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Everything You Need to Make Spam Musubi

Everything You Need to Make Spam Musubi

Each of us has our own comfort food. For the people in Hawaii, SPAM musubi is one of them! This Japanese-influenced snack may look simple and unassuming at first glance, but it’s packed with sweet and savory flavors. Its signature glaze is enough to tell you that musubi is a must-try!

We have all the ingredients and a few tricks to help you make this snack at home!

What is musubi?

Musubi is a type of onigiri, or a Japanese rice ball snack, that’s made with nori-wrapped steamed rice and various fillings, like tuna, pickled plum, salmon with cream cheese, and of course, SPAM. You can easily make it at home or buy it from Asian convenience stores for a quick bite-to-eat or as a picnic snack.

While onigiris are usually round or triangular, musubi has a mold of its own—quite literally! It takes on a rectangular shape, much like a small block, on account of the shape of a SPAM or luncheon meat slice.

Musubi Ingredients

At first glance, you might think musubi is just rice and SPAM that’s wrapped in nori sheets. But upon closer look, you’ll see that the SPAM has a delectable glaze, the corners are slightly burnt and crunchy, and the rice holds its shape perfectly. SPAM musubi has a lot of surprising flavors to offer given how incredibly easy it is to make. Here’s what you need to make a classic musubi:

1. SPAM or Luncheon Meat

The origins of musubi can be traced back to post-World War 2 when there was a surplus of canned meat in military camps, particularly in Hawaii. Spam was the brand of luncheon meat that was used then. It grew so popular in Hawaii that it was dubbed “Hawaiian steak”. In Korea, there was also a surplus of SPAM, which gave way to buddae jiggae or Korean Army Stews.

Given the popularity of both dishes in their respective countries, other luncheon meat brands and varieties are now available in the market. There are low sodium, lite, bacon-infused, hickory smoked, and more! For this recipe, it’s best to go with the original SPAM variety to achieve the classic musubi flavors.

If you enjoy your musubi on the less salty side, you can opt to boil your SPAM to get rid of the extra fat and salt before marinating it with your musubi sauce.

It’s really up to your taste and dietary preference!

Kikkoman Teriyaki Marinade And Sauce - Pack of 6 - 20.5 oz. | Product of Japan | Japanese Teriyaki Sauce

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You know that mouthwatering sheen from the musubi, that’s teriyaki sauce for you. While it’s easy to get used to the taste of canned food, teriyaki sauce elevates the taste of SPAM and gives it a touch of sweet and savory Japanese flavors.

If you’re wondering how to make musubi sauce on your own, you can whip up a homemade musubi sauce by mixing brown sugar, dark soy sauce, mirin, and sesame oil.

Musubi might have originated in Hawaii, but with its Japanese roots, umami is to be expected! Just like the teriyaki sauce, the oyster sauce adds an umami boost and extra shine to the SPAM.

Ingredients for Homemade Musubi Sauce

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While plain white rice is enough to make musubi, it may not hold its shape and not have the right texture. Seasoned short-grained white rice is recommended to get that signature sushi rice texture. Using rice vinegar gives your musubi rice that signature bright tangy taste, bouncy texture, and excellent hold–perfect for lifting your musubi for a bite!

As the one that holds your SPAM and sushi rice in place, it’s a good idea to choose a seaweed sheet that’s meant for wrapping onigiri or rolling sushi or bibimbap. These tend to be thicker than other seaweed sheets that are meant for snacking or used as toppings. For added smokiness, you can give your seaweed sheets another round of roasting over your stovetop fire before wrapping your musubi.

Kikkoman Teriyaki Marinade And Sauce - Pack of 6 - 20.5 oz. | Product of Japan | Japanese Teriyaki Sauce

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Furikake isn’t really included in the usual musubi recipe but if you want an extra crunch and burst of umami to your musubi, sprinkle this in your seasoned rice before wrapping it with your SPAM.

How To Make Spam Musubi without a Mold

Plays Well With Butter uses all the ingredients above to make the Best-Ever Spam Musubi recipe. We’re taking their cue in making and assembling this sweet and savory Hawaiian comfort food:

Step 1: Cook and season your rice.

Cook your rice and season it with rice vinegar or sushi seasoning. Make sure to give your rice a good rinse to remove the starches and achieve that light and sticky texture that we all love from our sushi rolls.

Step 2: Prepare the sauce.

Prepare your teriyaki sauce ahead of time, especially when you’re making your own. Doing so gives your brown sugar enough time to dissolve properly and have all the flavors working together cohesively. Plus, having a ready-to-use teriyaki sauce will come in handy when the musubi cravings hit! Homemade musubi sauce can store for up to 1 week in the fridge.

Step 3: Pan-fry and glaze.

Pan-fry your spam or luncheon meat for a few minutes and add a spoonful of musubi sauce atop each piece before flipping it over. Repeat this for the other side until the corners get a crispy char. Watch the heat so you don’t burn the whole luncheon meat! Keep in mind that since your glaze has sugar, it may burn easily.

Step 4: Assemble

Now, for the fun part, assembly! In case you don’t have a musubi mold, you can lay a saran wrap over your work surface. Ensure that the long side of the nori is close to you. Place a thin layer of your sushi rice at the center of your nori sheet. The size should be that of your SPAM or luncheon meat. If you plan on adding furikake, this is your chance to sprinkle it over your rice. Afterwards, lay your glazed SPAM.

Step 5: Seal, slice, and serve.

Once everything is in its proper place, start rolling by folding the edge closest to you to the center. Give it a gentle squeeze to pack the rice, before folding it over for the second time. You should have your nori wrapped completely around the rice and spam. Pro-tip: you may dampen your fingers with water or sesame oil to perfectly seal your nori sheets. Slice your musubi roll accordingly with a damp knife and serve!

For some, spam musubi may simply be a school or picnic snack. For others, it’s an essential part of their growing-up years, where each bite offers an explosion of deep flavors and a wave of nostalgia.

Remember the good ol’ times and feel like a kid again by making spam musubi at home! It’s super quick and easy to make, but it has an unforgettable sweet and savory taste that’s sure to stay with you for many years to come.

For more curated Asian groceries, shop only at Karman Foods.

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