Teriyaki tofu musubi

If you've been lucky enough to visit the Hawaiian Islands, you've probably heard of Spam musubi. It's basically a slice of the processed meat much beloved by locals in Hawaii, on top of a block of equally beloved white rice. It's a popular hand-held snack that's perfect for those picnics on the beach.

Want to experience a taste of the islands but don't like the idea of eating mystery meat? Try this teriyaki-glazed tofu version for a snack you can feel good about. Tofu is a great plant-based source of protein and the glaze provides a flavor punch that doesn’t feel virtuous. For this recipe, I strongly recommend using a musubi maker, or a sushi mold, which creates tightly-packed blocks of rice that won't fall apart when you take your first bite. They're inexpensive and you can find them online or at any Asian market. If you can't get your hands on one, try shaping them by hand, but it could get messy.

Servings: 8 to 10

Prep Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound extra firm tofu, pressed
  • 3 cups cooked haiga rice (preferred), brown sushi rice or mixed rice
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons canola oil for frying
  • Nori (seaweed) sheets
  • Furikake seasoning
  • Special equipment: musubi maker/sushi press

Directions

  1. Press the tofu: Drain, then wrap tofu in two layers of paper towels and sandwich between two cutting boards with a weight on top for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Slice into 1/4-inch thick pieces the size of your musubi maker. 
  3. Mix soy sauce and sugar in a small bowl and stir to dissolve. 
  4. Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the sliced tofu pieces and brown on both sides. After 2 minutes, pour the sauce over the tofu. Cook for another 2 minutes on each side until crispy and caramelized. Set aside. 
  5. Prepare your musubi maker. Cut the nori sheets into one inch-wide strips and lay them on a flat surface, such as a cutting board. Center the musubi maker over the nori strip and add about 1/2 cup of rice to the center, and press firmly. Remove the press and sprinkle furikake on top, then add a prepared slice of tofu. 
  6. Wrap the nori around the rice and tofu, then seal the edges with a dab of water, if needed. Repeat until you have used up all the rice and tofu. 
  7. Eat immediately or wrap tightly in plastic wrap.

Nutrition Information (per serving)

  • Calories: 140
  • Fat: 3 g
  • Protein: 7 g
  • Sodium: 158 mg
  • Sugar: 4 g

Contributor

Linda Shiue, MD