Cucumber Thin Rolls (Kappa Maki)

Cucumber Thin Rolls
Cucumber Thin Rolls

Did you know that kappa is not the Japanese word for cucumber? It is the name for a mischievous, mythical, turtle-like creature that guards bridges often demanding a toll for safe passage. However, cucumbers are said to be among their favorite prizes, hence the name for this thin roll.

Makes4 rolls (24 pieces)

Preparation Time1 hr 45 min


  • 2 cups (400 g) prepared Traditional Sushi Rice, Quick and Easy Microwave Sushi Rice, or Brown Sushi Rice (see below)
  • 4 sheets nori (4 x 7 in/10 x 18 cm)
  • 1 English cucumber or Japanese cucumber, deseeded and cut into matchstick strips 4 in (10 cm) lengths
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted


  1. Cut cucumber into matchstick strips. Place 1 sheet of nori, rough side facing upwards, horizontally on a bamboo rolling mat. Spread ½ cup (100 g) of Sushi Rice in a thin, even layer across the bottom ¾ of the nori.

  2. Sprinkle ¼ teaspoon of sesame seeds over the rice. Arrange ¼ of the cucumber sticks horizontally in the center of the rice. The cucumber should extend the length of the nori. 

  3. Place your thumbs underneath the bamboo rolling mat while grasping cucumbers with all other fingertips. Fold the bottom of the mat so that the bottom edge of the nori fits just over the fillings. Do not allow the edge of the bamboo rolling mat to get stuck inside the fold.

  4. Lift the edge of the mat (the nori stays in place). Continue rolling until the roll is complete. Gently shape it into a rectangle by pressing your forefingers on top of the mat while simultaneously pressing your thumbs and middle fingers into the sides.

  5. Allow the roll to rest seam side down on cutting board and repeat the steps to complete the remaining rolls. Cut each roll into 6 pieces using a very sharp knife dipped lightly in water. Serve the rolls with soy sauce for dipping.


Spicy Peanut Cucumber Rolls

Begin assembling the roll as directed. Squeeze a thin line of Sriracha chili sauce across the rice before topping with cucumbers. Omit sesame seeds and top with ¼ teaspoon of roasted, chopped peanuts. Roll and cut as directed. Serve with Sweet Chili Sauce (page 26) or soy sauce for dipping, if desired.


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