Cucumber rolls are called kappamaki in Japan. It is one of the most popular sushi rolls and is easy to make, with just three ingredients--nori (dried seaweed), sushi rice and cucumber. As there is no fish included this roll is also perfect for vegetarians.
The word kappa doesn't actually mean cucumber in Japanese (that is kyuuri); it refers to a demon or imp figure from Japanese traditional folklore. The word kappa is a combination of words meaning "river" and "child" and is related to water. Somehow, a kappa is associated with cucumbers, hence the name of this sushi roll. Interestingly, no other Japanese cucumber dishes are called kappa.
This recipe calls for Japanese cucumbers, which are long, slender and thin skinned. They do not have seeds nor any bitter taste and are therefore easy to handle and a pleasure to eat. If you cannot find Japanese cucumbers, mini Persian or English cucumbers are good substitutes.
- 4 sheets of nori (dried seaweed), cut in half
- 6 cups prepared sushi rice
- 2 Japanese cucumbers, cut into long sticks
- Put a piece of nori on top of a bamboo mat (makisu). Spread about 3/4 cup of sushi rice on top of the nori. Place 1/8 of the cucumber sticks horizontally on the rice.
- Roll up the bamboo mat, pressing forward to shape the sushi into a cylinder. Press the bamboo mat firmly with hands. Unwrap the bamboo mat and remove sushi roll. Repeat process to make more rolls. Wipe a knife with a wet cloth before slicing sushi. Cut the sushi roll into bite-size pieces.