Easy Kappa Maki Recipe (Japanese Cucumber Sushi Roll)

5 from 5 votes
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Learn how to make delicious and refreshing Kappa Maki, a traditional Japanese cucumber sushi roll! Enjoy this popular and vegetarian-friendly sushi at home with this easy recipe!

Kappa maki served on a white plate.

In this recipe, I’ll guide you through the process of creating a delightful Japanese Cucumber Sushi Roll.

With its refreshing taste and vibrant colors, Kappa Maki is a beloved classic in sushi cuisine. Whether you’re a sushi lover or a beginner, these step-by-step instructions and helpful tips will ensure your success in crafting this delectable dish!

    This recipe is for you if:
  • You love Japanese sushi.
  • You love sushi rolls or maki sushi.
  • You are looking for easy kappa maki recipe.
  • You want to make Japanese cucumber rolls at home.

If you want to check the recipe immediately, please visit the link below. Let’s get started!

About This Recipe

  • Japanese sushi roll recipe
  • Cucumber is the main ingredient
  • Beginner-friendly sushi roll to try at home
  • Vegetarian-friendly sushi
  • Refreshing and light

What is Kappa Maki?

Kappa maki illustration.

Kappa maki, also known as a cucumber sushi roll or kappa roll, is commonly found in sushi restaurants and is popular sushi among many people in Japan, especially small children.

While sushi is often associated with fish and seafood, kappa maki features cucumber, offering a refreshing and delightful choice, especially for those following a vegetarian diet.

Origins and Naming

“Kappa” comes from a mythical creature in traditional Japanese folklore known as the “kappa.” Kappa maki earned its name due to the fact that cucumbers happen to be the favorite food of kappa creatures.

In sushi terminology, the term “Maki” refers to a roll. Any sushi roll is named by combining the “main ingredients” with the word “maki”, such as kappa maki and natto maki.

A Brief Introduction to Sushi Roll (Maki Sushi)

Futomaki and hosomaki illustrations.

The sushi roll, known as Maki sushi or Nori maki in Japanese, is created by wrapping a nori sheet (seaweed) around a layer of vinegared rice seasoned with a mixture of rice vinegar, sugar, and salt, along with the chosen main ingredient in the center.

Maki sushi comes in two different sizes:

  • Hosomaki refers to thin sushi rolls, typically containing one main ingredient inside the roll. Kappa maki is a type of hosomaki.
  • Futomaki, on the other hand, refers to thicker sushi rolls that can contain multiple ingredients.

I hope this simple knowledge will make ordering sushi at restaurants a more enjoyable and effortless experience for you!

📋 Ingredients

Here are the ingredients (amounts are in the recipe card below).

Ingredients for kappa maki.
  • Cooked Japanese rice: See below
  • Cucumber: Japanese cucumbers are slim, with a crisp texture and mild, sweet flavor. If Japanese cucumbers are unavailable, you can easily substitute them with regular cucumbers or Persian cucumbers. English cucumbers also make a suitable alternative for this recipe.
  • Nori sheet: See below.
  • Rice vinegar, sugar, and salt: We blend them well and mix the mixture into the rice to make vinegared rice. Other types of vinegar might be strong for the rice, so I highly recommend using rice vinegar. You can also use store-bought seasoned rice vinegar.

Japanese Short-grain Rice

Japanese rice on a plate

The best rice for sushi rolls is short-grain rice, which is more starchy than long-grain rice and helps maintain the desired shape of the sushi roll and onigiri rice balls.

I won’t go into the details of how to cook rice in this recipe, so please see the “How to cook Japanese rice on the stove” recipe.

How To Cook Perfect Japanese Rice on The Stove
5 from 11 votes
You don't have a rice cooker? Don't worry. You can easily cook fluffy and delicious Japanese short-grain rice on the stove! Let's learn how!
Make This Recipe
Japanese short grain rice in a pot

Nori Seaweed Sheet

Nori sheet

Nori is a type of seaweed that’s dried, crispy, and sold in sheets like in the picture above.

Get this full-size nori sheet (8.3″ x 7.5″ or 21 x 19 cm) at a grocery store, and we will divide it into half to make this kappa maki recipe.

Where to Buy Japanese Ingredients

If you live in the US, you can find Japanese ingredients in the list below.

