SPAM musubi rolls made with low-sodium SPAM, rice, nori, egg and a teriyaki-style marinade. Perfect for an on-the-go snack or breakfast.
Hawaiian residents have the highest per capita consumption of SPAM in the United States.Lovegren, Sylvia (2005). Fashionable food: seven decades of food fads.
When my brother lived in Hawaii, I asked him what one of his favorite things to eat was. He said he really liked SPAM musubi rolls. I’d never heard of them before, and I was intrigued. Although, it wasn’t until several years later until I would actually get to try one, and they are delicious! Once I tried one, I knew I had to learn how to create it at home.
The most common kind of SPAM musubi roll is made with three or four ingredients: SPAM, rice, nori (made from seaweed), and sauce or seasoning. Personally, I love the rolls that include egg and a teriyaki-style marinade.
SPAM musubi rolls sound like a weird combination of ingredients that don’t make sense, but it tastes SO good when you eat it. My husband tells me how good his body feels after eating it. At the end of this post, you can find the recipe for my take on SPAM musubi rolls.
History of SPAM
Did you know SPAM has been around for over 80 years?! It was first produced in 1937, and it became really popular (especially in Hawaii) after World War II.
But what is SPAM made out of? According to their website, SPAM is made from pork with ham, salt, water, sugar, potato starch, and sodium nitrite. The pork meat is ground up with the rest of the ingredients, placed into cans, sealed and cooked. (If you want a more humorous take on what SPAM is made of, you should check out these haikus.)
As far as macro-nutrients are concerned, SPAM can be an excellent low-carb food. It’s high in fat and protein and very low in carbohydrates. Although, if you are looking to eat less processed foods, I would eat it in moderation.
When I make SPAM musubi rolls at home I use the low sodium variety of SPAM because it helps prevent the final rolls from being too salty. I would highly recommend you use this too if you can find it.
How to prepare the SPAM?
Slicing SPAM into Equal Portions
This recipe makes 12 rolls, and cutting the SPAM in to 12 equal portions can be tricky. To help you, I’ve included some illustrations showing the best way I’ve found to cut the SPAM into 12 slices.
First, you will need to remove the SPAM from the can. I like to run a butter knife around the edges of the inside of the can to loosen the SPAM. Using a sharp chef’s knife and a cutting board make the following cuts:
Cut SPAM in half for two even pieces.
Slice each half in half to obtain four even pieces.
Cut each quarter section into three pieces for a total of 12 slices.
Marinating and Cooking SPAM
The SPAM only needs to marinate for 15 minutes! Be careful not to marinate more than an hour because your meat could become very salty, and the original flavor of the meat could be over-powered by the marinade.
Since I usually make these as part of my meal prep, I bake the eggs and the SPAM. So, I marinade the SPAM in the same pan I cook it in. It helps speed things up, and helps me have less hands on time. Flip your SPAM once halfway through marinating.
After marinating, if, you prefer, you can also cook the SPAM on the stove. To cook on the stove, sear the meat for 2-3 minutes per side in a saute pan in 1 tablespoon of cooking oil. If I have more time, I like this cooking method too because it forms a better sugar crust on the outside of the SPAM.
How to Prepare the Eggs
As mentioned above, I like to bake the eggs when I am making the SPAM musubi rolls.
The biggest reason I like to bake them is because it makes it very easy to portion the eggs evenly. Plus, it helps streamline the meal prep because you don’t have to stand over the stove to cook them. I use these 1/4 sized baking sheets which yields the perfect sized eggs for the SPAM musubi rolls. If you do not have this size baking sheet, you can also use a 9″ x 13″ inch baking dish, but your eggs might need to be trimmed to match the size of the SPAM.
How to Prepare the Rice
The method used to prepare the rice is similar to the method used to prepare sushi rice. The rice is cooked in a small amount of water that is absorbed into the rice which gives it a starchy, sticky texture. Immediately after cooking, vinegar is mixed into the rice to provide acidity and flavor.
I used a medium-grained calrose white rice, and it works really well. Short-grained or long-grained white rice would work equally well for this recipe. Use whatever you have!
