Hawaii is known for many things. Stunning beauty. Fresh fish. And a certain canned meat that’s definitely not Italian. Hawaiians consume about 5 million pounds of it annually. And one of the ways is in musubi, a snack found in gas stations and fine dining rooms alike. It mimics onigiri, but uses a thick slab of this particular canned meat on a rectangle of rice. But what if we gave it an upgrade? A big upgrade. Mortadella big. One bite and you’re swept away to a radiant Hawaiian beach with the sweet notes of Verdi echoing in the wind. Eat them immediately or wrap them up and bring them on picnics, hikes, or to the beach, with or without Verdi.
Save the mortadella scraps for our Mortadella Meatloaf or to make a quick fried rice using the leftover rice and egg scraps.
See Cook’s Note on the correct rice to use for musubi.
Rinse the rice under cold water, drain, then repeat twice. Put the rice into a small saucepan with 1 cup cold water and cook, covered, over low heat until all of the water is absorbed and rice is cooked, about 20 minutes. Let the rice rest covered and undisturbed for 5 minutes. Transfer rice to a large wide bowl, sprinkle with rice vinegar, and gently fold with a spatula.
Heat the oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the eggs with salt and pepper and add to the pan. Stir the eggs just until they begin to set, about 30 seconds, then scrape the sides with a rubber spatula and carefully flip the egg over and cook until set, another 10 seconds. (You can flip it by placing a large plate over the pan and turning the pan over so the egg falls onto the plate, then slide the egg back into the pan.) Transfer omelet to a cutting board and let cool slightly. Cut eggs into 4 pieces to fit the musubi mold and set aside.
Return the skillet to medium-high heat. Cook the mortadella slices until browned on both sides, 1½ to 2 minutes per side. Meanwhile, mix the soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar in a bowl. When the mortadella is browned on both sides, reduce the heat to low and add the sauce mixture to the skillet. Flip the mortadella to coat both sides and continue to cook until the sauce thickens to a glaze, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer mortadella to a plate.
Have the mortadella, egg, rice, nori, and a small bowl of water set out. Place the musubi maker crosswise on the center of a sheet of the nori (shiny side down on board) on a clean work surface. Using a wet spoon or damp hands (so that the rice doesn’t stick) fill the musubi mold with a scant 1/3 cup of the cooked rice. Firmly press with the mold insert into an even layer. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the furikake over the rice. Layer with a piece of the egg and then a slice of the mortadella. Spoon another scant 1/3 cup of the rice onto the mortadella and again, press firmly with the press insert to pack it tightly. While pressing down on the insert, remove the outer mold. Lift the press insert off gently. Use damp fingers to moisten the ends of the nori to get them to seal. Fold the nori around the molded rice tightly, flip over and press down firmly to seal. Repeat making musubi with remaining rice, furikake, egg and mortadella.
These musubi are a nice size but if they feel too bulky while eating, slice them in half. Eat immediately, or wrap in plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature. The nori will soften and get a little rubbery but it’s still tasty. Do not refrigerate or the rice will get hard.
Sushi rice is a sticky rice that should not be confused with glutinous rice, which is also sticky. It can be either short- or medium-grain. Do not attempt to make this with a long-grain rice such as jasmine or basmati, or it will completely fall apart on you.