  • Japanese market: Mitsuwa MarketplaceMarukai
  • Asian market
  • Whole Foods Market
  • Health food stores
  • Online stores: Instacart, Walmart, Amazon

Makisu (Bamboo Sushi Mat)

makisu, bamboo sushi mat

A Makisu, also known as a bamboo mat or sushi mat, is a traditional tool used in Japanese cuisine for rolling sushi. It is made from thin bamboo strips woven together with string. The makisu provides support and helps shape the sushi roll while keeping the ingredients tightly wrapped.

When you closely observe the side profile of Makisu, you’ll notice that one side is flat while the other is round. Make sure to place the nori sheet on the flat side to achieve a smooth surface for your sushi roll.

If you don’t have a Makisu, you can still make sushi using plastic wrap as a substitute.

🔪Instructions

Here are the step-by-step instructions for making kappa maki. The process consists of the following four straightforward steps!

  • Step 1: Preparing the Rice
  • Step 2: Preparing the Ingredients
  • Step 3: Assembling the Roll
  • Step 4: Cutting the Roll

Step 1: Preparing the Rice

Step for preparing sushi rice.

1. Blend rice vinegar, salt, and sugar well to make sushi vinegar.

Step for preparing sushi rice.

2. Transfer the cooked rice to a large bowl, and gradually pour the sushi vinegar mixture over the rice while gently mixing it with a rice paddle.

Step for preparing sushi rice.

3. Continue mixing until the rice is evenly coated with the vinegar mixture. Be careful not to mash the rice.

Step for preparing sushi rice.

4. Cover with a wet cloth over the bowl while preparing the ingredients. Allow the rice to cool to room temperature before using it for making sushi rolls.

Helpful Tips For Preparing The Rice

  • When preparing the sushi rice, avoid mashing the grains while stirring. Use a gentle folding motion to mix the rice and seasonings.
  • If the sushi rice is still hot, you can use a paper fan to cool it down to room temperature.

Step 2: Preparing the Ingredients

Nori sheet divided in half.

1. Divide a nori sheet in half. Follow the lines on the seaweed and cut along their direction with your hand or scissors.

Cucumber divided into six equal pieces.

2. Trim off both ends of the cucumber and slice it lengthwise into four or six equal pieces. Adjust the length to match the size of the nori sheet If the cucumber is longer.

Step 3: Assembling the Roll

Step for assembling sushi roll.

1. Place a bamboo sushi mat on a flat surface and place the nori sheet, shiny side down and rough side up, on the mat.

Step for assembling sushi roll.

2. Wet your hands with water to prevent the rice from sticking, grab the sushi rice, and shape it into a cylindrical form.

Step for assembling sushi roll.

3. Evenly spread the rice on the nori sheet using your hand. Leave half an inch (1.2 cm) of the nori uncovered at the top.

Step for assembling sushi roll.

4. Place the cucumber in the center of the rice.

Step for assembling sushi roll.

5. Align the seaweed with the bottom edge of the sushi mat. Use your middle finger to hold down the cucumber, lift the mat with your thumb, and start rolling from the front until the end of the rice. Apply gentle pressure to shape the roll.

Step for assembling sushi roll.

6. Lift the sushi mat and roll the sushi to seal the roll. Apply gentle pressure to shape the roll.

Kappa maki roll on a cutting board.

The first one is complete! Repeat the rolling process to make four more rolls. Allow them to sit for a few minutes before cutting.

Helpful Tips for Assembling the Roll

  • Use around 70-80g of rice for each roll as a guide to avoid overflow when rolling.
  • When spreading the rice, ensure it is evenly distributed on the nori sheet. Wet your hands with water to prevent sticking, as rice tends to be quite sticky. You can also use a rice paddle as it can make the spreading process easier.
  • Nori sheets have a shiny side and a rough side. When placing the nori sheet, ensure that the shiny side is facing down. Once the sushi roll is completed, the shiny side of the nori should be on the outside.
  • Make sure that the smooth side of the sushi mat is facing up and that the knot is positioned on the upper side.

Step 4: Cutting the Roll

Step for cutting kappa maki.

1. Prepare a damp cloth as the rice tends to be sticky. Use a sharp knife to slice it into bite-sized pieces.

Step for cutting kappa maki.

2. Wet the knife with the damp cloth and cut the sushi roll in half.

Step for cutting kappa maki.

3. Align the two halves of the sushi rolls and cut them into thirds.

Step for cutting kappa maki.

