Spam Musubi Recipe and Assembly

If you’ve found this page, there’s no doubt you’ve experienced the textures and flavors of the famed Spam Musubi, and are looking to assemble your own.

The popular Hawaiian street-food and mock Sushi roll is said to date back to WWII and may have been born of necessity by Japanese prisoners held in internment camps. This theory holds merit in that Spam is an inexpensive salty meat with a long shelf life requiring no refrigeration that could be distributed over long distances by the US army to its soldiers and prisoners.

Regardless of its origin Spam Musubi is an excellent snack for anyone longing to experience sunshine, travel, and exotic flavors.

To get started you’ll find an ingredient list below including optional items, preparation instructions, and some commentary on these instructions to keep you focused as you wind your way through the process of homemade Spam Musubi.

Musubi Ingredients:
3 cups of steamed white rice (short grain)
1 can of Spam (7 or 12 oz.)
Nori (Roasted Seaweed) Sushi Paper
Soy-Teryaki Sauce (recipe for homemade below)
1 Musubi Mold (or 7 oz. Spam Can, see commentary below)
* Optional: Furikake Rice Seasoning, Sushi Powder Vinegar
** You will also need a small to medium pot, and a baking sheet or frying pan.
– – –
Soy Teryaki Glaze Ingredients: equal parts sugar, water and shoyu (or soy sauce).
* Optional: 1-2 tbsp Corn Starch, Sesame Oil
First time? A third cup of each, and experiment with your quantity needs in future iterations.

How to Prepare Your Ingredients

  1. Rice. Prepare 2-3 cups of white rice, preferably using a rice maker, yielding roughly 4-6 cups of cooked rice. Rice steaming takes 35 – 45 minutes depending on your device and tenderness preference, giving you ample time to prepare all the other parts of your Musubi.
  2. Nori. Using a clean kitchen scissors, cut your Nori roasted seaweed sheets in half, to the width of your Musubi mold, or Spam can, then set aside.
  3. Spam. Empty your Spam onto a cutting board, and slice into thick even pieces. You should be able to produce eight slices from a 12 ounce can by cutting the block(s) in half continuously and as congruently as possible.
  4. Preheat Oven. Line a baking sheet (the smaller the better) with tin foil, and lay your spam, then preheat your oven to 450 or 500 degrees.
  5. Soy-Teriyaki Glaze. In a small or medium pot stir to combine equal parts water, sugar and shoyu (or soy sauce) over medium or medium-low heat. If the mixture is too runny for your taste, add corn starch to thicken starting with a half or full tablespoon. Set aside, allowing to cool, but do not refrigerate.
  6. Bake Spam. 6 – 10 minutes in your oven to desired state of browning and roast.

Preparing your Spam Musubi Rolls

With all of your ingredients ready to assemble, I recommend having them within arms reach in order to assemble the rolls as fluidly and systematically as possible. Have a plate, cutting board, or smooth clean surface you can work on to form your Musubi.

  1. Place slice of Nori in front of you, in any direction, and place the mold or Spam can perpendicular across the Nori.
  2. Scoop a modest portion of steamed rice into the mold onto the Nori paper, and press firmly using the lid to your mold, or a spoon.
  3. At this point it is a popular custom to sprinkle the rice with a light dusting of Furikake rice seasoning.
  4. Dip or otherwise coat a slice of oven roasted Spam in Teriyaki and place in the mold atop the first layer of rice.
  5. Scoop a similar portion of rice on top of the Spam and press firmly on the rice using a spoon or the lid to your mold.
  6. Pressing the lid of your mold down firmly on the layers of Musubi, slide the mold upward to remove it from the roll, then lift away your lid.
  7. Wrap one end of your Nori over the roll as tightly as you can, then wrap the other end over. The moisture of the rice will cause the wrap to wilt slightly helping the wrapper to adhere.
  8. Dip the spoon or the tip of your finger into the Teriyaki and spread it lightly where the Nori overlaps as an adhesive to seal the wrap.
  9. Set aside your completed roll and repeat until you have used all of your Spam.

Recipe Commentary. 

