Salmon Musubi with Passion Fruit Ponzu Shoyu Sauce. Made with some gorgeous wild Copper River sockeye salmon!
I adore musubi, an easy to make portable snack for any time of the year. Traditional Hawaiian musubi is made with Spam, and while I do enjoy that, I love making it with other items such as salmon or chicken.
There was a Hawaiian restaurant here in town that made the best garlic chicken musubi and we would get them to last us for a few days, my kids even took them for school lunches. They have since closed so we make our own musubi now.
What is musubi?
Musubi is a tasty snack, popular in Hawaii. It is made with sticky rice, choice of protein (spam is classic), or you can even use tofu, wrapped in nori. Nori is the kind of seaweed used for sushi. It gets trimmed to wrap the musubi and you can have the nori strip be as wide or as skinny as you want it.
Furikake seasoning is sometimes sprinkled on the rice and sometimes a mayo based sauce is drizzled over the cut edge. Musubi usually isn’t dipped into any sauces, such as ponzu or shoyu, but I like to dip mine and I used the passion fruit ponzu shoyu dipping sauce that I made for the salmon marinade as a dipping sauce as well.
I had some frozen Copper River Sockeye salmon fillets I needed to use up and I knew they would be perfect for this recipe. I cut them into pieces that were perfect size.
They shrink a little when roasting so I cut them just a bit bigger than my mold. They were pretty thick fillets too, so these came out to be a hearty and tasty snack.
I wanted to make my own ponzu to go with the salmon but have a twist to it with using passion fruit instead of yuzu since fresh yuzu is a lot harder to find. You can use bottled ponzu if you like and add some passion fruit juice, I wanted to try making it from scratch.
Ponzu is easy to make, I consulted with a few Japanese food bloggers about making it authentic but with my twist. One friend said to call it “Passionzu” another said adding in shoyu makes it more of a ponzu shoyu than a traditional ponzu. I used up some of the remaining fresh passion fruit juice I had from Rincon Tropics.
I also used Aloha shoyu, my fave shoyu to use. The passion fruit ponzu sauce is salty, sweet, tart, umami and perfect as a marinade as well as for a dipping sauce.
How do you make musubi?
Once the salmon is roasted and the rice is steamed its time to build the musubi. I have instructions for perfect sticky rice in the recipe.
I cut the nori strips either as wide as the musubi mold or a little thinner and lay in on a cutting board. Set the mold either in the middle or in the lower or upper third. Really doesn’t matter where but just not as long as its on the very end.
Scoop about a third a cup of rice into the mold then, press it down firmly, life the mold up while still pressing down on the lid, then remove the lid.
Sprinkle a little furikake on the rice then place a piece of the roasted salmon on top and quickly wrap with the nori.
You can use a little water on your finger to seal the nori together, sometimes the heat from the salmon and rice help it seal to itself but sometimes you need a little water to help.
- 1 1/2 lb wild sockeye or copper river salmon
- 1 cup Passion Fruit Ponzu shoyu sauce
- Seaweed sheets cut into 2 inch wide strips
- 2-3 cups cooked sticky rice, hot ( see notes)
- 1/4 cup (or more)Kewpie mayo
- 2-3 tsp Sriracha (or more)
- Togarachi spice
Cut the salmon into 3 inch by inch and a half pieces, about the size of a musubi mold. Marinade skin side up in a glass dish with half a cup or so of the passion fruit ponzu for 30 minutes. Save the remaining ponzu for dipping sauce. Make the rice while the salmon is marinating (recipe and instructions in notes)
Line a baking sheet with foul and lightly spray with oil Heat oven to 425 Deg f. Place marinated salmon skin side down on foil and bake for 5 min. Set boiler to high and broil for another 2-3 min.
Spoon some more ponzu over the salmon and remove the skin
Place the musubi maker over the middle or lower third of the strip of seaweed and spoon in about 1/3 cup of rice. Press down with the musubi maker top then remove the mold. Sprinkle a little furikake over the rice, then a piece of salmon and wrap up the seaweed, using a little water if necessary to seal. Repeat with remaining rice and salmon.
Combine the mayo sriracha and togarachi in a bowl. Drizzle a little over the musubi before eating. And if you like to like I do, dip into the ponzu too.
For perfect sticky rice:
I usually make 2 cups Calrose or white Jasmine rice to 3 cups water. You can cut this to 1 cup rice, 1.5 cups water. I like having extra rice.
Rinse the rice in a fine mesh sieve until water runs clear then soak for 30 minutes. Drain completely then add to a 4qt sauce pan and then add the water. Bring to a rapid boil, cover with a lid then lower heat to a low simmer. Cook for 12 minutes. Turn off the heat and steam for 15 minutes then fluff with a rice paddle.
For Passion Fruit Ponzu Shoyu Sauce:
Makes about a cup of sauce
1/2 cup soy sauce (125 ml) ( regular, not dark, can also use Tamari if you want gluten free)
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp Mirin
1 piece dried Kombu seaweed ( 3x3 or 4x4 piece, wiped clean)
1/3 cup bonito flakes
1/2 cup fresh passion fruit juice
1 tsp lime or lemon zest
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp grapefruit juice
2 Tbsp meyer lemon juice
2 tsp sesame oil
There are two ways to make this - one overnight, one quicker by heating half the ingredients.
One - add everything to a resealable jar, mix well and chill overnight then strain well.
Two - combine the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, mirin, kombu, bonito flakes and zest in a small saucepan, heat until boiling then take off the heat. Let steep until cool then strain and mix in the passion fruit juice and two tablespoons of juice - any combination of lime, lemon or grapefruit and the sesame oil. Mix well.
Keep chilled until ready to use. Bring to room temperature and shake well to mix in the sesame oil.