Spam Musubi. Pan-fried spam with a homemade teriyaki glaze packed with sushi rice and wrapped in roasted seaweed.
What is Spam Musubi?
A delicious and popular Hawaiian dish that is easy to make at home. This is a popular foreign food that residents of Hawaii love! It's sold at many shops. This is one of my favorite foods as a savory snack. Made with simple ingredients with rice, nori, spam being the main ones. If you have leftover rice, it's even more convenient!
History of Spam Musubi
Spam musubi is a very popular food to eat in Hawaii. After the World War II, canned meat was heavily available on the island as it was imported from the United States. It's very similar to a Japanese onigiri.
Spam Musubi is a wonderful Hawaiian snack, and you can find it in the convenience store or gas stations in Hawaii. And now you don't have to travel to the Hawaiian Islands to have Hawaiian spam musubi! This will be the best spam musubi recipe you've made locally.
Great on its own
Spam musubi is best served on its own, for diner, lunch or delicious as a handy snack. It's an easy snack to throw together. I wouldn't say it's a complete meal, but you can have it with some veggies or whatever you'd like to make it feel complete.
No Musubi Press Required
This great recipe does not require a spam musubi mold or a musubi maker. You can simply use the can that your spam comes in or your hands to create the rectangular block. This is my personal preference to keep things simple.
Save the Spam Can
Although this is a spam musubi recipe without the mold, we are still going to use the spam can. Just make sure to clean it with some soap and water before using.
The below teriyaki spam musubi ingredients are required. Please scroll down to the below Recipe card for exact measurements
Note: Any Asian grocery store will carry these ingredients. You may find them at your select grocery store or online, like on Amazon.
- Short-grain rice: aka Sushi rice or Calrose rice is recommended for this dish.
- Spam: We're using reduced sodium spam but feel free to use regular spam. It's a popular ingredient in Hawaiian food.
- Nori Seaweed: This Japanese roasted seaweed. We will take a sheet and cut it into strips of nori. Then take one strip of nori and wrap it around the rice block and spam.
- Vegetable oil: or any neutral tasting oil like avocado oil, grapeseed oil, or canola oil to fry the spam.
- Regular soy sauce: We'll be using equal parts soy sauce. Make sure to use regular all-purpose soy sauce and not light or dark soy sauce. Regular soy sauce will be labelled as "Soy Sauce".
- Mirin: Most Asian grocery stores or online retailers like Amazon will sell this item. It's a sweet cooking wine that tastes nothing like alcohol.
- Cooking sake: Most Asian grocery stores or online retailers like Amazon will sell this item. It's commonly used in Japanese cooking.
- Sugar: white sugar or brown sugar will work
- Rice vinegar: Most Asian grocery stores or online retailers like Amazon will sell this item. You can also use white vinegar too.
Required: large non-stick skillet
How to make Spam Musubi
Below are brief steps and images on how to make this spam musubi but please scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions:
- Rinse your uncooked white rice in water a few times. Cook rice in a rice cooker. Season hot rice with sugar, salt and rice vinegar.
- Cover and let it cool down to room temperature as you prepare other ingredients.
- Lay spam on a clean surface. Cut spam into 5 equal pieces for the perfect thickness. Clean and reserve the spam can for later.
- In a small bowl, combine regular soy sauce, mirin, and sake.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add vegetable oil. Fry slices of spam in a single layer for 1 ½ to 2 minutes per side, until pinkish golden brown. Do not go above medium-high heat.
- Pour sauce over cooked spam slices and let it fry in sauce for 1 minute on each side until it becomes a thick glaze. Remove spam from hot pan and transfer to an oiled plate to prevent the spam from sticking to plate.
- Note: Do not leave spam in pan as the teriyaki glaze will start to burn it with the residual heat.
To Assemble Spam Musubi
- Line the can of spam with a large piece of plastic wrap.
- Divide seasoned rice into 5 equal portions using a wet rice paddle.
- Scoop 1 equal amount of rice into the bottom of the can.
- Cover the rice with the plastic wrap. Then using your fingers, pack the rice into base of can until top is flat. Note: Be careful not to cut yourself along the sharp edges of the can, feel free to use a utensil to help you with this step.
- Remove the rice from can by pulling the cling film out and unwrap it.
- On a clean work surface like a cutting board, cut your nori sheet horizontally into 5 equal sized strips.
