Kappa Maki, also known as cucumber maki or cucumber roll is a great sushi recipe to start with if you have never tried to make it before. One of the most popular sushi rolls around the world, and it's actually super easy to make yourself. Simple ingredients and a crowd pleaser.
Sushi is much easier to make than you might think and these maki rolls are a great one to practise your sushi making skills on. Cucumber sushi has just one filling (although it's easy to adapt with more), making it easy to make - it might take a little practise but soon you will be able to make it look like it came from a restaurant!
What is Kappa Maki?
Kappa maki is more commonly known as a cucumber roll or cucumber maki. It is a thin roll sushi, with a line of cucumber running through the middle. This cucumber sushi roll is really popular with kids in Japan, and a great way to introduce children to the world of sushi.
But it is loved by many because it is simple, but light and refreshing. It is a nice palate cleaners between the other more flavour packed sushi pieces. It is also vegan too, so suitable for most people. For those who don't eat sushi because of fish, this is the maki roll for you.
It gets its name from the Japanese "kappa" monster in Japanese folklore. It is kind of a cross between a human and a turtle and it lives in rivers. It is also said to LOVE cucumbers.
Why you will love it
- Easy - You might think sushi is hard to make, but cucumber maki is about as easy as it gets. All you need is a pan to cook the rice in and a sushi rolling mat too.
- Adaptable - This is a really easy vegetarian sushi roll, with just one filling. However, you can easily adapt it with other fillings - more ideas below.
- Refreshing - This is a real summer favourite for us. A filling, but light, lunch and super refreshing too.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Sushi rice - You have to use sushi rice for the best results. Basmati or jasmine rice will not work. Follow our recipe for Sushi Rice for the best sticky rice. The measurements in this recipe are for cooked sushi rice.
- Nori - These are the sheets of edible seaweed that sushi is wrapped in. Choose a brand that is dark green in colour. You can find these in the world food aisle of most supermarkets.
- Cucumber - Traditionally you would use Japanese cucumber, which you can find in most Japanese supermarkets. However, any cucumber will work for this. If you don't like cucumber, you could just use avocado instead.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
How to make cucumber maki - Step by step
Prep: Cook your sushi rice according to our Sushi Rice recipe.
One: Lay a sheet of nori on a bamboo rolling mat, shiny side down. Put the cooked sushi rice onto the nori and spread to cover ¾ of the nori.
Two: Lay the strips of cucumber halfway along the rice.
Three: Using a bamboo rolling mat, roll up from the bottom, tightly away from you (a). Leave a small amount of nori unrolled (b). Wet this part of the nori with water and finish rolling to seal it.
Four: Dip a sharp knife into some water and then slice the roll. Dip the knife into water each time you make a cut. Slice the roll into 10 pieces.
What to serve with cucumber maki
These kappa maki are great for a light lunch, but are also a great addition to a bigger sushi meal. Try them with some of these sushi recipes:
You could also serve it with an edamame salad and some pickled seaweed.
Of course some soy sauce, wasabi and ginger are a must served alongside sushi. But if you want something with a bit more of a kick, then mix together some mayo and Sriracha to dip these maki rolls into.
We love dipping sushi in our Healthy Teriyaki Sauce too.
The variation options are almost endless here, but we have lots of veggie sushi ideas for you. Other ingredients that you can add to this maki sushi include avocado slices, pickles radish, carrot or bell pepper slices or some tofu.
These are meant to be thin rolls, so try not to add too many fillings otherwise you will end up with a much larger roll.
You can finish off the cucumber maki with a sprinkling of sesame seeds
It is best to eat sushi within 1-2 hours of it being made, as the rice will go dry and stale. However, if you do have any leftovers then it can be stored.
Refrigerate in an air tight container for up to 24 hours. If it has gone stale, you can put it in the microwave for 20 seconds to soften it up.
Frequently Asked Questions
We really would recommend getting a sushi rolling mat, and they are quite reasonable in shops or online. However, if you don't have one then you can use a flexible place mat instead. Just wrap it in clingfilm/saran wrap first.
Sushi is the generalised term that is used to refer to seasoned rice with other ingredients like vegetables, fish and meat. But maki rolls are a type of sushi, that is cylinder shaped. You can stuff it with various fillings. It is usually a thinner roll.
Strips work best for cucumber rolls. I cut a cucumber in half and then cut that half into 8 strips, almost triangle shapes. You can deseed them if you like. You don't need to peel them though, as the green adds a lovely colour.
More Japanese recipes
- 200 g (1 cups) Cooked sushi rice
- 2 sheet Nori
- 1 Cucumber - cut into strips
- Cook your sushi rice according to our Sushi Rice recipe.200 g Cooked sushi rice
- Lay a sheet of nori on a bamboo rolling mat, shiny side down. Put the cooked sushi rice onto the nori and spread to cover ¾ of the nori.2 sheet Nori
- Lay the strips of cucumber halfway along the rice.1 Cucumber
- Using a bamboo rolling mat, roll up from the bottom, tightly away from you. Leave a small amount of nori unrolled. Wet this part of the nori with water and finish rolling to seal it.
- Dip a sharp knife into some water and then slice the roll. Dip the knife into water each time you make a cut. Slice the roll into 10 pieces.
- This recipe calls for 200g of cooked sushi rice. To make this amount of cooked rice, you will need 70g of raw rice. If you are altering the serving size in the recipe card, divide the amount of cooked rice by 3 to get how much raw rice you will need.
- Make sure to wet the knife before making each cut. This prevents the rice from sticking to the knife.
- Always place the nori shiny side down on the rolling mat. This is because the rice sticks better to the rough side and it looks better for presentation.
- With some nori brands, you might not be able to use water to seal the roll. You can use cooked rice grains as the "glue" instead, just squash a few grains across the nori where you want to seal it.
- Make sure the sushi rice is fully cooled before adding it to the nori, as the steam of the hot rice can cause the nori to go soggy.
- When handling the rice, use wet hands or a spoon, as it is very sticky.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.