Spam Musubi: The perfect Hapa-Hillbilly treatMy Japanese-American friend Carol gave me a can of Spam for Christmas.
At first I wondered what she was trying to tell me, but since the can came with a lucite rice mold and a package of dried seaweed, the message was simple: Make Spam musubi.
Spam musubi, a simple snack consisting of steamed white rice topped with fried Spam and wrapped in seaweed, is one of our favorite guilty snacks during vacations in Hawaii. The popularity of Spam musubi among the Locals helps explain why the per capita consumption of Spam on the islands is four cans per person per year, higher than any state in the Union. (I hear that Hawaiians are 20% water and 80% Spam.)
But Hawaiians aren't the only ones who love their Spam. Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia is rumored to eat a fried Spam sandwich on white bread with mayo three times a week. Maybe that's why he's called the "king of pork barrel."
No matter how you slice it, Spam musubi is a perfect Hapa-Hillbilly treat, combining the low cost and convenience of the much-maligned canned meat with traditional Japanese white rice and seaweed.
The pale pink meat looks unappetizing straight out of the can. But fry it up and it turns a luscious brown caramel color. I used my new rice mold to form the base for the musubi, topped it with the fried Spam and then wrapped the concoction with a strip of seaweed.
After eating the Spam musubi, I had to admit that I like Spam-a-lot. While I was on a Spam roll, I decided to make Spam fried rice with the rice left over from the musubi.
Start by sauteing three chopped green onions and half a can of chopped Spam in a tablespoon of oil.
Move the sauteed meat mixture to the side and scramble two eggs in the well in the center. I learned this technique from Wandering Chopsticks.
Add 3 cups of day-old rice and one cup of frozen peas. Mix thoroughly and then add soy sauce to taste. I also added a tablespoon of fish sauce.
Top with freshly chopped cilantro.
The end result was surprisingly beautiful and delicious.
So don't be embarrassed. Sneak a can of Spam into your shopping cart and whip up these two easy treats. Your family will thank you.