kruizing with kikukat

Monday, December 29, 2014

A Healthier Spam Musubi

Christmas came and went in the Kikukat house.  All decorations have since been put away, and the tree has gone to the tree graveyard.  I can't believe I waited until I was on vacation to get sick.  I managed to avoid catching a cold all semester, yet I somehow had to be sick at Christmas.  Being sick certainly put a damper on my enjoyment.  Bleccchhhh.  I'm a little better now, but I am still hacking away.  I hope to be better by New Years, especially since I've been tasked with making a bunch of desserts for a party at CAE's house.

Since we are on vacation, the Ds have been home with me and are always looking for food.  We have a pantry full of food they can have, but they never seem to like my suggestions.  I guess even Cup O Noodle gets boring.

D1 isn't too picky about food.  Her food range is huge so she can usually find something to eat.  D2 is my picky eater.  She seldom wants what we have.  For a quick lunch, I've driven up the road to Ainaola Mart to buy the Ds mini laulau plate, but I can't do that every day.

One thing both Ds like to eat is Spam musubi.  Spam Musubi is such a decadent dish.  Sure, it may have humble beginnings with the Spam, a relatively inexpensive filler (rice), and a thin seaweed wrapper, but it is certainly decadent in terms of taste.

The easiest place to get it is 7-11.  They seem to have an endless supply.  Unfortunately, we don't live close to any of the four 7-11s in Hilo.  L & L Drive In also makes Spam musubi, but we don't live near any of those establishments either. 

The next, and obvious choice, is to make it at home.  It takes some time (waiting for the rice to cook), but homemade Spam musubi is truly better than what you can buy at 7-11, L & L or any okazu-ya.  We make ours a fraction healthier by substituting some of the white rice with brown rice.  Most kids don't care much for brown rice, but it's barely noticeable in a 1:3 proportion.  Some places do not do a good job of seasoning the Spam.  I've had Spam musubi where the Spam was just fried.  When you make it at home, you can go through the effort of cooking the Spam in a generous amount of teriyaki sauce.  When putting together the musubi, we also sprinkle on some furikake (Ds like katsuo or ebi flavor).  Kikukat Mom adds a squirt of neri ume (paste) for another taste dimension.  Some places will go the extra step and bread and fry the Spam (Spam katsu musubi) or add a thin sheet of fried egg into the musubi.  I noticed that KTA will make Spam musubi with beautiful edamame rice.  The possibilities are endless!

As the cook, there is also lots of latitude in presentation.  I have a mold which enables me to wrap a long Spam musubi (2 slices of Spam at a time).  Once wrapped, I cut the long piece in half to make 2 Spam-length musubis.  From there, you can either cut at a 45-degree angle (pictured) or just a flat cut (cut each half into halves or thirds).  The 45-degree angle cut is my choice for a platter.  The angles look very elegant.

In addition to the stay-at-home lunches which can be satisfied with Spam musubi, Spam musubi is a great potluck dish.  I'm saying this since we are in the midst of the holiday party season.  Its not hard to make a bunch of Spam musubi for a party.  If I'm taking Spam musubi to a potluck in a container, I would go with the flat cut in thirds, especially if I know there will be lots of other goodies to eat.  Leftovers can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, placed in a ziploc bag, and reheated for about 15 seconds in the microwave.  The key is to wrap them as tightly as possible and store them in an air-tight an environment as you can manage...double ziploc or ziploc in a sealed container.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1 rice cooker cup brown rice
     3 rice cooker cups white rice
     1 can spam
     2 tbsp brown sugar, packed
     2 tbsp shoyu
     1 tbsp mirin
     furikake (optional)
     neri ume (optional)
     5 sheets nori (roasted seaweed sheet)

Wash rice and cook as usual in electric rice cooker.  While rice is cooking, slice Spam into 10 slices.  Fry on both sides in a skillet.  Add brown sugar, shoyu, and mirin.  Cook until liquid is gone. Dampen spam musubi mold with water and proceed according to the type of spam musubi mold you are using: 

If using Spam musubi mold with flat packing plates, insert lower plate into mold, smooth side up.  Pack half-full with rice and press down with other packing plate.  Sprinkle furikake, if using.  Squeeze neri ume, if using.  Place Spam on rice.  Add more rice to fill mold.  Pack with packing plate.  Remove lower packing plate and center mold on sheet of nori. 

If using Spam musubi mold with single packing plate, center empty Spam musubi mold on sheet of nori.  Pack half-full with rice and press down with packing plate.  Sprinkle furikake, if using.  Squeeze neri ume, if using.  Place Spam on rice.  Add more rice to fill mold.  Pack with packing plate.  Pressing down on packing plate, slice mold up, leaving rice on nori.  

Roll tightly with nori.  Wrap in waxed paper.  Let set at least 10 minutes before cutting with a dampened knife.  Keep knife damp in order to minimize sticking.
On January 2, 2015, I will be busy watching my beloved Huskies kick some Pistol Pete butt in the Cactus Bowl.  Hope Coach Peterson will be able to win his first bowl game as a Husky coach.  Ironically, the game will be played in Tempe, AZ (guessing Sun Devil stadium).  ASU is one of D1s choices for college...and probably my wish for her...sorry, Wildcats.  Tempe is just much more convenient to the airport.    

The Ds, while grateful for gifts they received at Christmas, seemed much happier helping Kikukat Mom and Dad with their gifts. 
Missy and D1
Tuffy and D2

Since this will be my last post of 2014, I'd like to wish everyone a safe and happy closing out of 2014.  I'll be here in 2015, looking forward to bigger and brighter things.  Things should definitely be brighter soon for me...going to the big city to get my eyes checked out by a glaucoma specialist.  I have Kikukat Mom and Dad to thank for this.

Thank you all for reading my blog!  See you in 2015!

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