These Keto-Friendly Cucumber Gunboats make a great low-carb alternative to ‘Gunkan Maki’ Sushi by replacing the rice with other ingredients.
For those who haven’t experienced it yet, Gunkan Maki, or ‘Battleship Sushi’, is very much like Nigiri sushi in that it is a topping on top of an oblong pad of sushi rice. In the ‘Gunkan’ case, however, the topping is ‘loose’ rather than a single solid piece, and it is held in place with a collar of Nori wrapped around the rice. The ‘Battleship’ name, comes, of course, from the rather boat-like appearance of each piece.
The fillings I used for this post (shown from left to right in the above picture) are Shrimp Salad, Egg Salad, and a preparation of Smoked Salmon Strips in a light dressing of oil and lemon juice. Practical considerations made it preferable to make ‘rounds’ rather than rectangles, but the ‘Gunboat’ name still works, I think…
Making the Boats
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 wrapping the nori a little trickier. A thickness of about at least a half-inch per slice is necessary for the wrapper to have a good grip. As you can see, I didn’t peel the cucumber, but I recommend that you do. The thickness of the skin changes the ‘bite’ negatively and, next time, I will peel it away.
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 making the wrapping collars. 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.
Filling the Boats
You can fill the ‘boats’ with whatever you like. Here, I have used just a regular egg salad made with chopped chives. As already noted, the other two ‘Gunboats’ in the first picture are made with Smoked Salmon strips, in one, and a Shrimp Salad in the other. The shrimp salad is just chopped cooked shrimp mixed with a little Japanese Mayonnaise and Sriracha Hot Sauce. You could, of course, do much the same thing with Surimi Crab Sticks.
NOTE: For another type of rice-less ‘sushi’ using the same egg-salad as seen here, take a look at my Keto-Friendly Smoked Salmon Maki