  • Rice 1. Once your rice is ready I would recommend scooping 3 – 4 cups into a bowl, or removing the steaming pot from the steamer to cool slightly. Rice out of the steamer is very hot and can burn your fingertips when it comes time to wrapping the roll.
  • Rice 2. Since Musubi is considered a “sushi roll” you may want to prepare sushi rice. Normally sushi rice is typically prepared by adding some rice vinegar to the steamed rice. This comes in liquid or powdered form. Hawaiians typically lean toward the powdered for its convenience, and inexpensive price tag. You decide. I normally do not add the vinegar, working solely with the steamed white rice.
  • Spam. Another popular method for preparing the Spam is to fry it in a pan. Some will even sauté the Spam with their Teriyaki. I prefer the oven because it is hands off, and relatively low mess. It frees me up to focus my attention on the Soy-Teriyaki glaze.
  • Soy-Teriyaki Glaze 1. I add 1 – 2 tbsp of cornstarch to my glaze to thicken it slightly. Before adding I will sift the corn starch once or twice through a kitchen sieve to keep it from lumping. And sometimes I combine the corn starch with 1-2 tbsp of water so it is dissolved before I add it to the glaze mixture in the pot. Stir a few times and wait for it to thicken.
  • Soy-Teriyaki Glaze 2. The mixture can go from simmer to boiling and sputtering very quickly, so I advise keeping an eye on it from start to finish. Stirring and reducing the heat will help keep it from evaporating, and crusting up your pot. Remove from heat and let cool before assembling your Musubi roll.
  • Soy-Teriyake Glaze 3. Another popular tip for this homemade recipe is to add a dash of Sesame Oil. It is an essential ingredient of Chinese cooking in general. Some people love it, some people hate it.
  • Furikake. The popular Japanese rice seasoning comes in several varieties, take your pick. It is not a requirement of the recipe, but a popular addition. If not adding in assembling the roll, you can sprinkle or press the end of your roll into the seasoning for a textured effect.
  • Musubi Mold 1. If you don’t have a Musubi Mold you can use a 7 oz Spam can as your mold. Your assembly results may be less consistent from roll to roll, but are equally as tasty. I recommend rinsing the can in water between rolls making it easy for the roll to remove the roll from the can each time. Warm rice and the teriyaki glaze will make things sticky from roll to roll.
  • Musubi Mold 2. If you are using a Musubi mold or press I recommend rinsing the mold and lid between rolls to remove sticky residue from the warm rice and teriyaki glaze. Musubi molds come in several sizes and varieties, and are very inexpensive.
  • Musubi Rolls. If you plan to slice your roll into bite sized pieces, I would recommend using a serrated knife as the wilted seaweed wrap is highly sensitive to tearing.
  • Storing Rolls. Wrap rolls individually using clear plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 2 days. You can eat them cold from the refrigerator, or heat them up in the microwave in less than a minute.

Do you agree with Bill Gates?

I came across the following Top 11 list on Facebook – and thought I would share it with you.   Whether the event depicted below actually happened or not, I’m happy with the message, and I would go back to high school and do a few things over if I could.  Despite my own misconceptions and mistakes, I’m glad I went to high school in the 90s rather than today.   Comments?

I wish Bill had spoken at my high school graduation.

I wish Bill Gates had spoken at my high school graduation.

As the post reads: Bill Gates recently gave a Commencement speech at a High School about 11 things they did not and will not learn in school. He talks about how feel-good, politically correct teachings created a generation of kids with no concept of reality and how this concept set them up for failure in the real world.

Rule 1: Life is not fair – get used to it!

Rule 2: The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

Rule 6: If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes; learn from them.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent’s generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.

Having worked my share of restaurant and retail jobs, I couldn’t agree more with #5, and neither I suspect would Wolfgang Puck or Anthony Bourdain.  Living and learning rule #9 is the worst, but it feels good once the transition has passed.  I’m teaching Rule #11 to my step-children now who think they’re “tough, or cool, or hot,” from time to time, especially when they are not.

As for #7 I’m pretty sure my parents were as boring before I was born if not more.  After all, they’re NERDS!

Siam Pasta

Dining on Dempster

This was my first time there, and will certainly not my last.  My GF and I rolled up on our bikes, and chained up to a parking meter outside 0f Siam Pasta.  We had both never been there, but thought it was time to try it out.  We found that SP has great outdoor seating (on a rooftop nonetheless,) very good service, and an expansive Thai menu with decent pricing.

