Monday, April 16, 2012

The Glory Of Spam, A "How To"

It was a couple years ago, during the first year of this administration I think. President Obama had left D.C. to spend some recreation time in his home state of Hawaii.

Of course, the media followed him like flies on horse shit, reporting his every move.
At one point, The President had ordered some grub at a lunch counter where one of his requested items was Spam Musubi.
This was a little exotic for the press corps. By their reaction you'd think it was Romney learning about grits or something.
Buncha morons... all of them.

Begs the question: How does one rise up through the ranks after attending the better schools and still be clueless about a popular Hawaiian soul food dish?

Well, I've finally done it at home. Grabbed a press on-line, and went for it, making Spam Musubi for dinner... two nights in a row. Woo...... Hoo!
Yeah... living the good life here, yes I do.

Here's how it's done:
First, get yerself a musubi press. Try Ebay or something.
I'll wait....

Ok, you got it?
Awright, now you gotta get the ingredients.

You will need:
- One package of nori. Also called seaweed paper, seaweed wrap... or sushinori.
It comes in standard size sheets or half-sheets. In the pic are standard sheets. You will need to cut them down the middle lengthwise.
Use scissors if you want. I just pulled that stack out of the package, laid them on a cutting board and used a soduku, pressing firmly.

- Some teriyaki sauce. Not that much, maybe a 1/4 to a 1/2 cup.

- One can of Spam. Just regular 'classic' Spam. Don't waste your time on the various varieties of less-unhealthy, more-spicy, or fowl-derived Spam. Those ain't Spam. This recipe calls for Spam. The Real Thing. Just get Spam, OK?

- About 1.5 cups of uncooked rice.
Now, pay attention here. Do NOT use Uncle Ben's, Jasmine, Basmati or Minute Rice. For this you will need real Japanese-variety of rice. Either a short-grained 'sushi' rice or the medium-grained, like Cal-Rose variety.
It's gotta be sticky when cooked. Use the wrong kind (stay way from Chinese/Uncle Ben's/Vietnamese/Thai varieties) and this thing just will not work.
I'm using Cal-Rose rice today. Mainly because I always have it on hand, and it is half the price of officially labeled 'sushi rice'. It works just as well.

- One musubi press. You should know what that is by know, since you already ordered it online per my instructions.

Cook the rice per the instructions on the bag, or use a rice cooker. A rice cooker is a standard appliance for me, much like a toaster. It was the 'get the hell outta here' gift from my folks when I moved out of their house the first (and only) time.
Hey, Gardena boy here, raised around sushi take-out and taco shops ... I've said that already.

-- Next: Take the Spam loaf out of the can and slice it into eighths. About a 1/4 inch width per slice.

-- Put a splash or two of the Teriyaki Sauce in a large non-stick skillet, on medium-high heat. When the sauce is hot, arrange your Spam slices and let cook for a few minutes.

The Teriyaki Sauce will burn and blacken a bit. That's cool. It caramelizes the sugars and acts as a tasty glaze for your Spam.
Add another splash or two of sauce as it evaporates away.

-- Turn the Spam over and cook the other side.

<<< If it looks like this, yer doing fine.

When finished, leave the Spam in the pan, because grease and stuff is good for you, and you want your Spam to soak some of that up while yer working on the next step.

-- Place your Musubi mold over a sheet of rice paper. (Actually, the proper word for this paper is 'Nori'). Try to center it, OK?

-- Add some of the cooked rice to the mold, about a 1/4 cup should do.

Press down with the 'press' part of the mold.
Press down firmly. You want that rice packed and holding itself together.

-- Take a slice of Spam outta the pan and place it into the mold, on top of the packed rice layer.

Add another layer of rice on top of the Span slice, same as the first, and pack it firmly with the press.

--Holding the press handle firmly, lift the mold up and off the rice-Spam-rice stack.

Wrap the nori around, sealing the ends by smearing a few grains of the sticky rice around the edge of the nori.

--Slice into finger-sized portions and serve.

Often presented with mayonnaise or mustard as condiments, but this is not necessary. It tastes great on it's own, preferably fresh and warm.

A hint: I prefer an extra wrap of nori on top of the first.
The added crunch is pure awesomeness.


Brian said...

Nice pics!

I never heard of this stuff until I had a friend from Hawaii in grad school. It's pretty much unknown east of California.

Gino said...


i want help take spam musubi national. the president was a good start, gotta give the man credit where due.

Vanesa Littlecrow W. said...

Gino -- You are so awesome!

Night Writer said...

Looks good, I'll have to give it a try. My only experimentation to the recipe would be adding a line or two of Sriracha to the fried Spam before wrapping it up.

Gino said...

NW: i got reports from a hawaiian today that spicey spam works good too. so, maybe on the next go round i'll hit that up.

Foxfier said...

I like the low-sodium stuff myself, but I also prefer to soak the spam in the sauce and then fry it-- easier to clean.

Gino said...

that works too, but then i'd have another dish to clean.

Foxfier said...

*looks over at the fridge, guilty* ... not if you put it back in the can after slicing.... There's never a bowl that holds it right without wasting sauce, anyways.

Palm boy said...

Would it be heretical to jam some shredded carrots or sunflower seeds in one of these layers?

Gino said...

before you go and muck up perfection, try it without.
if you think changes are needed, well, it is a free country.