Corned Beef Musubi and Pickled Cabbage

I’m sort of embarrassed to admit this, but my kids love SPAM. Not just any SPAM, but in the form of one of Hawaii’s favorite snack foods: musubi. And my boys may be genetically proven to be part-Irish, but they don’t care much for corned beef and cabbage. Which is disappointing for me, because I look forward to my once a year Irish food fix.

Then I started thinking about how in my childhood, we never ate SPAM, but we did sometimes make sandwiches out of this corned beef  foodstuff that came in a square can just like… SPAM.

Voila! Corned Beef Musubi!

What is a musubi? Simply seasoned sushi rice, topped with cooked meat — often chicken teriyaki, linguisa, Spam, or in our case, corned beef — and wrapped with a strip of toasted seaweed, or nori. Musubi makes a neat little package, much like a sandwich, that can be make a quick meal or picnic.

And since corned beef is not complete without a side dish of cabbage, an easy Asian quick-pickle based on Japanese tsukemono makes a refreshing accompaniment.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day and Mahalo.

Corned Beef Musubi


Corned Beef musubi and Cabbage

Corned Beef and Cabbage, Hapa-style


makes 6


  • 1 c. short grain or sushi rice
  • 1/3 c. rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 12 oz. can corned beef (such as Hereford or Hormel)
  • 2 sheets sushi nori


  1. Steam rice in rice cooker until done, using slightly less water than for normal serving
  2. Heat rice vinegar on the stovetop or for 30 seconds in the microwave, then dissolve sugar in it.
  3. Sprinkle the vinegar mixture over the cooked rice, stirring with a rice paddle to incorporate.
  4. Remove corned beef from the can and slice into six slices about 1/4-1/3 inch thick
  5. Fry corned beef slices until brown on both sides.
  6. Using kitchen shears, cut each sheet of nori into thirds.
  7. To assemble, lay one strip of nori on a plate. Place one slice of corned beef across the center of the strip.
  8. Scoop about 1/2 c. sushi rice into the palm of your hand and set this on top of the corned beef.
  9. Dipping your fingers into a bowl of warm water, mold the rice to fit the shape of the meat.
  10. Wrap one end of the nori over the rice, pressing to hold it tight.
  11. Fold the other end of the nori over, wetting the end with a little water to seal the musubi.


Pickled Cabbage

Cabbage, ginger, carrot

Cabbage and carrots, spiced up with a fresh ginger


makes six servings


  • 1/2 head of white cabbage
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 Tbs. salt
  • 2 slices fresh ginger, diced


  1. Cut the cabbage into medium sized pieces, then tear into small pieces.
  2. Peel carrot and slice into thin rounds.
  3. Put cabbage, carrot and ginger into a mixing bowl and sprinkle with salt
  4. Toss thoroughly, then place a heavy plate that is sized to set into the bowl on top of the mixture, and press down on the plate.
  5. Let sit at room temperature for a few hours or overnight.
  6. Before serving, squeeze out excess water.

P.S. For more mystery meat fusion food, check out my recipe for Hot Dog Kimbap.


  1. says

    Ohhh!!! My daughter likes Spam Musubi not my son, but my son likes canned corned beef. She does too. I’m making this! Unfortunately my Irish-American hubby doesn’t care for corned beef and cabbage. I do! I love St. Paddy’s day! I think you are on to something. Corned Beef Musubi… mmmm.

  2. says

    Glad you found um…processed food fix for the boys. Happy St. Paddy’s day! I had it in Hawai’i. I guess….when one lives in Vancouver BC with fantastic fresh sushi with fresh seafood..


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