Over the weekend, we had a picnic potluck to go to at Ala Moana Beach Park. Kelli wanted to make musubi (japanese "rice ball" <-click for Google) for us to bring. I thought it was simple enough, but a bit too simple so I tried to think of a way to make it a little more than just a musubi. This was not easy to do because I don't have a kitchen right now since it's still being renovated. That's why I just thought I'd make the musubi a little more fancy. I had a can of SPAM, Hawaii's favorite meat product, and not much else. I had honey and strawberry jam in the refrigerator. Put it all together and got something a little more fancy than just a plain musubi.
I washed 3 cups of white calrose rice. I wanted the rice to have more flavor so I thought of getting an ochazuke <--click flavor into the musubi. Ochazuke is ocha or green tea poured onto steamed rice with some other toppings of your choice. Japanese sometimes have it for breakfast or in the evening... actually anytime. Anyway, having ochazuke at a picnic is not convenient because you don't have boiling water and bowls etc. so I thought I can get some green tea flavor into the musubi by steaming the rice with the ocha (green tea). I steeped 1 pot of ocha and added it to the washed rice in place of water then started the rice cooker.
For the SPAM, I made a mixture of honey, strawberry jam and apple cider vinegar. It was about 1 part honey, 1 part jam and 1/2 part vinegar. I stuck it in the mircowave to fuse them together (since I have no stove) and mixed it up. I sliced the SPAM into small slices resembling the slice of sashimi that may be seen on sushi. Then I used the panini grill thing I have to grill the SPAM while basting it in the sauce.
After the rice steamed, it was formed into the musubi shapes. I chose to just make them in rounded rectangles like some sushi. Use some salted water to keep your hands moist and rice from sticking to your hands. These are hand shaped. You could also use a plastic form that they sell to make musubi or sushi if you prefer. The salted water also adds flavor to the musubi.
Then place 1 SPAM on top of the formed rice ball and cover over the top with a piece of nori, Japanese dried seaweed. Use a dab of water on the ends of the nori to get it moist so it sticks to the rice. Try not to make the whole piece of nori wet and soggy. It tastes and looks best when the nori is crisp.
These came out tasting good. If I were to do it again, I would make the ocha flavor a lot stronger. Probably at least double or triple strength of the normal that I made. Of course, if I had more ingredients available or actually went shopping for this, I would have added some other flavors that I love like shiso or ume to it. I'm sure I'm not the first to steam rice using green tea. I am sure there are several Chinese dishes that use tea in their rice. Does anyone have the ratio or method of getting the good ocha flavor into the rice?