SPAM BAM THANK YOU, MA'AM!
By Melissa Slaughter
SPAM is possibly the most divisive food product I’ve ever come across. It’s a punchline to a Monty Python sketch, it’s a World War II remnant, and it’s a Hawaiian favorite. I think that Spam is the perfect representation of Hapas. American wartime food that was adopted by Pacific cultures and turned into something entirely unique.
I grew up eating Spam for breakfast at my grandparents’ house as part of our “Japanese” breakfast (rice, eggs, spam, and miso soup.) But it wasn’t until I moved to Seattle that I got to eat Spam Musubi. And on one a fateful Chinese New Year, someone was kind enough to share the secret to great homemade Spam Musubi.
My Spam Musubi is more like a Spam maki Roll than a traditional Spam nigiri. You can customize your spam treat any way you want. Add eggs for a breakfast misubi. I add furikake (or as my family calls them "rice sprinkles") for added flavor. Get the Jalapeno-flavored Spam for extra kick. I’ve seen Hello Kitty Spam, Little Piggy Spam, and Totoro Spam. Get cooking and get creative!
1 can of Spam
Sesame Seeds or Furikake (optional)
The Spam can (Do NOT throw out.)
Step 1- The Rice
Cook your rice however you deem fit. I use 1 cup of white rice to two cups water in my tiny dorm size rice cooker. If you want more or less, totally your choice. Just make sure the rice sticks together.
If you don’t have a rice cooker, boil 1 ¾ water with a little bit of salt. Add 1 cup of rice into the boiling water. Place the heat on low and simmer for 18 minutes. It will bubble and boil. Do NOT lift the lid! Once time is up, remove the pot from the heat and let sit covered for another 5 minutes.
I like to add a little bit of rice vinegar, about 1 tsp. This makes the rice stick a little better, gives it a little flavor, and a little bit more of a shelflife.
Step 2- The Spam
Remove the Spam from the can. Yes, it’s gross. It looks like a naked mole rat. But what can you do? It’s canned meat. Cut it into 1cm slices. This will make about 8 slices of Spam. Wash the Spam can and set aside. DO NOT THROW AWAY!
Heat a sautepan on the stove at medium-high heat with only the tinest amount of oil. Once hot, place the slices of Spam on the pan and fry those suckers up! After a few minutes, flip the slices. They should be a golden brown and possibly a little bubbly. Place on a plate with a paper towel to collect some of the fat.
Resist the urge to eat the Spam straight from the pan.
Step 3- Assembly
Gather the spam, nori, sprinkles and rice.
If you have sushi nori sheets, fold them in half lengthwise and tear. They should be the same size as the Spam can.
In the can, layer rice, sprinkles, spam, sprinkles, and rice. Flip the can onto the nori sheet and roll. I try to close it with a little piece of rice at the end.
My ends tend to be a little messy. If yours are too, dip them in the furikake for decoration.
*Warning: these don’t last long! Usually no more than a day or two! So eat quickly and enjoy!
Melissa has lived in all four time zones in the contiguous United States. A former actor in Seattle, WA, Melissa now resides in NYC as a content creator. She is the producer of the We're Not All Ninjas podcast, which she also hosts with fellow Hapa Mag writer, Alex Chester. Melissa also writes for online blogs Nerdopiles and On Stage Blog. Find her @NotAllNinjasPod.