My brother-in-law, Sonny, e-mailed me from Chicago recently with a link to something he said he thought I might find amusing — Spam musubi. I was flabbergasted. Now, I’m not a fan of Spam. I think I mentioned that before. But my husband is. Which kinda makes sense why Sonny, his eldest brother, e-mailed the the link to the Spam musubi article to me. You know, because he knew my husband Speedy would love it. Sweet, huh?
So, while I thought that Spam musubi was eclectic enough to try, my husband acted like it was a must-try. :razz: He bought the can of Spam (I never do), a packet of nori and fresh ripe mangoes because he felt they would add the much needed panache to Spam musubi.
But what is Spam musubi?
Here is what Wikipedia says:
Spam musubi is a very popular snack or luncheon food in Hawaii made in the tradition of Japanese onigiri or omusubi. A slice of Spam is placed onto a block of rice and a piece of nori (dried seaweed) wrapped around the Spam-rice combination to hold it together. There is a common misconception that Spam musubi is a variation of sushi. In reality, it differs from sushi in that its rice lacks the vinegar required to classify it as such.
Spam musubi is appreciated for its taste and portability. A single piece, wrapped in cellophane, can be purchased at small deli-type convenience stores (including 7-Eleven stores) all over the Islands, ranging in price between one and two dollars. Spam musubi rice molds are available at many kitchen stores in Hawaii. These molds are a few inches deep with a width and breadth that matches a slice of Spam. Thrifty people can also cut both ends of a small Spam can, to the same effect.
Now, I wasn’t going to eat that thing unless the rice was properly seasoned. So, naturally, I turned my version of Spam musubi into exactly what Wikipedia says it wasn’t — I made it as I would a regular sushi. Adding a slice of mango to each piece of Spam musubi made them even more similar to sushi.
I didn’t have the molds mentioned in the Wikipedia article either. I made do with a piece of cling wrap.
How do you make Spam musubi? Okay, this recipe will yield five pieces of Spam musubi, my version.
You start with a can of Spam, naturally (you can use any canned luncheon meat). Then, about 2 cups of cooked Japanese rice (more if you want to use up the entire can of Spam — just multiply the amount of seasoning accordingly), one ripe mango and some nori sheets.
Slice the Spam — thick or thin is up to you. I would have cut it into thicker slices but my husband beat me to it and it’s his style to slice everything paper thin. Well, okay, that’s an exaggeration. He cut the Spam into about 1/4-inch slices.
Cut each nori sheet into four pieces.
Scoop out the mango from the skin and cut into slices.
Season the rice (cooled to room temperature) with a tablespoonful of rice wine, 2 tablespoonfuls of rice wine vinegar (or any mild vinegar), a pinch or two of salt and about a teaspoonful of sesame seed oil.
Place about two tablespoonfuls of the seasoned rice on a piece of cling wrap then gather the edges of the wrap together to mold the rice. Just squeeze it between your hands, roll and flatten. The shape does not have to be perfect but the rice has to be compact enough so it doesn’t fall apart.
Unwrap the rice and lay a piece of Spam over it; top with a slice of mango. Wrap everything together with a piece of the cut nori sheet and arrange on a plate.
Was it good? Well… it was interesting. Americans do have a weird way with food sometimes. Personally, I prefer real sushi.