Japanese or English cucumbers may seem like a splurge, but they are definitely worth it for these single-feature rolls. If using garden cucumbers, peel away the bitter skins before cutting into small pieces.
Rice Prep Time: Up to 1½ hours
Sushi Prep Time: 15 minutes
Makes 4 rolls (24 pieces)
Four 4 x 7-in (10 x 18-cm) nori sheets
2 cups (400 g) Traditional Sushi Rice, Brown Sushi Rice, Quinoa Sushi “Rice” or Multi-Grain Sushi Rice
2 Japanese cucumbers or 1 English cucumber, deseeded and cut into 4-in (10-cm) matchsticks
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
Place one nori sheet horizontally on a bamboo rolling mat, rough side facing upwards. Wet your fingertips, then spread about ½ cup (100 g) of the sushi rice in a thin, even layer across the bottom ¾ of the nori.
Arrange ¼ of the cucumber sticks horizontally across the center of the rice. The cucumber should extend to the edges of the nori. Sprinkle ¼ teaspoon of sesame seeds over the rice.
Dip your fingertips in water again. Place your thumbs underneath the bamboo rolling mat. Fold the bottom of the mat so that the bottom edge of the nori fits just over the cucumbers. (Do not allow the edge of the mat to get stuck in the fold!)
Lift the edge of the mat. (The nori should stay in place.) Continue rolling until the roll is complete. Gently shape the roll into a rectangle by pressing your forefingers on top of the mat while simultaneously pressing your thumbs and middle fingers into the sides.
Allow the roll to rest seam-side down on a cutting board. Meanwhile, repeat the steps to complete the remaining rolls. Cut each roll into 6 pieces using a very sharp knife dipped lightly in water. Serve immediately.
Cucumber Mint Rolls
Begin assembling the rolls as directed. Smear ¼ teaspoon tahini across the rice. Add a few torn fresh mint leaves before topping with cucumbers. Add sesame seeds. Roll and cut as directed. Serve with Vegetarian Ponzu Sauce for dipping.