Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Spam Musubi

Don't be frightened. Spam sushi is delicious. Hawaii has a pretty unique cuisine. Part Polynesian, part Asian, and part 50's American. It's the only place you will find a beautiful banana steamed fillet of mahimahi with a side of macaroni salad. I love Hawaiian food. Some of my favorite foods come from Hawaii. Loco Moco is a guilty breakfast treat that I will stop whatever I'm doing for just a taste. It's basically a hamburger patty on a mound of white rice, topped with gravy and a fried egg. Oh, and there's pork lau lau which is pork that is marinaded and then steamed off wrapped in taro leaves. I could eat that everynight and be happy. My favorite of the bunch is Spam musubi. Introduced to Hawaii during World War II by U.S. troops, Spam became a popular treat to the locals especially due to the fact that it didn't need refrigeration. It's basically just a pressed block of pork shoulder and ham. Everyone I have ever had the pleasure of feeding Spam musubi have become addicted to the treat despite their initial reluctance. Try it. You'll really, really like it.

Spam Musubi

2 cups short grain sushi/sticky rice
1 Tbsp sake
3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups water

3 sheets of sushi nori, cut into 2" long strips
1 (12oz) can Spam
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp chili garlic paste
1 Tbsp teriyaki sauce
peanut oil, for frying

Slice the Spam into 1/2" slices. Mix together the soy sauce, sugar, chili garlic, and teriyaki sauce. Marinate the spam in the mixture for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

In the meantime, to make the sushi rice, rinse the rice until the water becomes clear. Put the rice, water, and sake in a rice cooker. Let it sit for 20 minutes and then turn the rice cooker on. When the rice cooker turns off let the rice sit for 10 minutes covered. In a small pan mix together the vinegar, sugar, and salt and heat until the sugar and salt dissolve. Remove the rice to a large bowl and mix in the vinegar mixture until well incorporated. Let the rice cool to room temperature.

In a large frying pan over medium high heat add 1 Tbsp peanut oil. Remove the Spam from the marinade and fry the Spam until golden on both sides (about 2 minutes a side). On a clean surface set aside a bowl of cool water. Lay down a strip of nori. Center a slice of Spam on top so that the nori is laying underneath and coming out evenly on both sides. Dip your hands into the cool water and grab about 3-4 Tbsp of rice. Mold the rice into a compacted oval shape. Place on top of the Spam slice and pat it down, smoothing out the edges so it resembles the shape of the Spam. Pull up the sides of the nori so that they overlap and gently pull them tight pressing them together. If they don't stick together just dab your finger in water and touch the nori to seal.

You can serve them with a little soy sauce, or wasabi, or just eat them as is. A great portable snack. Enjoy.

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