Bite-Size Spam Musubi with Green Tea Furikake

There is no snack that Hawaiians and locals love more than SPAM Musubi.  I don’t make these very often as I have a love-hate relationship with SPAM, but whenever I head out to Hawaii I am always reminded of how iconic this specialty is in Hawaiian food culture.  And yes, as crazy as it is to say, SPAM musubi are incredibly tasty!

During my college years at UCLA, I participated in an exchange program to study Asian American culture at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.  Near my dorm, a local food truck would park itself along the pathway I took to my classes, well-stocked with piping hot SPAM musubis every morning.  I would often pick up a SPAM musubi on the way to sessions, wondering how a snack so seemingly odd could be so delicious.

If we are talking about Asian American food culture, there couldn’t be a specialty more representative of the idea than SPAM Musubi itself.  During WWII, American-made SPAM was actually shipped abroad to feed allied troops.  Musubi, also known as onigiri, refers to a Japanese white rice snack paired with something salty or sweet.  Who would have thought the two ingredients would make such a popular and iconic pairing?

You can tell from these SPAM musubi pillows in the window of a gift shop in Downtown Honolulu that I really wasn’t kidding then I said that this snack is much-loved in Hawaii.  I was really tempted to get one of these, but made the adult decision not to.  If I got a few of them, how fun would my next pillow fight be!?

There isn’t much to making a musubi, the most difficult thing is getting a musubi maker to make all sushi pieces look nice and neat.  I’ve mini-fied my musubis, where 1 regular sized musubi is cut into 3 smaller ones.  These are perfect for a summer party or luau.

I got my musubi maker at Marukai, a Japanese grocery store in Los Angeles.  If you can’t find one, no biggie–just shape the rice into rectangular pieces about the size of a tic tac box, perhaps a bit thicker.

In Japanese cooking, furikake is a condiment that’s commonly scattered over hot rice.  The most common furikake seasonings have flakes of nori (dried seaweed), sesame seeds, or even bonito flakes in the mix, and are commonly used in musubi making.

sencha tin for furikakeWhat makes my musubi recipe extra special is my Green Tea Furikake that’s used to sprinkle over the rice layer of this onigiri.  As you can see from my Homemade Washi Tea Tin, the mix is made with sencha green tea, a steamed Japanese green tea with a spinach-like taste.  Korean red pepper flakes and toasted sesame seeds are also in my Green Tea Furikake, which I originally used to scatter over popcorn as a snack.  Here, sprinkling this mixture over hot or warm rice helps to soften and bloom the tea, and the result is a musubi with a slight vegetal taste and boost of umami flavor.

And if you are feeling a bit lazy like I often do, you can skip the sushi making entirely and just place all the cooked musubi ingredients into a bowl.  I got the idea to do this after Ngan over at Ngan Made It fried up some Panko Breaded Shrimp the other day.  All the same tastes without the fuss–what a clever idea Ngan!

If you want a true taste of Hawaii, this is the recipe where it starts.  Wrapped in little musubi packages or tossed in a bowl, these Bite-Size Spam Musubi are a simple way to appreciate the melding of Asian and American cultures in the islands.  Be generous with the Green Tea Furikake–it’s that little something special that makes these local treats taste over-the-top amazing!

Bite-Size Spam Musubi with Green Tea Furikake

Makes 24 mini musubis.

Ingredients:  

1 can of Lite SPAM

3 Tbsp low-sodium teriyaki sauce or 3 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce mixed with 1-2 tsp of brown sugar

4 cups just-cooked medium or short grain white rice (I used Calrose), cooled to a temperature where you can handle it with your hands

4 sheets Nori dried seaweed

Green Tea Furikake

Equipment:

sharp chef’s knife

frying pan

small bowl

large piece of plastic wrap

scissors

musubi maker (optional)

bowl of water for making sushi

worksurface

Directions:

1.)  Cut the SPAM.  From each can of SPAM, you should get 8 large pieces (and 24 small pieces, enough for 24 Bite-Size Musubi).  Slide the meat out of the package, then cut once in the middle to create two halves.

Cut each half into half again, then each of those halves into half again.

Since we are making Bite-Size/Mini Spam Musubi, now sit the pieces up on their base and cut so that you get 3 pieces of mini SPAM from each of the regular size pieces.

