Kappa means cucumber, and maki means roll. So a kappa maki is a relatively simple affair—easy to make, and even easier to eat.
Step 1: Prepare cucumber Peel the cucumber, cut off the ends, and cut it in half lengthwise. Use a small spoon to scoop out the seeds, cut the halves into thin strips about an eighth of an inch wide, and set them aside.
Step 2: Spread rice on nori Lightly moisten your hands with water, grab a handful—or about 1/2 cup—of prepared sushi rice, and spread it across the nori, leaving an even border of uncovered nori along the top edge.
TIP: Don't use too much rice or pack it too tightly. It should be no more than 1/4-inch thick and you should be able to see nori through it.
Step 3: Dab wasabi on rice Dip your finger into the prepared wasabi and dab it over the rice.
Step 4: Place nori on mat Place the bamboo mat in front of you and position the rice-covered nori on top of it, about an inch from the bottom.
Step 5: Place cucumber Lay several cucumber slices horizontally across the middle of the rice. Make an even row about an inch wide and let the cucumbers stick out an inch or so on either side.
Step 6: Shape with mat Roll the bottom edge of the bamboo mat over the rice, nori, and filling, shaping it all into a rectangular mound. Be sure all the filling is enclosed.
Step 7: Roll again Pull the mat back, and lay it over the roll again. Roll again, more tightly this time, applying even pressure and shaping the roll more firmly as you go.
Step 8: Smooth out roll Remove the roll from the mat, place the mat over it, and give the roll a final pressing and smoothing, compressing it tightly and evenly.
Step 9: Repeat process Repeat the whole process with your remaining half of nori—lightly layering it with rice, adding the cucumber, rolling it and cutting it.
Step 10: Cut roll Lightly moisten your knife blade and cut both rolls in half, using a delicate but firm sawing motion. Then cut each half into three equal pieces.
Step 11: Place & garnish Place the rolls on a serving platter, garnish with small mounds of wasabi and pickled ginger, and serve.
FACT: The precursor to sushi originated in Southeast Asia around the 4th century, when people preserved cleaned and gutted fish in a barrel filled with salt and rice.