I don’t eat Spam. It’s a fascinating food-stuff, and if I ate meat, I would probably try it, although I have vague memories of it from childhood, so no, probably not. I mean, the main reason I quit eating meat in the first place is because I didn’t like it. When I got old enough to be able to opt out of what I then considered gross child abuse, I did so with alacrity.
Nonetheless, the idea of musubi interests me. It’s a cultural mish-mash of ingredients with a devoted, nearly fanatical, following. Hawaiian friends have shaken their heads at me for decades, pitying me for missing The World’s Most Perfect Food.
So, today, I took it into my head to attempt to create a salmon musubi. I mean, Spam is used because it was available to Hawaiians and post-WWII Japanese; here in the PNW, canned salmon is an obvious substitute.
7-8 oz Salmon filling
1.5 c cooked sushi rice, plain or seasoned to taste (I steam mine with a sheet of seasoned kombu and a tbsp of mirin. Yummy!)
1 sheet nori
For the salmon filling:
1 can skinned wild salmon (7 or 8 oz, usually)
1/2 tsp prepared wasabi
2 tsp mayo
1 tsp tamari
1/2 tsp lemon juice
Mash together all the filling ingredients to form a thick paste. Trim your nori to fit the width of your musubi mold (or whatever you are using to fake it. I used two small, tin loaf pans.) Line your mold with cling wrap, with enough hanging over to completely wrap the musubi when you are done layering.
Press a layer of warm rice into the bottom of the mold, very firmly. Really pack it in, to form a layer almost half an inch thick. Sprinkle rice with furikake. Spoon in the salmon filling, and pack it down to form an even layer about the same thickness as your rice. Sprinkle furikake over filling. Add another layer of rice, pressing firmly, again.
Fold the nori over the top of the rice, press gently, then fold down the cling wrap. Your musubi cake should be completely covered. Press the top of the musubi mold, or the other loaf pan, down on the protected musubi cake to compact it a little more.
Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve by unmolding the musubi (and then slicing it to size if you used a loaf pan as a mold). Remove the cling wrap. Eat cold, or briefly pan fry in a dry skillet to crisp up the nori, whichever you prefer.
Obviously, this is an interpretation of musubi, but I think it maintains the spirit of the original: salty, starchy, and sweet, featuring a common and cheap protein, with rice, &c. My salmon version may offend purists, but since Spam musubi is itself an adaptation, I have doubts about any claims to the purity of the ingredients and their preparation.
Also, the salmon version is exquisitely tasty. This will definitely go into bento rotation.