All Things Musubi

Or Spam, no eggs, Spam, seaweed, rice, and Spam—a thread devoted to Hawaii’s greatest contribution to the culinary arts and sciences. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept of lunchmeat sushi, here’s an excellent introduction. I’ll get the ball rolling by throwing out a couple of tips and tricks, and append later with whatever happens to come to mind. First of all, get a press if you’re motivated to pursue perfect musubi symmetry and density. They are truly indispensable in this regard. Secondly, make enough rice—it’s easy to run out when you start packing it in there. It takes about three-quarters of a cup (uncooked volume) of Botan rice to make two musubis. I like to add a teaspoon each of toasted sesame oil and rice vinegar to the cooking water, which gives the rice an exquisite flavor and makes the whole kitchen smell great. More to come as I think of it.

I followed the instructions in GQ for cutting off the bottom of the SPAM can. I didn’t use a Henckels. I found a high-carbon knife with a sharp point that I never use, then re-sharpened it after I used it on the meat. The resulting ‘musubi form’ looks a mite deadly, but I used pliers to crimp the cut edge as well as I could.

So. Rice form made. SPAM cut into eight slices. Just have to wait until lunchtime to start cooking.

Shiver me timbers, an’ walk me plank!

Usually two’s my limit. But I’ve had three.

The SPAM can worked. But I’ll end up with a musubi form eventually. It would make for a flatter top than I could get with a spoon and my fingers, and make it easier to push out. (Not that it was hard to push out; just that the same pressure could be applied all over.)

I used two tablespoons each of soy sauce and sugar for the glaze. I did not add vinegar to the rice, since that’s more of a sushi thing. I sliced the nori lengthwise into four strips. I laid (or is it lay?) the strips on a plate and put the SPAM can perpendicular to it. I guess I filled the tin to about 2/3 or 3/4 full of rice, then pressed it down with the tablespoon I was using to fill it with. After pushing the rice out of the tin, I put down a strip of wasabi (from a tube) and spread it around. Then came the fried, glazed SPAM. I wrapped the nori strip around the block. The ‘meat end’ stuck to the glaze, but I wetted the other end so that it would stick better to itself. Top with some Soy-Yaki (Trader Joe’s brand, the same as Soy Vay Very Very Teriyaki), and Bob’s your auntie’s live-in lover!

There were two problems: First, my pan would only hold six slices of SPAM; so I’ll have to cook the others up after cleaning out the sticky glaze. Second, I have a lot of rice leftover. OK, the latter isn’t actually a problem. :wink:


I take the spam straight from the skillet and toss it in teriyaki sauce to cool, rather than frying it with anything else in the skillet. I also like to furikake my rice, and also stick a bit of ume paste into each musubi-- a neat spicy note. I’m liking the li hing mui idea.

eta-- with the musubi presses, is there any reason you couldn’t chuck a semi-damp piece of nori in there? Actually maybe that doesn’t make any sense.

My favorite variation of it is with BBQ chicken.

I fried up the last two pieces of SPAM without the soy/sugar, and used your idea of tossing them in teriyaki. I haven’t eaten them yet; they’re in the fridge with the others.

I’d left the nori strips out, and they were a little dry. (Never thought drying would be a problem up here!) So the last one, I wetted. Turns out, nori tears easily when wet.

I learned about the delicious Korean comfort food of Spam and kimchi fried rice on these very boards. I definitely want to try the Spam musubi. I’ll pick up some furikake while I’m here in San Francisco.