Spam Musubi

I haven’t been so good about posting on my blog lately.  I am attributing it to a combination of fervently researching everything that I possibly can about ducks in order to be fully prepared for when they arrive, and being bummed out that my husband and father-in-law (the ones that have the skills and know-how to actually build the pen structure) are far less enthusiastic about going outside and building an enclosure in the rain than I am about having fluffy, cuddly, hilarious ducks running around and eating my slugs.  That was a run-on sentence if I ever saw one.  Regardless, my nagging muscles are getting quite the workout, and the best way to smooth things over with the victim of my attacks is to feed him things that he loves.  Namely, sushi.  And SPAM.  Craig loves SPAM.

spam musubi fixins

Spam Musubi is a Hawaiian “thing.”  Hawaiians love them some SPAM, so it seems to be a natural marriage of the Japanese influence and the almost unnatural predilection for SPAM.  So here you go.  In it’s most basic terms, it’s SPAM sushi.  You make rice, lay a slice of the luncheon meat on top of it, top with more rice (this is based on preference, some only use one layer of rice), then wrap in some nori (seaweed) and nom.  When it comes down to it, the whole process is a little more nuanced than that, but execution really is pretty straightforward.

sushi rice

I am a nervous nelly when it comes to making rice for sushi. I have long-grain and arborio skills, but sticky rice is a whole other animal.  As such, I bought the rice at the Asian supermarket labelled as specifically being for sushi.  Better safe than sorry.  The traditional method for musubi is unseasoned rice, however we intended to try unseasoned, and then the standard vinegared rice mixture, but upon trying the seasoned vinegar rice, we liked it so much we stuck with it.  The method that I used for this was: 3 cups rice, 4.5 cups water (that’s a 2:3 rice:water ratio if you’re keeping track), with the rice rinsed under cool water through a fine mesh strainer until no cloudiness is visible, this takes a while.  Then you put in a pan, add your water, cover, and bring to a boil.  Once a boil has been attained, drop the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.  When 20 minutes is up, remove from heat and let stand for an additional 15 minutes to steam.  When the rice has steamed, you’re supposed to spread it out in an even layer to evaporate out additional moisture, while you fan, stir, and sprinkle in the seasoned vinegar.  I just put it in a bowl and mixed it up a little.  It worked fine.

seasoned sushi vinegar

While the rice cooks, you want to get going on your spam.  My pan will take 8 slices, which is, coincidentally, the number of slices you get from a can of SPAM easily.  We tried both standard and low sodium and couldn’t taste a difference, so will stick to a lower salt content next time.  I spent the entire night after eating 3 musubi getting up for glasses of water.  The SPAM is just crisped a little in a nonstick pan, then has a mixture of 1 part soy/tamari and 1 part sugar poured over it and allowed to evaporate.  You are essentially making a very salty meat caramel.

caramelizing spam

After your SPAM and rice are prepared, it’s just a matter of assembly.  First, you lay down your nori, then put down your musubi press.  Yes, you need a musubi press.  I ordered mine for $6 on Amazon and got it 2 days later.  Then you put some rice in, and smush that down, follow with a layer of SPAM, a sprinkle of furikake (sesame, nori, msg sprinkles) and then another layer of rice, press that down, then squish it out of the press using the plunger.  Then all you need to do is wrap the nori, seal with a little water, and enjoy.  Craig and I both liked this with a little tamari and wasabi.

musubi assembly

Craig liked this so much that he was fiending for it a couple days later.

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