Bufalo Spam Musubi

Spam is the island sweetheart of Hawaii.  I would be willing to bet that the residents of Hawaii eat more Spam than the contiguous 48 combined.  One of the treats you can find at nearly every local market, gas station, and convenience store in Hawaii is Spam Musubi.

Musibi, I gather, comes from omusubi (also called onigiri) which is white rice shaped into oval or triangle shapes, packed with pickled and/or salty treats, and wrapped in nori (seaweed).  It is commonplace as a quick snack in Japan.

In Hawaii, they have amalgamated the wonderful snack food onigiri and their love of Spam into Spam Musubi and if you ever make it to the islands, get some.

On a recent trip out there (sorry, if you flew Hawiian Air in December, we had the 7 month old), we grabbed some rice, some nori, some mirin, a can of Spam, and we decided to make our own.  

In Spam Musubi we have already got salty, sweet, and fishy - the addition of one of may favorite hot sauces, Bufalo, rounded out the perfectly flavor storm by adding spicy and smoky.

Bufalo also adds a blast of color, bringing bright red to the porky pink, white of the rice and deep green of the nori.  The mild heat of the Bufalo lingers along with the umami of the nori after the punch of salt from the Spam has long but passed.



  • 1 cup of white rice
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup of mirin
  • 1 can of Spam
  • 1 package of nori
  • 1 bottle of Bufalo hot sauce


Cook the rice as you would normally, bring the water to a boil, add the rice, bring back to a boil then turn down to a simmer.  Cook until soft, about 15 minutes.  

Dump the cooked rice into a large bowl and drizzle the mirin over the rice to incorporate it evenly.  Mix well using a wooden spoon or something similar.  Set asside and allow to cool.

Slice the Spam into 1/2 inch thick slices and fry in a pan until they develop come caramel color and a little crispness on both sides, about 4-7 minutes.  

With about 3 tablespoons of rice, form small balls of rice with your hands (don't measure, make them however large or small as you like).  Squirt several drops of Bufalo on the top of each patty of rice.

Place a slice of fried Spam on top of the rice, covering the Bufalo sauce.  Wrap each piece in nori, sealing the nori by wetting your fingers in a small bowl of water and spreading it on the inside of the niro.  Wet nori will stick to itself.

Dip them in extra Bufalo, recipe makes 12-15.

Enjoy hot or cold.  What you don't eat right away, wrap individually in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for up to a week (who knows how old some of those are at the 7-11 on Kam Haighway in Kahaluu).

Authordavid koch
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Although the end result will make you look like a culinary rockstar, this Fig and Gorgonzola Flatbread recipe is [albeit time consuming] relatively easy.  The caramelize onions and the fresh figs add a sweet counterpoint to the funkiness of the Gorgonzola cheese.  The colors are amazing too, violet, emerald, sky blue, all atop the toasted background of flatbread.

Give yourself two hours...

AuthorDave and Amy Koch
CategoriesBaking, Recipes
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photo by Amy Koch

I was at a friend's house for dinner and we were planning to make some stuffed figs as an appetizer... but upon returning from the store we realized we had forgot to buy the figs.  We looked around the kitchen to see what else we could use.  There were some perfectly ripe peaches in my friend's fruit bowl which I thought would compliment the saltiness of the prosciutto perfectly...

AuthorAmy Koch
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photo by Dave Koch

We saw some really nice heirloom tomatoes at our Whole Foods the other day (we also saw San Francisco's Mayor, Gavin Newsom but that's another story) - and SippitySup's tomatomania contest was fresh in my head.  I came up with this recipe thinking about putting a new twist on the ubiquitous caprese salad.

By breading and frying the tomatoes, you get a little crunch, and their sugars begin to caramelize. Their natural sweetness is enhanced by the honey in the reduction and the acidity adds a POP that would otherwise be missing with only the cheese, basil, and tomatoes.

The key to pulling this off, is mise en place; getting everything set so that you can plate it in a jiffy, serve, and eat while it's still piping hot. Once you begin to cook the tomatoes, they’ll start to break down, so work quickly. Half the texture is in keeping a little bite to the tomatoes to contrast with the soft cheese.


· 2 nice heirloom tomatoes, a red and a green preferably
· 1 cup of ricotta, I used "part skim"
· 1/4 cup of basil, minced fine
· 1/4 cup flour
· 1/4 cup bread crumbs
· 1/4 Parmesan cheese, grated
· Salt & pepper
· 1 cup red wine vinegar (homemade is best!)
· 1 tablespoon honey
· 2 tablespoons olive oil
· 2 tablespoons butter



Begin by reducing the red wine vinegar with the honey in a small pot over medium heat, this step will take the longest.  Mix your basil and the ricotta in a bowl.  Slice the tomatoes about 1/2 inch thick, thicker slices hold up better and are less likely to fall apart.

