Cucumber Wrapped Sushi きゅうりの軍艦巻き

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  • Cucumber Wrapped Sushi on a plate.

    While everyone is busy planning and making holiday meals and baked goods, I decided to get a head start on Japanese New Year special meals.

    I know it sounds crazy since it’s not even Christmas yet!  But in Japan we don’t generally get together with family and relatives for Christmas, but instead we get together on New Years Day or the first few days of New Years.

    Cucumber Wrapped Sushi on a white long plate.

    I was actually surprised to receive many requests for traditional New Years food recipes from the readers because I was never been a big fan of Osechi Ryori (Traditional Japanese New Years Meal, お節料理) while growing up in Japan.  I only have a few favorite dishes like Sweet Rolled Omelet (Datemaki 伊達巻) and Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Candied Chestnuts (Kurikinton 栗きんとん) but I mostly look forward to my mom’s Saikyo Miso O-zoni (Kyoto-style shiro miso soup for New Years 西京味噌のお雑煮).

    Cucumber Wrapped Sushi on a plate.

    Since Christmas or New Year’s Eve is not here yet, I decided to share these Cucumber Wrapped Sushi that could be served as appetizer for your holiday party or any get together.  This type of sushi is called Gunkan or Gunkan Maki in Japanese.

    Cucumber Wrapped Sushi on a white plate.

    Gunkan (軍艦) meas “battleship” in Japanese, and the name comes from its oval shape.  Typically, gunkan sushi are wrapped around with nori seaweed and has toppings like salmon roe (ikura), sea urchin (uni), and broiled eel (unagi) on them.  But today I used thinly sliced cucumber to wrap around.

    Once rice (or sushi rice) is cooked, you can quickly assemble the sushi right before you serve.  If you don’t eat raw fish, you can substitute with smoked salmon or simply create your own!

    Cucumber Wrapped Sushi on a white plate.

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    Cucumber Wrapped Sushi |
    Cucumber Wrapped Sushi
    Prep Time
    45 mins
    Total Time
    1 hr 15 mins
    Easy and fun cucumber wrapped sushi topped with ikura (salmon roe), hamachi (yellowtail), tuna, and amaebi (sweet shrimp). Served as appetizer for your holiday party or any get together! 
    Course: Appetizer, Main Course
    Cuisine: Japanese
    Keyword: sushi, sushi roll
    Servings: 15 Cucumber Wrapped Sushi
    Author: Nami
    Toppings of your choice:
    • 4 oz Sashimi grade salmon
    • 4 oz Sashimi grade yellowtail
    • 4 ozsalmon roe Sashimi grade tuna
    • 4 Tbsp Ikura (salmon roe)
    • 10 Sashimi grade shrimp (amaebi)
    1. Gather all the ingredients.

      Cucumber Wrapped Sushi Ingredients
    2. Slice the cucumber with peeler to make long thin strips.
      Cucumber Wrapped Sushi 1
    3. Place shiso leaves on a serving platter and put the cookie cutter on top of a shiso leaf. Stuff sushi rice into the cookie cutter about half way and remove the cutter gently. Roll the sushi cylinder with one strip of cucumber slice to measure the circumference of the circle.
      Cucumber Wrapped Sushi 2
    4. Make slits at the end of cucumber slice with knife as you see below. Now you can interlock the strip around the rice.
      Cucumber Wrapped Sushi 3
    5. Fill in the cucumber wrapped sushi with your favorite toppings. Here I diced tuna and lightly marinade the tuna with scallion, soy sauce and sesame oil. Place the tuna mixture in the cucumber cup.
      Cucumber Wrapped Sushi 4
    6. For shrimp (amaebi), I place a couple pieces from outer edges to center in the cucumber cup, so it looks like a flower.
      Cucumber Wrapped Sushi 5
    7. Slice the sashimi-grade fish perpendicular to the muscle (the white line you see in the fish) and place a few slices in the cucumber cup.
      Cucumber Wrapped Sushi 6
    8. Garnish with lemon and Daikon radish sprouts. Serve immediately.
    Recipe Notes

    Please understand the amount of ingredients are rough estimate.

    All the sashimi-grade fish and seafood are from a local Japanese supermarket.


    Equipment you will need:

    • 1 round cookie cutter (I used one with 1¾ inch (4.5 cm) diameter)



    Inspired by my blogger friend Akemi-san of Nippon Nin who recently made cucumber wrapped sushi on her blog.

    Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

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