Sous Vide Spam Musubi


Carolyn Jung is a James Beard Award-winning Bay Area food journalist, whose work has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Coastal Living, Via magazine, Food Arts, Edible Silicon Valley, Wine Spectator and other publications. She is the fo ...

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Spam may often be the object of widespread sneers and jeers, but in Hawaii, it is beloved. Especially in Spam Musubi, a hand-held, sushi-like snack that makes for a compact and satisfying meal. During World War II, troops stationed in Hawaii relied on the shelf-stable, fully-cooked luncheon meat as a regular ration. That prompted a love affair by locals for the canned meat that lasts to this day. In 2015, you’ll find Spam Musubi in just about any plate-lunch joint or convenience store on the islands, as well as on the menu of any Hawaiian food restaurant on the mainland worth its salt. Speaking of salt, you can definitely use the less sodium version of Spam. You could also make this easily without doing it sous vide, but by cooking the slices of Spam with a precision cooker, they take on an even silkier, softer texture. The sous vide Spam slices get flavored with a syrupy mixture of soy sauce and sugar two times before getting sandwiched between sushi rice, then rolled up into a sheet of toasted seaweed. You can pick up an inexpensive acrylic mold at a Japanese grocery store or on made exactly for this. Or you can jerry-rig your own by using the actual Spam can with its top and bottom removed. Just be careful with the sharp edges, though. Spam Musubi is meaty, salty-sweet, and comforting. It’s sure to leave you addicted – even if you never thought you’d feel that way about this much-maligned canned meat. Any leftover Spam Musubi can be refrigerated in a covered container, then microwaved slightly to take the chill off. You can even wrap a new piece of seaweed around it for added crispness the next day.
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Ingredients for 4

  • 3/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 (12-ounce) can regular or low-sodium Spam, cut horizontally into 8 to 10 slices

  • 6 cups freshly cooked sushi rice

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

  • 2 eggs, beaten

  • Canola or vegetable oil for frying

  • 6 sheets toasted nori (seaweed) wrappers, sliced in half


  • Step 1

    Set the Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker to 140ºF (60ºC).

  • Step 2

    In a small saucepan, sir together soy sauce and sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Continue to simmer until the mixture reduces slightly and becomes syrupy, about 5 minutes.

  • Step 3

    Generously brush each slice of Spam with the soy sauce-sugar mixture. Reserve leftover sauce.

  • Step 4

    Place the spam in a large zipper lock or vacuum seal bag. Seal the bag using the water immersion technique or a vacuum sealer on the moist setting. Place in the water bath and set the timer for 45 minutes.

    • Finishing Steps

    • Step 0

      About 5 minutes before the timer goes off, prepare the ingredients for dredging: Place 1/4 cup of the flour in a shallow bowl. Place the beaten eggs in a second shallow bowl. Place the remaining 1/4 cup flour in a third shallow bowl.

    • Step 1

      When the timer goes off, remove the bag from the water bath. Remove the Spam from the bag and pat them very dry with paper towels.

    • Step 2

      Heat about 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. While the oil heats, dip each Spam slice first in flour, then egg, then in flour again. When the oil is shimmering, add about half of the Spam slices. Cook, undisturbed, until golden brown on each side, 2 to 4 minutes total. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining Spam. Add more oil to the skillet as needed.

    • Step 3

      To prepare musubi, place 1 nori sheet on a dry cutting board. Place a musubi mold on top of nori. Add about 1/4 cup of cooked rice. Press it down with the top of the mold. Next, dip one piece of seared Spam into remaining soy sauce-sugar mixture. Place Spam on top of the bottom layer of rice. Add another ¼ cup of rice, and press down with the top of the mold.

    • Step 4

      Carefully remove the mold, and roll the nori around the Spam Musubi, creating a neat little package. Repeat with remaining nori, rice, and Spam. Serve with remaining soy sauce-sugar mixture.

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140 F / 60 C Recipe Temp
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