01 October 2009

World Vegetarian Day!

It's October, and the 1st is World Vegetarian Day! This kick-starts a month dedicated to veg-friendly food, celebration, education, etc. Today also kicks off VeganMoFo III, during which bloggers the world over will be sharing vegan insights, discussion, and of course, food. I'm new to this, I have to admit, but I am going to try each day (if not at least most days) this October to share some thoughts on all things vegan. Expect an onslaught of food-centric musings.

Yesterday, I attempted to make tofu musubi. My family is from Hawaii, and growing up, we ate (and enjoyed) a great deal of SPAM. The infamous canned luncheon meat has been a staple of the islands since World War II, and these days you can still find it everywhere in Hawaii. My mother even has a SPAM cookbook. Veganism obviously obliterates canned meat conconctions from my diet, but as a child, I particularly enjoyed SPAM musubi, a popular snack in Hawaii that is comprised of fried SPAM, rice, and nori (the seaweed wrap used in sushi). I thought I'd create a vegan musubi that is reminiscent of the traditional snack, sans mystery meat.




The simplicity of musubi construction--it's essentially composed of protein, rice, and nori--doesn't really warrant a recipe, and I just played it by ear. For the vegan version I made, I used extra-firm tofu that I had previously frozen, then thawed and drained. I simmered thick slices in a smoky shoyu-sugar broth, then drained them and browned the slices on each side. I took cooked calrose rice (you don't need sushi rice, so medium-grain is fine) and sliced a sheet of nori into four long strips, one for each of my four tofu slices. All you need to do is lay a nori strip on a plate or flat surface, center a slice of cooked tofu on top of that, perpendicularly, and lay a scoop of rice on top of the tofu. Press and form it so that the rice and tofu are around the same size and shape, then wrap the loose ends of nori over the top of the rice and press it down. The heat of the rice should make it stick, and hopefully it all holds together. You could assemble the musubi using a musubi mold, which helps to make more uniform shapes and allows for better pressing, but it's not completely necessary. You can be creative with the musubi, too, using an additional dab of teriyaki sauce between the tofu and rice layers, or even substitute fried rice. I prefer the simplicity of the mellow starchiness of white rice contrasting with the tofu's saltiness and toasty nori.

13 comments:

  1. Looks and sounds divine!
    Happy Mofo'ing.
    :)

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  2. I love how easy this is, but how it's still pretty enough that it could be served at a nice meal. Is Nama Shoyu and sugar the only ingredients you made the broth with?

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  3. SPAM musubi? I think your vegan version looks great!

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  4. Wow, tofu musubi! What a great idea, it looks awesome! :-)

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  5. Thanks guys, I appreciate the comments!

    ahimsablog, I used probably around two cups of water (at least enough to cover the sliced tofu), and smaller amounts of shoyu, sugar, and a dash of liquid smoke for the tofu broth.

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  6. Spam has always creeped me out. These look really basic. I could make these. They might not be as pretty though.

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  7. Those look so fun! I can imagine a mini version as an appetizer on a plate of delightfully fancy vegan finger foods!

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  8. I love it!

    When I was in Hawaii, my dad took me to The Hawaiian Style where he had a Loco Moco. Rice topped with spam, gravy, and a fried egg. Barf.

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  9. omuhgosh, how did they turn out? I mean, how close an approximation to a spam musubi was it? I've been thinking alot about doing something similar. I miss them so very much.

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  10. Melanie,
    I thought the musubi tasted pretty good, although the tofu didn't taste quite like SPAM and also had that tofu texture. I'm thinking of baking the tofu next time instead, and making it saltier, too. If you do end up trying something similar, let me know how it goes!

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  11. omuhgosh, how did they turn out? I mean, how close an approximation to a spam musubi was it? I've been thinking alot about doing something similar. I miss them so very much.

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  12. Wow, tofu musubi! What a great idea, it looks awesome! :-)

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  13. I love how easy this is, but how it's still pretty enough that it could be served at a nice meal. Is Nama Shoyu and sugar the only ingredients you made the broth with?

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Thanks for reading! Your comments are always welcome and appreciated. :)