Have you seen those videos floating around about how to make fabulous sushi rolls that form pictures or designs when you cut them? They look amazing, though really time-consuming and extremely difficult to make. That being said, I recently saw one that looked so easy I had to try it– it’s a cucumber and pineapple roll, and since my daughter loves cucumber maki and loves pineapple it seemed like a natural next step to try this one.
Let me tell you, you’ll need two things to make sure this sushi works. A very sharp knife (dipped in water between cuts), and a sushi rolling mat. Both are essential– my knife wasn’t quite sharp enough and it made things a little difficult my first time (photos are of the second time around), and without the mat I’d never have been able to compress things tightly enough to stick together.
All in all, the sushi didn’t turn out badly. A little too much rice, I think, but that just means I need to work on pressing it very, VERY thinly over the nori before filling and rolling. (like, one grain thick and leaving a few spaces in between with no rice at all, since it gets compressed together when you roll). Also I think pineapple isn’t the best thing to put in the center, since it doesn’t compress or shift to fill in empty spots, which leaves the finished slices a little unstable. I’d try salmon, or tempura shrimp, or really anything that you can cut into strips that has some “give” to it and is maybe a tiny bit sticky. Crab stick, maybe?
Anyway, here’s the process– give it a shot!
Cucumber-Pineapple Mosaic Sushi
Nori (mine comes in squares, which I cut in half to make rectangles to roll with)
English cucumber (or any thin-skinned cucumber as long as it’s skinny– like 1 1/2″ or less in diameter– any bigger and it’ll be too large to roll easily)
Fresh pineapple spears, cut into 1/2″ sticks
Cooked and seasoned sushi rice (I like to use a combination of rice wine vinegar and sugar)
1. Lay out a sheet of nori onto a sushi rolling mat and spread a thin (very thin!) layer of sushi rice over it, leaving a 1/2″ edge empty to seal later.
2. Center a section of your cucumber on the rice and roll up, sealing the edge with water.
3. Unwrap the plastic and slice the cucumber roll into quarters lengthwise.
4. Lay out a second sheet of nori and spread a thin layer of sushi rice over it, again leaving a 1/2″ edge empty. This one needs to be longer than the first one, since the roll will be bigger around, so I like to connect two pieces end-to-end and the cut off the extra once I finish rolling.
5. Arrange cut sections of cucumber roll so the curved nori sides face inwards, inserting a square-cut stick of pineapple in the center to fill it in.
6. Roll up the new roll, keeping four distinct sides where the flat sides of the cucumber roll sections meet. Seal the edge with water.
7. Slice and enjoy!