When you grow up hapa, it can be an interesting experience describing what your family eats to your friends. Many times, the dish is a completely foreign concept to the person I’m talking to, but there are a few tiny details that would still be familiar.
Portuguese Sausage Musubi is a prime example of that. This Hawaiian snack takes quite a bit of inspiration from Japanese rice balls (known as omusubi in some regions, but more commonly known as onigiri), but with a uniquely Hawaiian spin. Instead of the pickled produce or salted fish that grace the Japanese version, Hawaiian musubi fully embraces the meat. Griddled Spam and Portuguese sausage are both common options for fillings, and I’ve seen a few restaurants also offer versions with teriyaki beef or fried shrimp.
My version is made with sushi rice, seasoned with a light rice vinegar sauce to give it just a subtle hit of extra flavor. This recipe takes just a few ingredients, and once the rice is cooked, it comes together quickly. If you need an on-the-go meal, this is perfect!
Portuguese Sausage Musubi
1 cup rice
2 cups water
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
~11 oz Portuguese sausage (also known as Linguiça), sliced
4 sheets nori
Rinse the extra starch from the rice, then combine with the water in a rice cooker and begin cooking.
While you’re waiting, combine the sugar, vinegar, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat, and immediately drizzle into the freshly cooked rice. Stir gently to combine, fluffing the rice as you go.
In a sauté pan, cook the sausage over medium heat for about 2-3 minutes on each side, until it begins to sear. Remove from the heat.
To assemble, lay out a sheet of nori, and place about 1/2 cup of rice on top and shape into a rectangle. Pack the rice just tightly enough to make it stick together. Layer the sausage over the rice, and tightly wrap the nori over everything, wetting the edge with water to seal. Slice in half before serving.
Makes about 8 servings.