Hawaiian Favorite – Spam Musubi

This isn’t a healthy recipe by any means, but it’s one of my childhood favorites and a staple in Hawaii!  It’s the perfect meal to take on the go, to the beach or on a hike.  I know there are probably some people out there who hate Spam or have never eaten Spam, but if you are in this category, please give this a try and then report back! 🙂  

What is SPAM?  The name is an amalgamation of the words “spiced” and “ham”, and the labeled ingredients include chopped pork shoulder and ham.  It was first introduced by Hormel in 1937 and was widely used by the military during WWII.  Hawaii is the largest consumer of SPAM in the United States, and there are many varieties on the market these days.  I usually buy Spam Less Sodium or Spam Lite.

First rule of thumb when eating spam…never, ever eat it straight out of the can, that’s gross.  Unless you are starving and have no other options.  Remove it from the can and slice into 8-10 slices, depending on how meaty you like your musubi.  Pan fry over medium high heat and then add seasonings: I use soy sauce (shoyu), sugar, and mirin (Japanese rice wine).  You can find mirin at some grocery stores and at any asian market.  Cook until heated through and the edges start to get crispy.  In the meantime, cook up about 3 cups of short-grain white rice or sushi rice.  It cannot be the long grain/basmati/jasmine rice as this is too loose, and won’t stick together properly in a musubi.

Now start your assembly line.  Cut a sheet of nori (dried toasted seaweed used to make sushi) in half.  Lay it shiny side down on a piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap.  Place your musubi maker in the middle of your nori and add some rice.  Press down to make sure it’s compact.  Then place your cooked spam slice on top and top with more rice.  Press down with the musubi maker handle and while you’re pressing down, slide the mold off. Make sure you press down hard, so it won’t fall apart when you bite into it.

Now fold the nori over the rice, and close by moistening the edge with a little water to seal.  Continue until you have used up all your ingredients.  You can wrap the final product in plastic wrap and take it on your next picnic or hike, or cut it in half to look pretty and serve it to friends who may have never tried this Hawaiian delicacy 🙂  It really is delicious, and I’ve converted many a person over to spam with this recipe since living on the mainland, including my husband!  If you don’t want to use spam, you can substitute teriyaki chicken or beef too.

Spam Musubi

3 cups uncooked short grain or sushi rice

1 can SPAM

2 T low-sodium or regular soy sauce

2 T sugar

1 T mirin

Nori sheets (dried toasted seaweed used in sushi)

Cook rice according to directions or in your rice cooker.  Slice SPAM into 8-10 slices.  Pan fry over medium high heat for 1-2 minutes, turning to cook both sides.  Mix together in a separate bowl your soy sauce, sugar, and mirin.  Add to the pan and cook until edges are crispy and sauce is starting to caramelize.  Cut nori sheets in half and place musubi maker in center of nori.  Add rice, press down with musubi maker handle, add piece of spam, and then top with more rice.  Press down tightly to compact.  Fold nori sheet over rice, then fold the other side over and moisten the edge with water to seal.  Eat immediately or individually wrap in plastic wrap.

What are some of your hometown favorites?  


19 thoughts on “Hawaiian Favorite – Spam Musubi

  1. YUM!! My mouth is watering! That’s so cute, the musubi maker! 🙂 I haven’t had Spam in so long…but definitely a childhood favorite! I love it in the rice and fried egg with soy sauce meal 🙂

  2. I’ve never even had spam! It just seems so questionable to me, lol. But these are kiiinda changing my mind… I guess the inaugural taste of the stuff has to come sooner or later, right?! 😉

  3. What up, Maura??? I felt compelled to write since my FB profile pic used to be one of me eating a spam musubi. Love Spam. I’m Korean – it’s in my blood.

  4. I’m drooling all over the keyboard. Spam musubi reminds me of sitting under a tree on the sandy beaches of Hawaii. ahhhhhhh… I can feel the warm breeze now. I need to find myself a cute little musubi maker. I bet you can make this a little healthier with brown rice and using turkey spam? I’m adding you to my google reader 🙂 I look forward to reading your posts!

  5. Yes, I did see this dish when we were in Hawai’i (twice) in past 10 years. No, I didn’t try it. I think I had spam once or twice when I was a child.

    Are you kidding?: I’m from Vancouver, the place where you can get the best smoked salmon because big salmon swim up into our area from the ocean. That’s how I savour sushi and sashimi.

    I do eat comfort, less healthy food but I guess I’ll just stick to poke and poi in Hawai’i.

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