The spam musubi is an icon of local cuisine, and the subject of much curiosity (if not apprehension) among visitors and newcomers. Though a relatively new creation — perhaps as recently as the late ’80s — they’re ubiquitous today, and are sold practically everywhere.

Musubi, basically shaped balls of rice, are a Japanese staple, and are combined with a variety of flavors and ingredients. Perhaps to some people, the idea that there’s a “spam musubi recipe” at all is almost ridiculous – they’re the model of simplicity. Still, some of us aren’t exactly natural chefs, so every hint helps.

Ingredients:

4 cups “sticky” white rice
1 can Spam or “luncheon meat”
6 sheets nori (dried, seasoned seaweed)
1/4 cup shoyu (soy sauce)
1/4 mirin (Japanese rice wine) – optional
1/4 cup sugar – optional
furikake (Japanese seasoning) – optional

Preparation:

If using mirin and sugar, mix both with the shoyu in a small pot and heat to boiling, then remove from heat.

Cut Spam into 1/4 inch slices. In a medium skillet over medium heat, add the shoyu (or shoyu mixture) and fry/sauté the Spam, turning once or twice, until slightly crispy.

Using your hands, take a large handful of rice and press it into the shape of a small brick about the length and width of the spam slices and about two inches tall. Make sure your rice is not too hot! You can wet your hands and/or dust them with salt to make the shaping go smoothly. If you’re a neat freak, use plastic wrap.

If using furikake, sprinkle it on/around your rice brick.

Place a slice of Spam on top of your rice brick, and wrap both with a sheet of nori. Enjoy!

Go Google: “spam musubi.”

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