Spam Musubi is a ubiquitous snack and lunch food in the Aloha State comprising of a slice of Spam and a slab of rice wrapped together with nori in the form of Japanese omusubi. This creation is Hawaiian and yet curiously Minnesotan. Spam is made by Hormel and Hormel is based in Austin, Minnesota where the first can of Spam was produced in 1937. This low price, convenient, and tasty meat quickly became America’s favorite lunch meat. During World War II it was called into action abroad. It became a standard K-ration for the military who eventually introduced it to Hawaii. Today, residents of Hawaii consume more Spam than anywhere else in the world. To read more, please click here and here.
So, it is no wonder that Spam is easily available here in Minnesota and they come in a variety of flavors. I prefer Spam Lite as it has 50 percent less fat, 25% less sodium, and 33 percent fewer calories. Most kids enjoy Spam, my boys included. When I was a kid growing up in Malaysia, we did not have Spam but we had the Ma Ling brand of luncheon meat from China. My brothers and I liked that stuff too and Mom would cube and add it to fried rice. Now, I buy Spam occasionally as a “treat” for my boys. I also cube and add it to fried rice or a simplified version of Mee Goreng. Then I discovered Spam Musubi and I can understand why this snack is so popular in Hawaii.
These compact meat and rice parcels are great for the bento or lunchbox. They may be eaten without utensils and taste just as good at room temperature. They can also be cut to fit nicely in the lunchbox. Add some vege sticks and fruits and lunch is good to go.
There is a specific mold for assembling the Spam Musubi as seen here. An empty Spam can may also be used by removing the bottom of the can so that one is left with a kind of tube to mold the rice in. Yet others like me, use an oshizushi (pressed sushi) mold. The techniques also vary. The Spam can be placed on top of the rice cake or sandwiched in between two slabs of rice cakes. I am showing both techniques in the recipe below.
- 3 rice cooker cups or 2¼ cups (450g) short grain rice
- 2¾ cups (660ml) water
- 1 tbsp furikake rice mix
- 1 can Spam Lite, cut into 8 slices
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp mirin
- 1 tsp sugar
- 3 to 4 sheets nori, cut into 1-inch strips
- Put rice into rice cooker pot and rinse with cold water until water runs clear. This usually takes about 4 to 5 times rinsing and draining the water. Then add water to cover rice and allow it to soak for 20 to 30 minutes. Drain and add fresh water to the 3-cup mark. Dry the pot and place into rice cooker. Press the cook button and allow rice to cook. When rice is cooked, unplug rice cooker and allow it to cool for 10 minutes.
- Alternatively, rice can be cooked on the stove in a regular pot. After soaking, drain rice and add 2¾ cups (660ml) water into pot. Place on the stove and bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and allow rice to cook until all water is absorbed. This will take about 10 to 15 minutes. Reduce heat to the lowest possible setting and allow it to continue for another 5 minutes. Turn off heat and remove pot from heat source. Allow it to cool for 10 minutes.
- While rice is cooking, pan fry Spam on a non-stick pan until lightly brown. This takes about 3 minutes on each side. Mix soy sauce, mirin, and sugar in a small bowl. Pour mixture onto Spam.
- While mixture is bubbling, flip Spam slices so that both sides are coated and soy sauce mixture is absorbed. Remove from pan.
- When rice is done, sprinkle furikake onto rice and fluff rice with a pair of chopsticks or moistened rice paddle. Wet or moisten the wooden oshizushi (pressed sushi) mold.
- Cut each slice of spam lengthwise into 3 pieces.
- Spread about 1½ cups of cooked rice into the base of the mold. Tamp down rice with the lid.
- Pressing down with the lid, remove the outer portion of the oshizushi mold. Then remove the lid and slice a thin strip of rice lengthwise from the rice “cake” to match the width of Spam (this step is optional). Slice rice “cake” into 6 pieces.
- Place a piece of spam on each of the small pieces of rice cake. Wrap a strip of nori around each slice of rice and spam. Seal by moistening end of nori with a little water. Repeat until all rice and Spam are used up.
- Spread about ¾ cup of cooked rice into the base of the mold. Tamp down rice with the lid. Place two slices of cooked Spam onto rice. Spread another ¾ cup of cooked rice onto spam. Tamp down rice with lid.
- Pressing down with the lid, remove the outer portion of the oshizushi mold. Then remove the lid and slice into 6 pieces.
- Wrap a strip of nori around each slice of rice. Seal by moistening end of nori with a little water. Repeat until all rice and Spam are used up.
I first posted about this in my first week of blogging here and have not made it since until spring break started at the end of March. I packed 6 bentos with the help of my boys for their picnic with some friends.
Included in the bentos were molded eggs and checker pattern apples (Ichimatsu moyou ringo), a lovely addition to the lunchboxes. The Spam Musubi here was made using Method 2 as described in the recipe above.
After the boys left for their picnic, I packed a bento for myself just because. I made another block of Spam Musubi using Method 1 and included two slices of Neapolitan Kasutera that I had made the day before. The plan was to include the cake into the boys’ bentos but because of a change of time for the picnic, I was not able to take pictures of the cake for my post and that won’t do! Oh, the travails of a food blogger… sigh!
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day!