Makes 20 pieces or enough to serve 6

There are many ways to stack this snack. One is a grilled or fried Spam slice on a ball of rice, wrapped with roasted seaweed. Another is a sandwich-like layering of rice and Spam, also wrapped with seaweed. This version, from Susumu Ito, uses short-grain Japanese rice, sometimes labeled “sushi rice,” and a kind of teriyaki called Mr. Yoshida’s Original Gourmet Sweet and Savory cooking sauce. He has a plexiglass mold designed specifically for spam musubi (about $7 at Houserice.com), or use the Spam can as the form. Remove the Spam, with a can opener, carefully snip out and discard the bottom. Smooth any jagged edges with the tip of a knife. Wash in warm soapy water (mind your fingers), and dry with paper towels. To fill, place the can bottom side down.



cups short-grain Japanese rice
cups plus 2 tablespoons water

1. In a mesh sieve set in a bowl in the sink, set the rice. With the water running, gently swish your hand in the rice; the water will turn milky. Lift the sieve and shake off the water. Repeat 3 times. Drain and set aside for 20 minutes.

2. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the rice and the water with the cover askew. Cook the rice over medium high heat for 10 minutes. Turn the heat to low and continue cooking for 10 minutes more. Remove the rice from the heat, cover, and set aside for 10 minutes.

3. Fluff the rice with a wooden spoon. (Use it warm.)


Half of a 12-ounce can Spam or Spam Lite
¼cup bottled teriyaki sauce
½teaspoon wasabi powder mixed to a paste with 1 teaspoon water
cup mayonnaise
3sheets nori (roasted seaweed)
¼cup red pickled ginger (kizami shoga), drained (available at Asian markets)
2tablespoons Japanese Rice Seasoning (furikake) (available at Asian markets)

1. Pull off the Spam lid and gently slip a knife around the edges and sides to loosen it from the can. Over a plate, shake the can so the block comes out in one piece. With a thin knife, slice the Spam lengthwise into 5 pieces, each ¼ inch. (You will use half the block. Place the remaining Spam in an airtight container and refrigerate to use in other dishes, like fried rice.)


2. In a skillet over medium heat, brown the Spam for 1 minute on each side. Add the teriyaki sauce and cook, turning occasionally, for 2 minutes or until the sauce almost evaporates. Transfer to a plate.

3. Have on hand a bowl of cold water and a ⅓ -cup measure.

4. In another small bowl mix the wasabi paste and mayonnaise.

5. Fold the nori sheets in half horizontally and with scissors cut in half along the fold.

6. Set a half sheet of nori, shiny-side down, horizontally in front of you. Place the musubi mold or Spam can in the middle of the nori in a vertical position. Dip the measure into the water and shake off the excess. Scoop ⅓ cup of rice and make a bed in the bottom of the mold. Dip a spoon into the water and tamp down the rice. Add a slice of Spam, a little wasabi mayonnaise, about 1 teaspoon of pickled ginger, and 1 teaspoon of rice seasoning.

7. Dip the measure into water, shake off, and scoop another ⅓ cup of rice. Spread over the seasonings. With the back of a wet spoon, firmly tamp down the rice. If using a musubi press, dip the flat lid into the water, shake off, and tamp down on the rice.

8. Carefully lift the mold or can off the rice. With a wet finger dab the right edge of the nori. Bring the left side up and over the rice. Bring the right side up to overlap the left side. Lightly press down on the seam. Set the finished musubi on a tray, lightly covered with plastic wrap. Repeat with the remaining nori, rice, Spam, and seasonings.


9. To cut the musubi, wet a paper towel and moisten the edge of a knife (not serrated). Cut the block in half. Wet the knife again and cut each piece in half to make 4 pieces. Continue with the other blocks. Arrange the slices on a platter. Serve with cucumber pickles. Adapted from Susumu Ito