Almost every Korean kid probably grew up eating Spam. I used to make Spam + rice all the time after school. Mostly, because it was so quick yet comforting for me. Plus, we always had a few cans available in our pantry.
I kind of have a weird thing about processed meats, unless I know exactly what’s in it. BUT spam is an exemption for me! Spam was AND still is used in a lot of Korean dishes in our home, such as Kimchi Stew (Kimchi Jigae), Korean Army Stew (Budae Jigae), Kimchi Fried Rice, to name a few.
What is SPAM?
SPAM is a brand of canned pork, made by Homel Foods. Spam x Korean dishes go way back, this canned food was first introduced to South Korea by the US Army.
After some research, I found from this article, that Spam was introduced to Koreans during the Korean War. It was considered a luxury food that people would even gift boxes of Spam to friends! Spam is so intertwined in Korean foods today, that it wouldn’t be the same without it.
Although I love to eat Spam and rice, I decided to change it up a bit!
Spam Musubi is perfect for lunch/bento boxes, as a snack or to make ahead for the next day. It’s made up of a slice of crispy grilled Spam, simmered in a sweet, salty, and tangy sauce then sandwiched between rice. It’s also sometimes put on top of rice but always wrapped in a nori sheet. It’s the absolute perfect balance of flavors, it’s sweet, salty, slightly tangy from the sauce, and subtly earthy from the nori.
This recipe makes 8 Spam musubis, I can only eat 2 because they are pretty hearty and filling!
If you should have any leftovers, they keep well in the fridge wrapped/covered in some plastic wrap for up to 3 days.
To reheat: Place Spam musubi on a microwave-safe plate and cover with a damp paper towel. Reheat in the microwave for 1 minute.
*Note: The nori won’t be as crisp as the first day you made them, but the rice will be just as fluffy as fresh rice.
What you’ll need for Spam Musubi:
- Spam ( save the tin to use as a mold)
- cooked rice
- Japanese Furikake seasoning
- eggs (optional)
- soy sauce
- sweet rice wine vinegar
- nori sheets
How to make Spam Musubi:
- Slice the spam + cook. Cut the spam into 8 slices. (Optional: cut the slices thicker if you’d prefer)
- Sear the spam on a heated pan. Heat a shallow pan on medium-high heat and sear the spam slices in one single layer, for about 3 minutes on each side.
- Make the cooking sauce for spam. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, sweet rice vinegar, and sugar. Mix well to combine.
- Simmer the sauce. Add the sauce to the pan. Simmer the sauce on low heat for about 5 minutes. Transfer the spam slices to a plate and set aside.
- Cook the eggs. In a bowl, crack and beat 2 eggs. Heat a pan on low-medium heat and cook the beaten eggs.
- Assemble. Rinse and line the inside of the empty spam tin with plastic wrap. We will be using this as a mold! Add about 3 tablespoons of cooked rice to the tin and flatten. Sprinkle some furikake seasoning on top of the rice, then layer a slice of spam. Sprinkle another layer of furikake seasoning on top of the spam slice. Add the last layer of 3 tablespoons of rice. Use your fingers to gently flatten down all the layers. Carefully remove the spam and rice layers by pulling up the sides of the plastic wrap.
- Cut half of a nori sheet. Take the cut 1/2 piece of the nori sheet and carefully wrap around the spam sammies. Enjoy as a whole or cut the spam musubi in half, like me!
- For the rice, I used short-grain rice. This texture of the rice is stickier than long-grain rice, allowing the rice to hold together better. Feel free to adjust the amount of rice if you want more rice!
- When molding the Spam musubi, I made sure to use long pieces of plastic wrap for lining the inside of the tin. This helps when you pull up the layered Spam musubi. Alternatively, you can just flip the mold upside down and tap the bottom of the tin to pop out the Spam musubi.
- 1 can Spam sliced
- 3 cup short grain rice cooked
- 4 tbsp Japanese Furikake seasoning
- 2 eggs optional
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp sweet rice wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 4 nori sheets cut into ½ pieces
- vegetable oil for cooking
- Cut the spam into 8 slices and set aside. Rinse out the empty Spam tin and save for molding later on.
- Heat about 1-2 tablespoons of oil in a shallow pan on medium-high heat and sear the Spam slices in a single layer. Grill for about 3 minutes on each side.
- In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, sweet rice wine vinegar, and sugar. Stir and mix well. Pour the soy sauce mixture into the pan with the seared Spam slices. Adjust the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Take the Spam slices off the heat and set aside.
- In another bowl, beat 2 cracked eggs using a whisk. Heat about 1 tablespoon of oil on a small pan. Add the beaten egg mixture and cook on low heat for 2 minutes, flip to cook the other side. Take the egg off the heat and set aside to cool.
- Place the sheet of egg on a cutting board and use the Spam tin to press out 8 pieces. It is okay if they don’t turn out perfect since these will be layered in the middle of the Spam musubi and not as noticeable.
- To assemble, line the inside of the empty Spam tin with plastic wrap. Add 3 tablespoons of cooked rice to the mold and pat down flat. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of furikake seasoning on top of the first layer of rice. Next, add a slice of Spam and egg (optional) to the mold, sprinkle another 1/4 teaspoon of furikake seasoning. Lastly, add 3 more tablespoons of cooked rice and pat down to flatten.
- Carefully remove the layers of Spam musubi out of the mold and wrap in a nori sheet. Enjoy as a whole or cut in half!
To reheat: place leftover Spam musubis on a microwave-safe plate and cover with a damp paper towel. Reheat in the microwave for 1 minute. Keep in mind that the nori will not be as crisp as the first day it was made, but still just as delicious!