauce (or shoyu)
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons mirin rice wine
- furikake seasoning to taste
- small bowl of water
- Remove SPAM from can and slice lengthwise into eight pieces.
- Heat skillet to medium-high and lightly cook SPAM pieces for a few minutes on each side. Take out of pan and set aside.
- In the same pan, mix together soy sauce, brown sugar and mirin. Turn the heat back up to medium and continuously stir the ingredients until sugar has melted. When everything is blended, add the fried SPAM back to the pan. When sauce starts bubbling, flip SPAM slices over and coat the other side, basting the pieces with the remaining sauce for one minute. Turn off heat and let sit in the sauce.
- While SPAM is cooling, take a sheet of cut nori and lay it in a long strip. Position the musubi maker half way down the strip. The musubi maker should not be hanging over the nori.
- Take a few tablespoons of rice and put it inside the maker. Using the “masher”, smash down the rice until it is packed well, and then remove the masher. Sprinkle rice with furikake seasoning and then lay a piece of SPAM over top of seasoning. Spoon a few tablespoons of rice over the piece of SPAM and smash down rice again until tight, but don’t remove the masher this time.
- Take the masher and push the musubi all the way through the mold carefully. Next, quickly wrap the front section of the nori up over top and lay it over the warm rice. Then, slowly turn musubi over until it’s fully wrapped in nori. Taking your finger tips, dip them in the bowl of water and seal the edges where the nori needs to stick to itself to make a seal.
- Repeat steps 4-6 for the next seven pieces.
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