Kappa Maki is, simply put, cucumber sushi. It is often served as an appetizer at Japanese restaurants. It is traditional (so I've heard) to dip it in a mixture of wasabi and shoyu/soy sauce, sometimes with ginger. It is also the second best food in the world.
kappa maki is made from thin strands of cucumber and green onion surrounded by specially flavoured sushi rice, and wrapped in nori (roasted seaweed).
I have had some success in cooking it at home, according to this recipe:
- A couple of sheets of nori. You can buy this at special Japanese stores. They usually have several grades. The lower ones get dry more rapidly after the maki is completed. I suggest using the middle grade. I think that all nori works, but if in doubt, buy maki/sushi nori.
- Some sushi rice. I don't think ordinary rice works, because it's not sticky enough, and the grains are too large. If someone tries it, please tell me how it works. Again, get this at a Japanese Store.
- Sushi su. This is the special rice flavouring that gives it the sweet/sour/salty flavour. I've used pre-flavoured rice-vinegar for this. Again, grab it at a Japanese store. If you don't have the specially flavoured stuff, you can mix 1/3cup rice vinegar, 5T sugar, 1T salt and 1T Monosodium glutamate.
- Gu. These are the ingredients that you put into the centre of your Maki. For kappa-maki, I've used a few strands of cucumber, and one or two strands of green onion, for flavouring. It's kind of hard to describe without a diagram, but you pretty much want long, thin, ropes of cucumber or green Onion.
First you must cook your rice. For 8 rolls, take four cups of rice, and wash them until the water used for washing becomes clear. I think a good method is to put the rice in a strainer and run water through it, although there are other methods. Once the rice is washed, add four cups of water. To cook on a stove, bring to a boil, and then simmer for 10-15 minutes. Then let the rice cool to room temperature. Then let it cool for fifteen minutes. Sprinkle some sushi-su over the rice, while fanning it to cool it, and make it shiny. After this, you might want to leave the rice out for a while to let it cool to room temperature.
The next step is rolling your maki. You can use a maki mat, which is a special bamboo mat for rolling maki. A dishcloth will work almost as well, though. Place your nori (a seaweed sheet) on your rolling surface. Spread a cup of your sushi-rice half an inch thick over two thirds of the nori sheet (in a square, in the middle is best. Try to leave a good amount of nori to overlap, once it's rolled). Place your ingredients parallel to the direction being rolled, in the middle of the sheet of rice-covered nori. Using the dishcloth, and keeping the gu in place with your fingers. Roll the rice-covered nori sheet over the gu, so that the gu is in the center of the roll, surrounded by rice, and then nori. Some bare nori sheet should overlap, and this is what keeps the roll together.
I suggest wetting your fingers and running them along the bare nori-sheet, to make it sticky, to hold everything together.
Finally, with a sharp knife, cut the roll into 8 pieces of maki, ready to eat!
I recommend getting a brand of nori which has instructions on the back of the package, because I found them very useful the first time. If my instructions and theirs conflict, use theirs, just to be safe.