Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Morning Musubi

Fried Spam, nori and press at the ready.

Spam Musubi.

That's it. That's all you need to know: Spam Musubi.

The ubiquitous Hawaii snack/meal is essentially the perfect sandwich. A balance of sweet, salty, sour, bitter, spicy and umami - well, spicy if you add some spice, or use Tabasco Spam. Take a slice of Spam, fry it up in a down and dirty teriyaki sauce, add a dash of Tabasco, top over steamed rice and wrap in nori. Amazing.

It's been something I've been thinking of adding to the menu at project hampden, but first, I need to understand how to make it. You see, in Hawaii, it's everywhere. You don't need to make it if you live in Hawaii, everyone else is making them so why bother? You can even get Spam Musubi (along with variants) at 7-Eleven.

Pressing the rice.

For today's Spam Musubi, I'm using a simple California medium grain rice, Japanese nori, Hormel Spam and a down and dirty teriyaki sauce made from soy sauce and sugar. The secret battle ingredient? Aloha Shoyu - that island made soy sauce that's light, nutty and refreshing. It is the flavor of Hawaii and I spend incredible amounts of money laying my hands on the stuff.

The other key? A Musubi Press. Those of you in California (and maybe living near the Mitsua Marketplace in New Jersey) probably can get it, but I get mine straight from Honolulu where I know it's going to be right - the mold fits a slice of Spam exactly. Beautiful.

A bounty of Spam Musubi!

Simply marinade the Spam (marinading Spam, that's got to be ironic) in the sauce, pan fry until it's caramelized and set aside. Cut the nori into strips and lay a slice of Spam across the nori, put the press in place, add the rice and press to form the shape. Pull the mold, wrap the nori tight and you're done! Spam Musubi 101.

Now, if only I knew some girls from Hawaii I could seduce over lunch today...