Portioning the rice is similar to portioning the SPAM slices. I like to divide my rice into 12 portions like the image below by first creating quarter sections then dividing each quarter into three sections.
When forming the rice patty for the SPAM musubi roll, it is helpful to wet your hands with water. Otherwise, the rice will stick to your hands and it will be harder to form a uniform rice patty.
SPAM Musubi Rolls Assembly
It’s best to form the SPAM musubi rolls while the rice, eggs, and SPAM are still warm. Otherwise, the nori can crack and not soften around the ingredients.
If you make SPAM musubi rolls often, you may want to invest in a musubi maker. It can help you press the rice into a compact size that will be the same size as the SPAM slice. However, I just form them by hand by eyeballing the shape of the rice, and the rest of the ingredients should be similar sized if you use the methods described above.
First, cut the 6 nori sheets half.
With wet hands, take a portion of rice and form it into a tight log with your hands that is the same width as the SPAM slice. Place the rice in the middle of the nori sheet, and top with 1-2 tablespoons of sauce from the cooked SPAM.
Next, top the rice with a slice of cooked SPAM. I like putting the SPAM in the middle of the roll because the sauce on the SPAM slice helps the rice and the egg bond together.
Add a slice of egg on top of the SPAM.
Wet a finger with water, and run it over the top and bottom edges of the nori. Keeping the nori taut, bring the top and bottom edges of the nori to the middle of the roll wrapping tightly.
And then, you are done! I like to let the SPAM musubi rolls rest for 15-30 minutes to allow the nori to soften and for the flavors to combine. But of course, you can dig right if you can’t wait! Serve with soy sauce or any leftover marinade and enjoy!
SPAM Musubi Rolls
- 1 cup Rice uncooked
- 2 cups Water
- 6 tbsp Rice Vinegar
- 1/4 cup Soy Sauce, Coconut Aminos, or Liquid Aminos
- 1/4 cup Oyster Sauce
- 2 tbsp Hoisin Sauce
- 1/2 cup Sugar white
- 12 oz SPAM, Low Sodium
- 8 large Eggs
- 6 sheets Nori
- Sesame seeds optional
- Add water to a large pot and bring to a boil. Add rice, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook 18 minutes (until water is absorbed).
- Once rice is cooked, add rice vinegar to pot and gently stir to incorporate.
- Crack eggs into a small bowl and add salt and pepper to taste. Beat with a fork until combined.
- Spray 1/4 sized baking sheet (or 9″ x 13″ baking dish) with cooking spray and pour in eggs.
- Bake in preheated oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.
- Cut into 12 slices (see photo in post above).
- Mix soy sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce and sugar in a small bowl.
- Open SPAM and carefully run a knife around the edge of the can to loosen the SPAM from the can. As evenly as possible, cut SPAM into 12 slices (see photos in post above).
- Lay SPAM on a separate 1/4 sized baking sheet (or another 9″ x 13″ pan or Ziplock baggie). Pour sauce prepared above over SPAM and let marinate for 15 minutes, flipping SPAM half way through marinating.
- Cook SPAM for 15 minutes in the same 400 degree oven until SPAM is warmed through.*
- On a cutting board with a sharp knife, split the 6 nori sheets in half.
- With a spoon, divide the rice into 12 portions.
- Wet hands with water, and mold rice in hands to approximate shape and as the SPAM.
- Place formed rice on middle of nori sheet.
- Drizzle spoonful (~1-2 tablespoons) of sauce, from cooked SPAM, onto rice. If desired, sprinkle sesame seeds on top of rice.
- Place 1/12 portion/slice of SPAM onto rice.
- Add an egg slice on top of SPAM.
- Wet edges of nori with a finger and fold the ends inward.
- Wrap completed SPAM Musubi Roll in plastic wrap.
- Repeat assembly steps above to complete remaining 12 rolls.
- For the best flavor, let SPAM Musubi Rolls sit for at least 15-30 minutes to allow flavors to meld and for nori to soften.