2.)  Dunk each slice of meat in to some teriyaki sauce.  Just lighty coat the pieces and shake off any excess.

3.)  Pan fry the slices on a hot pan set on low heat for 5-7 minutes, or until you get a bit of a glazed crust on each piece.

4.)  Prep a work surface by laying down a large sheet of plastic wrap.  With wet hands, scoop some of the prepared rice into a musubi maker that has just been run under cold water (this prevents sticking).  Place enough rice in the mold so that when it is evenly compressed, it reaches 1″ up the mold.  For my mold, I used about a 1/2 cup of cooked rice.

rice in musubi maker5.)  Push the rice block out of the mold using the top piece of the musubi maker.

6.)  Generously sprinkle the Green Tea Furikake on the rice block.

7.)  Place the pan-fried pieces of SPAM on the furikake sprinkled rice block, then use a sharp knife just run under cold water to cut out 3 mini musubis.

8.)  Roll each musubi in a 1″ strip of nori cut with scissors, using dabs of water to adhere and seal the nori around the musubi.

Try these Bite-Size Spam Musubi with some of Lupicia Fresh Tea’s Hua Ki tropical Hawaiian Blend and mahalo for stopping by!!

23 thoughts on “Bite-Size Spam Musubi with Green Tea Furikake

    • Awesome Courtney, hope you do! They are super easy to make and only require a few basic Asian ingredients. Thanks for stopping by and Happy Monday! 😉

  1. You know, I think I have never eaten spam. Never appealed. That is until now, cause oh my this looks so fabulous!

    • Ya, that’s the thing, for a lot of people spam doesn’t appeal until you have a musubi in Hawaii. I am one of these people and I know for a fact that there are many others out there like me. When I mentioned *love-hate* it’s really true. =)

  2. Oh my, this is a weakness of mine when I go to Hawaii. I never have spam outside of Hawaii, but when I’m there, I do crave it constantly. Thank you for the shout-out; after I made those little maki, I did think about making musubi, but didn’t know how! Now I do, thanks to you, Bonnie. These look delicious with the Furikake tea. Did you flavor the sushi rice or is it left just plain?

    • Hey Ngan!
      So the rice here is actually left completely plain. Apparently, this is what distinguishes an onigiri (plain rice ball paired with something salty or sweet) from sushi, where the rice is seasoned with vinegar, sugar, and salt. This also makes them even simpler to make. You can make musubi with many different items on top. When we were in Hawaii, they had hot dog musubi, chicken katsu musubi, even teriyaki chicken musubi. In fact, you could easily put some of your Panko Shrimp on top of a rice ball and there you go, you’d have Panko Shrimp Musubi! Ok, that sounds really good!! Thanks for the inspiration, Happy Monday Ngan! =)

  3. Ahh, I adore Spam musubi!! I was trying to be healthy with my smoothie lunch, and now that’s pretty much ruined. Hah! Bonnie Stewart, everything you make is perfect. 🙂

  4. Spam musubi totally remind me of Hawaii!! We had these the day after we got married while on the Road to Hana. Your musubi are so cute and perfect!

    • Snacking on musubi while on the Road to Hana? Sounds heavenly! Any girl deserves some spam musubi on the day after her wedding, and not the mini ones either! =)

  5. i confessed to my husband recently that i like SPAM (this didn’t surprise him, as i adore gas station hot dogs when road tripping… i know…) and i keep meaning to buy some (there’s no such thing as organic SPAM right?) so i can introduce him to the horrors/wonder of this product. these are perfect for picnicking, which is something i’ve been obsessed with lately.

    • Ooo picknicking! Where do you go out picknicking Lan? I love a good picnic–I feel like it’s a past time that’s enjoyed less and less these days. If you take these musubi out on your picknicking adventures, you could wrap them in clear plastic wrap for easy eating.

      And organic SPAM? No, last time I checked, none to be found…I’ll keep my eye out though! 😉

  6. I have no idea there is a musubi maker! Wow, kind of wanna get one now. Hawaii definitely has some interesting fusion food. I do like spam, especially those spam musubi pillows! I love the idea of green tea furikake. Looks pretty and must add a lot of flavors to the rice. Pinning!

    • Clever! I was using water but I can see that using oil instead would work out that much better, especially if someone is making a bunch of these! Great tip, thanks for stopping by! 😉

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