Homemade Kappa Maki (Cucumber Sushi Rolls)

Homemade Kappa Maki (Cucumber Sushi)

If you had asked me six weeks ago if I liked sushi, I would have told you something along the lines of “I don’t really eat sushi because the raw fish freaks me out.” Fast-forward a few weeks later, and I can’t seem to get enough of the stuff. 

What changed, you ask? 

I went on an elimination diet that heavily restricted what I could eat. Gluten and dairy were off the table, as well as some ingredients that are in almost everything, like onions and garlic. It was frustrating to not only crave foods I couldn’t have, but find foods that were satisfying enough that fit within the diet. 

That’s where sushi became my go-to meal at restaurants. Since the ingredients are straightforward, it was easy for me to determine what I could eat.

For a month, I was absolutely obsessed with kappa maki (cucumber sushi rolls) and tuna rolls. I ended up having sushi 2-3 times a week because it was convenient and perfect during hot days. 

I got to a point where I was craving kappa maki. I felt frustrated that sushi restaurants weren’t open 24/7 because hello, I really want that kappa maki.

Since kappa maki is made up of only a few ingredients, I thought it would be a fun to try making some at home. It’s really just cucumber, seaweed, and rice. 

Tamari (Gluten Free Soy Sauce) and Roasted Seaweed (Nori) for the sushi

I didn’t have a bamboo mat, but I didn’t let that stop me. I used the towel trick, which I will show you below, to roll up my sushi. The rolls may not look like they were made by a restaurant sushi chef, but they stayed together and they tasted the same as the restaurant sushi I have been having. 

My recipe ended up making 3 full rolls, and each roll had 6-8 full pieces each. The reason I say full is because I am not the best at spreading the very sticky rice across the seaweed, so the ends of my rolls weren’t too desirable. 

Here’s how to make the sushi:

Homemade Kappa Maki (Cucumber Sushi Rolls)

Yield: 3 servings


  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced into sticks
  • 1 cup sushi rice, cooked, and cooled.
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 3 sheets of seaweed (nori)


  1. Mix together the white sugar and rice vinegar. Then, pour over the sushi rice and mix in.
  2. If you're using the towel trick, lay out the towel on the counter and add parchment paper or plastic wrap over the towel. Place one nori sheet on the parchment paper, with the rough side up.
  3. Use your hands or a spatula to add rice to the bottom 1/3 or 1/2 of the seaweed. Spread the rice to the sides as evenly as possible. Leave a little bit of room, about 1cm, at the bottom of the seaweed for easy rolling.
  4. Add a little bit of water at the bottom of the seaweed and at the top. (this helps seal the roll)
  5. Lay out the cucumber across the nori sheets as evenly as possible.
  6. Use the towel to carefully roll the seaweed into a roll. Repeat for 2 more rolls.
  7. Cut into small pieces. Serve immediately with soy sauce/tamari, pickled ginger, and wasabi.


Calrose rice is another name for sushi rice. You can use another sticky white rice (like jasmine) or brown rice as well. Sushi is at its prime when freshly made, but this recipe can keep for up to 24 hours.



It might take you a little while to get the hang of it and get into the groove of making the sushi. It’s also a little bit messy since you’re working with your hands. But, at the end of the day, it was so worth making some sushi at home. My stomach was satisfied and I was proud that I was able to learn how to roll sushi. 

When it comes to making sushi at home in the future, I think I’m going to stick to vegetarian options just to keep things simple. I would love to add in some avocado, carrots, and spinach to mix things up a bit.

As for eating sushi at restaurants, I am still a bit overwhelmed by the idea of trying a more sophisticated sushi roll, but I’m open to the idea. There are definitely some rolls I am willing to try that I haven’t just yet. 

What are your thoughts on making sushi at home? Are you up to the challenge? I think the pay off is excellent if I do say so myself!



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