- Wet your hands with a little water and place sliced spam on top of the rice. Shiny side up.
- Wrap nori strip around the whole thing. Repeat process for remaining ingredients. Enjoy!
Below are tips on making the best spam musubi:
Season rice while hot
This allows for the seasoning to really penetrate the rice granules. It’ll also be easier to mix when the rice is piping hot versus warm.
Cover rice to keep moist
This is super important. Otherwise, your rice will not stick when you press it
Cut spam into equal portions
On a flat surface, slice spam into equal pieces. Each slice of spam should be about ¼ inch to ½ inch thick depending on your preference.
Fry the spam until golden and no further
Fry spam for just 1.5-2 minutes per side over medium heat until pinkish golden. Do not raise flame to medium high heat or it'll burn.
Do not overcook
If you do, your piece of spam will burn in the sauce if you let it cook past 5 minutes. You only want to glaze the spam in the sauce for 2 minutes in total at most!
Use the spam can and plastic wrap or cling wrap
This will help you so much versus molding the rice yourself. Be sure to use a sheet of plastic wrap to line the can to make it easier when you remove the rice block.
Use wet hands when handling your rice block
Short grain rice is a sticky rice. Wet your hands with a little bit of water as this prevents the rice from sticking to your hands as you assemble your musubi
Keep piece of nori inside the package until assembly time
Roasted seaweed tends to draw on surrounding moisture in the air making it less crispy or crunchy. So, I keep the sheet of nori by keeping it in the packaging until you're ready to assemble.
Cut a strip of seaweed
Cut them into vertical pieces. You can make them thicker if you'd like.
Below are frequently asked questions about this spam musubi with teriyaki sauce:
How to Store Spam Musubi?
Tightly wrap each musubi in plastic wrap and it will stay moist up to 12 hours.
How long will Spam Musubi last?
Spam musubi is best consumed same day. If your refrigerate it, the cold from the fridge will make the rice go hard. If you want to make this in advance to consume later, prepare the individual components (except for the nori) and store them in individual containers. Then when you're ready to enjoy this handheld treat, warm up the components and create your musubi using the can. On the day of consumption, cut the nori into strips to wrap around the spam and block of white rice.
How to reheat spam musubi?
The microwave is the best method of warming up spam musubi.
Can I use normal grains of rice?
No, sushi rice or short grain rice is required for it's sticky texture.
Is there anything else I can add to my musubi?
Feel free to add a single layer of egg, or avocado or any veggies that you wish! There are countless ways to enjoy this Hawaiian cuisine.
Other recipes you may like!
If you enjoyed my teriyaki spam musubi recipe, you may enjoy these other recipes:
- Spicy Tuna Onigiri
- Japanese Tuna Onigiri
- Bulgogi Beef Triangle Kimbap
- Cheese Kimchi Kimbap
- Tenmusu (Shrimp Tempura Rice Ball)
- Pork Katsu Onigirazu
- Korean Tuna Mayo Rice Balls
- Folded Kimbap
- Sushi Bake
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Easy Spam Musubi
- Rinse your uncooked rice in water a few times. Then boil it until cooked. Season hot rice with sugar, salt and rice vinegar. Cover and let it cool down as you prepare other ingredients.
- Lay spam flat on the cutting board. Slice spam into 5 equal pieces. Clean and reserve the spam can for later.
- In a bowl, combine regular soy sauce, mirin, and sake.
- In a large nonstick pan over medium heat, add vegetable oil and fry spam for 1 ½ to 2 minutes per side, until pinkish golden.
- Pour sauce over spam and let it fry in sauce for 1 minute on each side. Remove spam from hot pan and transfer to an oiled plate to prevent the spam from sticking to plate. Do not leave spam in pan as the teriyaki glaze will start to burn it with the residual heat.
- Line the spam can with a large piece of plastic wrap.
- Divide seasoned rice into 5 equal portions using a wet rice paddle. Scoop 1 portion into base of lined spam can. Cover the rice with the plastic wrap. Then using your fingers, pack the rice into base of can until top is flat. Be careful not to cut yourself along the edges of the can, feel free to use a utensil to help you with this step.
- Remove the rice from can by pulling the cling film out and unwrap it.
- Cut your nori sheet horizontally into 5 equal sized strips.
- Wet your hands and place a piece of glazed spam on top.
- Wrap a strip of nori around it. Repeat process for remaining ingredients. Enjoy!