Many of you who have eaten in Sushi restaurants regularly will likely have come across the specialty known as ‘Gunkan Maki’. For those who haven’t experienced it yet, it is very much like Nigiri sushi in that it is a topping (‘Neta’) on top of an oblong pad of sushi recipe except, in the ‘Gunkan’ case, the topping is ‘loose’ rather than solid (as, say in the case of a block of tuna ), and, thus, a collar of Nori is wrapped around the rice to hold it in place. The name ‘Gunkan’ is usually rendered in English as ‘Battleship’ on most menus to reflect the boat-like shape of each item.
Today, I am showing you the way I have experimented with the basic theme by replacing the rice pad with a section of cucumber (in keeping with my low-carb diet). In celebration of this novel idea (which I haven’t found elsewhere) I have named my creations ‘gunboats’ and I have played around with some non-traditional toppings (or fillings, if you prefer) …. [
Here you can see where I have sliced the cucumbers to make the pads. I wanted to do a very oblique cut to get the ‘boat’ shape, but that makes the edges quite sharply –sloped which makes wrapping the nori a little trickier. A thickness of about at least a half-inch per slice is necessary in order for the wrapper to have a good grip. As you can see, I didn’t peel the cucumber and, in retrospect, that was a failing… the thickness of the skin changes the ‘bite’ negatively and, next time, I will peel first.
Nori sheets, you may have notice, are formed so that there are lines marked on each sheet. The spacing is fortuitous for this purpose as strips cut along the lines are perfect for the wrapping. Ultimately, you need thin strips about 1 inch or so wide.
Wrapping each cucumber pad is quite easy., and you can make several in advance ready for filling.
To make the ends of the nori stick you can use a little cornstarch mixed in water to make a thin paste.
You can fill the ‘boats’ with whatever you like. Here, I have used just a regular egg salad made with chopped chives. The other two fillings in picture number one are strips of smoked salmon mixed with a little lemon oil, and chopped cooked shrimp blended with a little mayo and hot sauce.
Have fun with the idea….