Chicken Musubi is a combination of chicken breast with teriyaki sauce, rice, and wrapped in nori seaweed. It is a popular and simple snack or appetizer recipe found in Hawaii and other Pacific Islander countries
A few years ago, when I went to Guam to take my board exam, I tried many delicious street foods. There were these delicious food stalls that serves foods that are unique in Guam. And it is there I encountered snacks called Musubi.
When I ordered it, there are two kinds of musubi they serve: One is with the spam, and the other is the chicken. The majority of the locals and tourists recommend spam musubi, but I prefer chicken musubi.
What is Musubi?
Musubi is basically rice, shaped in a block, that is topped with spam or chicken breast. The meat is spooned or brushed with teriyaki sauce before it is wrapped in nori seaweed. Upon eating, it is usually served with soy sauce or Japanese mayonnaise to dip your musubi.
When I saw the texture of the rice and the nori seaweed, I might think that it is probably a Japanese or Korean dish since it is very similar to sushi or onigirazu. But, they told me that it is traditional in Hawaii, Guam, and other Pacific Islanders. Also, it is also popular among Asian American community.
After learning how it is made, I was surprised that it seems simple yet delicious. And this is where I was inspired to make my version of the chicken musubi recipe.
Why is Chicken better than Spam?
I know that spam musubi is much popular than the chicken version. But I find the chicken more delicious for two reasons.
- It is healthier since it is not processed meat compared to Spam. In another word, it is not junk food.
- It is low in cholesterol since the chicken is just pan-fried with less oil which is not fatty.
Here are the list of recipe ingredients you need to make Chicken Musubi:
TERIYAKI SAUCE: For the ingredients of making Teriyaki sauce, I use soy sauce, water, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, brown sugar, and corn starch (To thicken the sauce). Some recipes use mirin, but because it contains alcohol, I don't put that in my sauce.
MEAT: I am using a boneless chicken breast, which I tenderize the chicken so it can thin and be cooked properly.
OTHER INGREDIENTS: To wrap the rice, you need a nori seaweed that you can find in any Asian grocery store. Lettuce is a healthy add-on and a short-grain or Japanese rice since short-grain helps the rice hold together during molding and wrapping.
Step by Step Instruction
This recipe may not be traditional but I promise it is delicious and healthier than using spam.
To make the Chicken Musubi, there are 3 things to do in this recipe: Making a Teriyaki Sauce; Pan-frying the Chicken, and Assembling the Musubi.
I. Making a Teriyaki Sauce
In a pan, I add the ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and the rest of the ingredients, which I let boil for 5 to 10 minutes to help the sauce absorb the flavor of the ginger and garlic.
Next, I mix the cornstarch with water, and then I pour it into the sauce. You will notice the sauce will thicken, which is then you can turn off the heat and set it aside.
II. Pan-Frying the Chicken
In here what I did is just add a tablespoon of vegetable oil before putting the pounded chicken breast into the pan.
I just pan-fry on both sides until it turns light brown. And then lastly, I set it aside for preparing to make a musubi
III. Assembling the Musubi
To make a musubi, I place a thin nori sheet in a horizontal position while I place the musubi mold maker on top of the nori sheet in a vertical position.
On the musubi mold, I first add the rice inside the mold until it fills up, which then I pressed it down to make a nice rectangular shape.
After that, I spread the sauce on the rice, followed by lettuce, chicken breast, and then I again add the sauce to the chicken, which I then fold the sheet of the nori seaweed around it.
Tips and Hints
- Before using the nori sheet, make sure the rough side is facing upward while the shining/smooth side is facing downward.
- If you want to eat it later or give it to your loved ones, wrap the musubi using the plastic food wrapper shown in the picture above.
- Because sushi or Japanese rice is very sticky, wetting your hand with water will help prevent the rice from sticking to it
- You can add the teriyaki sauce when pan-frying the chicken breast or during assembling the musubi. To me, I prefer the latter since the teriyaki sauce will still make the chicken moist.
- To save time, you can just purchase a ready-made teriyaki sauce from a grocery store instead of making homemade sauce
Frequently Asked Question's (FAQ's)
There are 2 possible reasons if this happened to you:
A. Your rice must be warm since this can help hold the rice together. Cold rice will cause the rice to fall apart since it is becoming dry.
B. You need to use short-grain rice like the Japanese rice or sushi rice since they are sticky and can help hold together.
You can reheat using the microwave, which you can warm for 15 to 30 seconds in a medium setting
You can serve either with Soy Sauce or a Japanese Mayonnaise.
Because this is a cooked chicken, this recipe can only last between 3 to 5 days in the fridge.
Other Appetizers or Snack Recipes to Try
Here are other delicious appetizes or snacks to make at home
Chicken Musubi Recipe
A popular snacks in Hawaii and Guam that is mixed of chicken breast with teriyaki sauce, lettuce, rice and wrapped in nori sheet.
- ⅓ cup of soy sauce
- ¼ cup of water
- 3 cloves of garlic, grated
- ½ teaspoon of grated ginger
- 2 teaspoon of sesame oil
- 3 tablespoon of water + 2 teaspoon of cornstarch
- 3 to 4 cups of Japanese Rice
- 2 boneless chicken breast, pounded and sliced thinly into 6 pieces
- 2 Nori seaweed sheets, divide each into 3 sheets
- 6 slices of romaine lettuce
Making the Teriyaki Sauce
- Add ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, and water in a pan. Let it boil for 5 minutes to help the sauce absorb the flavor of the garlic and ginger.
- In a small cup, mix the water and cornstarch before pouring into the pan to thicken the sauce. Turn off the heat and set and set aside.
Pan-frying the Chicken Breast
- Add a teaspoon of olive oil to a pan in medium heat. Once hot, add the pounded chicken breast into the pan.
- Let it cook for several minutes or until it turns brown. Flip to the opposite side and repeat the process.
- Transfer the pan-fried chicken breast to the plate. Set aside.
Assembling the Musubi
- Place a strip of thin nori sheet into a clean cutting board in a horizontal position. And then place the musubi mold maker on top of the nori in a vertical position.
- Add the rice in the musubi mold until it fills up (approximately ½ cup of rice). Press it down gently to make a nice rectangle shape. Remove the molder gently
- On the top of the rice, spoon the teriyaki sauce, followed by adding the lettuce, and then the chicken. Spread again the sauce on the top of the chicken.
- Fold the nori sheet around the musubi gently.
The rough side of the nori sheet must be facing upward while the smooth is facing downward.
Before molding the musubi, it is better to wet your hand with water to prevent the rice from sticking to your hand.
The rice must be warm so it will not fall apart when assembling it.
To under the steps, look at the pictures shown in the recipe post.
Nutrition InformationYield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 310Total Fat 5gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 21mgSodium 519mgCarbohydrates 19gFiber 0gSugar 0gProtein 15g
I can't wait to try this! My neighbor was telling me about the spam version of this and, despite never having tried spam, even that sounded enticing. This looks and sounds even better, though!
Hi Dana. This is actually a chicken version and it is way healthier and taste better than spam.
I really loved it!! It was a huge hit with my family too! Thanks for the recipe!
Glad you love it, Toni.
I love the combination of flavors in this musubi. It's a perfect appetizer.
I've never tried musubi but it sounds really good. I'm not a spam fan, but I think this chicken version would be something I'd like!
The chicken version is way better and healthier. I am sure you will love it.