It’s instantly recognizable to anyone who’s spent time in Hawaii (I remember seeing large, individually wrapped versions in convenience stores in Honolulu), but for those who haven’t, brace yourselves, because you’re about to develop a new addiction.
We make this so often I actually have a musubi press, but before that I would just cut the bottom off the Spam can itself (a sharp steak knife should do the trick) and use the can as a mold.
There are probably a million different ways to make musubi; the recipe below was developed over many years of trial and error. These are great individually wrapped and placed in the fridge as grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches.
• 1 cup short-grain sushi rice: 25 cents
• 3 T white vinegar: 5 cents
• 2 T granulated sugar: 6 cents
• 1/2 tsp salt: 1 cent
• 1 can Spam*, cut into 10 slices of equal width: $2.29
• 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce: 25 cents
• 1/4 cup oyster sauce: 25 cents
• 1/2 cup sugar: 15 cents
• 5 sheets nori (seaweed sushi wrapper) from a previously unopened package, cut in half: 75 cents
TOTAL: $4.06/10 = 41 cents each
*Grocery Outlet only had Bacon Spam, Cheese Spam and Turkey Spam; I opted for the latter, but low-sodium plain Spam is best.
Cook the sushi rice and 2 cups water in a rice cooker.
Meanwhile, whisk together the soy sauce, oyster sauce and sugar until combined. In a wide, shallow bowl or container, marinate the Spam in the sauce for a few minutes, then fry both sides in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Remove to the sauce to coat, let it sit in the sauce until it’s ready to use.
When the rice is done, combine the sugar, vinegar and salt in a small saucepan, heat until sugar is dissolved. Pour the mixture over the rice, stirring gently to combine. Spread the rice out on a Silpat- or parchment-lined cookie sheet to cool a bit.
To make the musubi, place a half-sheet of nori on a dry surface. Place the mold in the middle and fill it with a bit of the sushi rice. The meat-to-rice ratio is totally up to you; I like it to be about 1 1/2 to 2 times the thickness of the Spam. Press the rice down so it becomes a cohesive, Spam-shaped block.
Assuming you don’t own a musubi press, you can do this with the original can with the bottom cut out. Use a spoon dipped in water (so the rice doesn’t stick to it) to tamp it down. Remove the mold, holding the rice down so it doesn’t come up with it.
Place a slice of fried and marinated Spam on top of the rice. Wrap the nori around it.
At this point I like to individually wrap each musubi immediately in plastic wrap; the heat and moisture soften the nori and help it stick to the rice.
Unwrap and enjoy now or save for later. (If you are refrigerating them overnight, heating them up for a few seconds in their plastic wrap once you take them out of the fridge will result in the best texture and flavor.)