Siam Pasta Spring Rolls

We ordered the Vegetable Rolls which were Jumbo sized, and in my opnion a little heavy on the plum sauce. They weren’t exactly swimming, but I prefer it as a decoration, then a staple of the dish.  We also had the cucumber salad.  It was basic, and refreshing, not too tangy.

Spring Rolls (menu)
Fresh Thai Salad Rolls filled w. steamed bean sprouts, cucumber, cooked tofu & scrambled eggs covered w. plum sauce.

Then we ordered the Panang Noodle with chicken which are crispy wide noodles topped in a curry flavored chili paste.  The noodles were actually crispy and not soggy as I had experienced at Vong’s Thai Kitchen in Chicago, but that’s a whole other review.

Siam Pasta Outdoor SeatingI would normally avoid neighborhood restaurants in Evanston south of Grove avenue, but this Dempster location is understated, and quiet which makes it that much more of a find.  Not over crowded, not trendy and not pretentious; opened my eyes to Evanston dining outside the campus area.  Authentic Thai staff, authentic Thai food, Authentic Thai experience.

World Class Soccer

'Cornetas' also known as Vuvuzelas

'Cornetas' also known as Vuvuzelas

In 2009 I attended both a Gold Cup semi-final and a Word Cup qualifier.  In both matches: USA vs Honduras.

Both times the happy Honduran fans brought both the noise and the numbers.  The sea of blue and white was impressive, and the first I’d ever heard of a “Vuvuzela” was at those games but it was called “corneta” by the Latin Americans.  I still didn’t know then that I would one day learn the word “Vuvuzela.”

All game it was an atmosphere of Carnivale.  Singing, cheering, drinking, and Spanish were heard all around me not to mention the cornetas.    Below me one row was Alex, a Honduran fan who coupled his trip to America with soccer and family, and beside me some American Fans.  All game I talked with Alex about Honduras, and he was excited to speak English.  He did have to dig some for full sentences, but I knew what he wanted to say and lots of hi-fives and shared soccer moments later he was like a new one-off friend.

Jozy Altadore battles two Honduran defenders (June 2006)

Jozy Altadore battles two Honduran defenders (June 2006)

The last 15 minutes of the match were intense.  Honduras were playing well, but the US were ahead 2-1 and their side just was not cutting it.  It would seem our foreign visitors and their local counter-parts had lost their national vigor and accepted the loss as a personal one.  Which made leaving the stadium bitter-sweet.

While the US had won the match on home ground, it would seem Honduras were truly the home team and they had lost at home.

Q: When did you find out that the ‘soccer horns’ were in fact Vuvuzelas?
While watching the confederations cup in 2009 the Vuvuzelas were more rampant than I or anyone had ever heard them and were becoming a concern for both broadcasters and players on the field.  The Vuvuzela not only became a popular talking point but a heated one as FIFA would have to decide between allowing or disallowing the soccer horns into world cup stadiums.

Q: What more can you tell us about the Vuvuzela?
Traditionally made and inspired from a kudu horn, the vuvuzela was used to summon distant villagers to attend community gatherings;  much like a . . Anyone? Can anyone guess . . . ? A Shofar.  A Vuvuzela is essentially a Shofar and vice-versa.

Q: Do you find that to be a strange coincidence?
A: Not really, but damn those things are loud.

An Education

Somehow in the last 3 months I’ve managed to see 5 of the 10 films nominated for Best Picture and IMO, this movie was really something special

Plot Summary: The film takes place in 1960’s London (or specifically the suburb of Twickenham).  Sixteen year old Jenny lives with her parents. On her father’s wishes, everything that Jenny does is in the sole pursuit of being accepted into Oxford, as he wants a better life for her than he had.  Jenny Moller is bright, pretty, hard working but also naturally gifted.  Her life changes after she meets David Goldman, a man over twice her age; who goes out of his way to show Jenny and her family that his interest in her is not improper. He solely wants to expose her to cultural activities, which she enjoys. Jenny quickly gets accustomed to the life to which David and his constant companions, Danny and Helen, have shown her, and their relationship becomes a romantic one.  Jenny, however, slowly learns more about David, and Continue reading