Combine the flour, bread crumbs, and the Parmesan cheese on a large plate so that you can dip the tomato slices into it easily.  Be sure to season the bread crumb mixture well with salt and pepper, about a tablespoon of each. It may seem like a lot, but not all of it will stick to the tomatoes.

I recommend a non-stick pan for this because the breading is likely to separate from the tomato otherwise.  Add a tablespoon each of the olive oil and the butter to the pan, and put on medium-high heat - you are not supposed to heat a non-stick pan dry. Once the butter begins to foam, quickly dip the tomatoes into the breading so that you get an even coat on both sides (don't do this ahead of time or you will make glue).  Place into the pan.

Fry until GBnD (Golden Brown and Delicious), about 2 minutes on each side.  Place one tomato slice on the plate, add a dollop of basil ricotta on top, then the other slice of tomato, then another dollop of ricotta.  Spoon a drizzle of the vinegar reduction around the sides.  Serve immediately.

Makes enough for 2.


Authordavid koch
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photo by Dave Koch

The weather is warming up, the birds are singing, and the avocados are calling my name.  It is the beginning of guacamole season; that beautiful time of year where people gather around a molcajete with a cerveza in one hand and a tortilla chip in the other, jockeying for position to get the very best scoop.

Some people are looking for the biggest chunk of avocado, that somehow avoided being pulverized.  Some are looking for a particularly large dice of tomato.  Some poor saps are trying to find a smedge with no clear signs of cilantro, because they live their entire sorry existence in fear of biting into one of its pungent leaves.

In any case, I'm a guacamole freak.  If I found a big swimming pool filled with the stuff, I would be compelled to dive in.  I make a mean guac.  I make the kind that sings babies to sleep.  I make a guac that people write songs about.  My guac makes recent widowers momentarily forget to moarn.  It makes rap-stars write lyrics like, "My guacamole brings all the boys to the yard."

Unfortunately when dining out, I am all too often disappointed.  There's too much fluff, too much filler, too much salsa (if you're calling it guac, it's guac, not salsa with avocado - which is good, but it's not guac).  Sometimes there's onion powder, or garlic powder, or cumin; or worse yet a combination of the three.  Sometimes the color is off, it's green but it's awry - it's not natural, back away!

Too often I catch myself saying "hold the guac," not because I don't like guac, I love it, but because I like it so much, that I don't trust it in your hands...  I feel compelled so often to explain - but that can get confusing.  I can tell by the way you are moving your lips while you read this, you're about to taze my guac.  Don't taze my guac bro.  This is how it's done:


Don't Taze My Guac


  • 4 Avocados, Haas are great but if you can find other varieties like the Bacon and the Fuerte, branch out
  • 1/3 cup lime juice, about the juice of 2 limes, 3 if you're not getting much out of them
  • 1/2 an onion, diced
  • 3 tomatos, diced
  • 1/4 cup of cilantro, coarsly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon of black pepper
  • 1 serrano or jalapeno, minced, is OK but not necessary


Open a fine Mexican beer.  Lo ciento novato, pero Corona y Tecate don't count.  Try Negro Modelo, Bohemia, or even Pacifico.  Cut a slice out of one of your limes, insert into beer.  Throw all your ingredients into a bowl (not the beer, keep the beer in your hand).  Mix together, but not too well.  

If you want to make this ahead of time, go ahead, but squirt more lime juice on top and then cover with plastic wrap.  Oxygen will turn the avocado brown and acid prevents this (just like apples).



Lastly I'll leave you with a hilarious tribute song to the green (although we disagree somewhat on the accoutrements), "Some add in serrano, some like jalapeno, don't make it to hot though, when serving it to gringos" 


Authordavid koch
4 CommentsPost a comment

Healthy, easy, and delicious.  Party snacks need to be more salubrious and we need options with more pizzazz; this delivers on both.  The smidge of raw garlic goes a long way, tamed by the cool yogurt, and balanced by the sun dried tomatoes.  Feta adds body and saltiness.

The Dip:

Everything is going to be blended, so a coarse chop is fine. 

  • 1 whole Roasted Red Bell Pepper
  • 1/2 cup of plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup of crumbled Feta
  • 1/4 chopped walnuts
  • 1 Tbs of chopped sun dried tomato (packed in oil)
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • pinch of black pepper 

Toss into blender and puree until smooth.


Pita Chips:

Cut 3 pita rounds into 8ths and pull apart the halves of each triangle (whole wheat pita makes a healthier option).  Toss with about 2 Tbs olive oil, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, and 1/2 tsp ground cumin (adjust to taste).  

Bake on a sheet pan at 350F until nice and toasty, about 10-15 minutes.

Keep the dip refrigerated and in an air tight container for up to three days.  The pita chips in a zip-top bag will remain crispy at room temperature for up to four.  Enjoy!

AuthorAmy Koch