4. Done! Serve the sushi rolls with the cut side facing up.

Helpful Tips for Cutting the Roll

  • Position the end of the roll facing down and let it sit for a few minutes before cutting. This will make it easier to cut. Have a damp cloth ready to wipe the knife after each cut, ensuring clean cuts.
  • Make sure to cut each sushi rolls to the same length. It looks visually appealing when each piece has the same height when serving.

Serve

Kappa maki served on a plate along with soy sauce and chopsticks.

Serve the kappa maki sushi rolls with soy sauce for dipping. You can also serve them with wasabi and pickled ginger on the side if desired.

Flavor Variations

  1. Sesame Seeds: Sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds inside the roll for a nutty and aromatic taste.
  2. Wasabi: Add a small amount of wasabi pastes into the roll, which adds a spicy kick that complements the refreshing taste of the cucumber.
  3. Spicy Mayo: If you prefer a bit of heat, drizzle some spicy mayo over the roll for a creamy and spicy twist.

Hosomaki Variations

Natto maki roll served on a white plate.

If you substitute cucumber with other ingredients, you can create even more variations. Here are some classic hosomaki options:

Thanks For Stopping By!

Kappa maki served on a plate along with soy sauce and chopsticks.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog♡. If you’ve tried this recipe (or any other recipe on the blog), please give it a star rating below!

Also, feel free to leave comments if you have any questions. I love hearing from you!

Chef JA Cooks is a Japanese food blog that shares simple and healthy Japanese home cooking recipes, including vegan and vegetarian. From traditional Japanese recipes to modern recipes with step-by-step instructions.

More Sushi and Rice Recipes You Might Like

Kappa maki served on a plate.

Easy Kappa Maki Recipe (Japanese Cucumber Sushi Roll)

5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Save
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 5 rolls
Author: JURI
Learn how to make delicious and refreshing Kappa Maki, a traditional Japanese cucumber sushi roll! Enjoy this popular and vegetarian-friendly sushi at home with this easy recipe!

Equipment

Ingredients

Sushi vinegar

Instructions

Preparing Sushi Rice

  • Blend rice vinegar, salt, and sugar well to make sushi vinegar.
  • Transfer the cooked rice to a large bowl, and gradually pour the sushi vinegar mixture over the rice while gently mixing it with a rice paddle.
  • Cover with a wet cloth over the bowl while preparing the ingredients. Allow the rice to cool to room temperature before using it for making sushi rolls.

Preparing the ingredients

  • Nori sheet: Divide a nori sheet in half. Follow the lines on the seaweed and cut along their direction with your hand or scissors.
  • Cucumber: Trim off both ends of a cucumber, and slice it lengthwise into four or six equal pieces. Adjust the length to match the size of the nori sheet If the cucumber is longer.

Assembling the Roll

  • Place a bamboo sushi mat on a flat surface and place the nori sheet, shiny side down, on the mat.
  • Wet your hands with water to prevent the rice from sticking, grab the sushi rice, and shape it into a cylindrical form.
  • Evenly spread the rice on the nori sheet using your hand. Leave half an inch (1.2 cm) of the nori uncovered at the top.
  • Place the cucumber in the center of the rice.
  • Align the seaweed with the bottom edge of the sushi mat. Use your middle finger to hold down the cucumber, lift the mat with your thumb, and start rolling from the front until the end of the rice. Apply gentle pressure to shape the roll.
  • Lift the sushi mat and roll the sushi to seal the roll. Apply gentle pressure to shape the roll.

Cutting the Roll

  • Wet the knife with the damp cloth and cut the sushi roll in half.
  • Align the two halves of the sushi rolls and cut them into thirds.

Video

Notes

  • When preparing the sushi rice, be careful not to mash the grains while stirring. Use a gentle folding motion to mix the rice and seasonings.
  • If the sushi rice is still hot, you can use a paper fan to cool it down to room temperature.
  • Use around 70-80g of rice for each roll as a guide to avoid overflow when rolling.
  • When spreading the rice, ensure it is evenly distributed on the nori sheet.
  • Nori sheets have a shiny side and a rough side. When placing the nori sheet, ensure that the shiny side is facing down.
  • Make sure to cut each sushi rolls to the same length. It looks visually appealing when each piece has the same height when serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 91kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 0.3g
Course: Rice
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: cucumber sushi roll, kappa maki
Did You Make this recipe?Please Leave a star rating!

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