Who doesn’t love a good snack? Hawaii is known for its amazing cuisine, thanks to its diverse food and cultural history. If you have never tried it before, you truly are missing out. One famous snack to come out of Hawaii is spam musubi. This authentic Hawaiian snack is super easy and super tasty. Although anything to do with spam may send many people running in the opposite direction, this is one spam snack you don’t want to be without. Before we uncover how to make spam musubi, let’s explore what it is exactly.
What is Spam Musubi?
Spam musubi is a popular snack all over Hawaii. It is a kind of sushi that has cooked, marinated spam on top, and then wrapped with a strip of nori seaweed for portability. For those of you who do not know, spam is cheap, canned meat that became popular after World War II and is made mostly out of ham. It was and still is cheap and easy to make, and is available at almost every grocery store. Spam does have some greasiness to it and can be overwhelmingly salty for some.
Think of spam musubi as an elevated spam snack. It’s a great option for your appetizer platter, lunchbox or even game-day snack. So before you think, “Ew, spam,” give it a try. You, like many others, may come to discover that the humble spam musubi is quite addictive. In fact, eating just one is almost impossible. Be prepared to munch on at least 3 (or more – no judgment) of these in one sitting.
If you have already discovered the wonders of Hawaiian cooking and, more specifically, spam musubi, the good news is that this snack or light lunch is extremely easy to make – you don’t have to fly to Hawaii to get it.
Spam Musubi Tips and Tricks
Before getting started, here are a few things to consider when making spam musubi.
- Making Your Own Musubi Mold
You can, of course, hunt down an authentic musubi mold. However, if you would rather not fork out money for something you don’t really need, making your own musubi mold is the way to go. It works like a charm. All you need is a thoroughly cleaned, mini spam can. The full-size can also works, just be sure to cut it down to half its height. Cut off the bottom of the can carefully and then cover the sharp edges with duct tape. You can use your hands to compress the rice; however, a musubi mold just makes things a lot easier.
- Use Sushi Rice
The original Hawaiian recipe does not use sushi rice, but what good is a DIY if you can’t do things your way? The sushi rice has added sugar and rice vinegar which combat the greasiness and saltiness of the spam with acidic notes.
Another important element in spam musubi is perfectly caramelized spam. It is essential that the spam has a crispy crust. This is best achieved with the use of soy sauce, sugar, and water as a basting for the spam. Since spam can be too greasy, it is important to thoroughly cook it in order to render out most of the greasiness.
- Short Grain Rice vs. Long Grain Rice
Long grain rice tends to be less starchy than short grain and does not hold together as well. Because of this, always use short grain rice, even when making sushi rice.
Making Spam Musubi
Depending on how much spam musubi you are making, this snack can be made within 45 minutes, including prep and cooking time.
- 4 cups cooked rice – sushi or regular white rice
- 3 sheets nori seaweed – roasted
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- ¼ cup of water
- 340g/12 oz. spam
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- Cook the rice – sushi or regular – if you do not have any already prepared.
- Cut the spam into 8 slices and then place them in a heated cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side until browned and crisp.
- In a small bowl combine and whisk together the soy sauce and water. Add sugar to the spam slices, taking care to sprinkle them evenly, then add in the soy sauce mixture. Allow the spam to simmer for approximately 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture is mostly absorbed. Flip the spam once in between to allow for perfect caramelization. Remove the spam and place them on a plate to cool.
- Cut nori seaweed into 8 strips – 9” long and 2” wide
- At the bottom of one strip of nori seaweed, place a slice of spam perpendicular to the strip (so that it resembles a cross shape). Take ½ a cup of rice, wet your hands and transfer the rice to your palm, firmly pressing the rice into a ball. From there, shape the rice into a rectangle the size of the spam slice.
- Place the rice on top of the slice of spam and roll the nori strip around the two, sealing the end with some water and placing the wrapped musubi on the seam-side while you work on the others.
- Serve the spam musubi immediately at room temperature, or keep them in the fridge for later – just be sure to wrap them individually with plastic wrap before placing them in the fridge. Musubi can also be served warm or chilled – it is a matter of personal preference.
How to Make Spam Musubi: A Simple Snack
Spam musubi is a simple snack to make and is best achieved when the process is not complicated or the recipe not altered too much and made too fancy. The joy of this Hawaiian snack is in its simplicity. Although it can be served in a variety of ways: with fresh green peas or egg crepe; with miso chicken or barbeque pork; spam musubi is a treat all on its own.