I am no expert on Japanese or Hawaiian food, but I do know what I like. This Spam Onigirazu may not be traditional, but it is delicious. I have been seeing Onigirazu from some of the food bloggers I follow, and it really peaked my interest. Onigirazu is basically a Japanese rice sandwich, with the seaweed holding it all together. I crave sushi rice and seaweed, fill it with anything, doesn’t matter. I just love the seaweed and rice combo. When I came across the onigirazu, it blew my mind because I knew the combination of fillings were endless. Also, around the time I learned about Spam Musubi, which is a popular snack in Hawaii that consists of grilled spam (some times with teriyaki) on top of a block of rice and then wrapped with seaweed. So this is my combination of the two because they both seemed equally delicious.
Since spam can be a bit salty, I made my own teriyaki type sauce and added chili garlic sauce to it to give the onigirazu a sweet spicy kick, which helps balance the salt. I also added a bit of green onion, sesame seeds, and some shredded cabbage to add more layers of flavor. These sandwiches can be eaten the same day at room temperature so they are very portable. If you are making them the night before, I would wrap them in a kitchen towel and refrigerate them. This keeps the rice from getting hard. Eat within 24 hours.
1 1/4 cups rice
3 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
Spam, cut into 6 slices, crosswise
1 tbsp, neutral flavored oil (canola, grapeseed etc.)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tbsp chili garlic sauce
1/4 of a small head of cabbage, thinly sliced
2 scallions, sliced
1 tbsp roasted sesame seeds
1 tbsp kosher salt
6 sheets nori seaweed
Rinse the rice very well and cook the rice using a 1:1 ratio (rice to water). If you are lacking in rice cooking skills check out this blog post from Lady and Pups “How to actually cook perfect rice without a rice-cooker.” Once the rice is done add the rice vinegar and fluff to combine. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, mirin, light brown sugar, and the chili garlic sauce until well combined.
Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add the oil and once hot, add the spam. Cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip the spam and cook until golden brown on the other side. Turn the heat down to medium and add the soy mixture. Swirl the pan and turn the spam slices in the soy to coat. Cook until the sugar is dissolved about 2 minutes. Allow to cool.
Prepare a work surface next to the spam and set up the rice, cabbage, scallions, sesame seeds, salt and nori in front of you. Lay out a sheet of nori in a diamond shape, shiny side facing down. Place a 1/4 cup of rice in the middle of the diamond. Spread it to resemble a square shape. Then top the rice with about 1/4 cup of cabbage, and sprinkle with the scallions, sesame seeds, and a little salt. Coat a piece of spam in the sauce and then place on top of the rice and seasonings. Place another 1/4 cup of rice on top of the spam in a square shape. Fold the left and right sides of the diamond to the center, tightly but gently ensuring the rice is enclosed in the nori. Then fold up the bottom and then the top to enclose. Wrap tightly, but gently, try to ensure all the rice is tucked in and try to guide a square shape while folding. Wrap the square tightly in plastic wrap and continue to mold the onigirazu in a square while it is wrapped in the plastic wrap. If you need more help rolling, check out this great tutorial. Continue the same process with the remainder of the 5 slices of spam. Wait at least 10 minutes, before slicing. Slice and enjoy.
More rice dishes here.