Beef Up Classic Musubi With A Canned Corned Beef Swap

Musubi, a Hawaiin staple loosely inspired by Japan's onigiri is a food of convenience that has it all: Fillingness, gorgeous flavors, and a quick, easy preparation. You don't need much to put it together, just a few fundamental ingredients like rice, Asian condiments, and most importantly, Spam. If you don't like Spam or can't eat pork, no worries, there's an alternative that plays the starring role marvelously — canned corned beef.

This substitution works perfectly because much like Spam, canned corned beef also has a salty taste. However, instead of the signature pork-ham mix and smoky hints, you'll get the beef's savory richness that steals the show in countless dishes. This intriguing twist is a small nudge that makes the musubi different and more exciting than usual. Yet, at its core, the flavors are still the delightful balance of well-seasoned meat and umami condiments you know and love.

Canned corned beef is fall-apart tender and flakey, deviating texturally from the more solid Spam. As you bite into the musubi, it melds right into the fluffy rice, creating a satisfying mouthfeel with its overall softness. The rice and the beef are wrapped inside crispy nori seaweeds, striking a fascinating contrast in this seemingly simple dish.

Not much has to change when you're making musubi with corned beef

Much like Spam, canned corned beef can be eaten straight from the packaging. However, it will be much more delicious if quickly browned on the pan beforehand. Since the meat is already seasoned, an aromatic like garlic or ginger is usually enough to round out the flavors. Feel free to whip up a sauce to amp the flavors up even further. Teriyaki sauce is often used to offset the meat's deeply savory taste with a caramelized sweetness. On the other hand, if it's tanginess you prefer, tomato sauce is an all-time foolproof choice.

With the pan already hot and ready, you can also fry an egg to lay on the canned corned beef. Once done, assemble the musubi by scooping the seasoned rice into the mold, pressing it down, and then layering the proteins on top. Press it down once more and wrap the seaweed around it. Although not compulsory, a few sprinkles of toasted sesame seeds or furikake are recommended. They add just a bit of nuance, a finishing touch that elevates the overall flavor profile.