How to Julienne Cucumber for Sushi?

Julienne is a fancy term for cutting veggies into thin matchstick-like strips. Here’s how you can julienne cucumber for sushi:

  1. Prep the Cucumber: Start with a fresh cucumber. Wash it well under running water to remove any dirt or residue. You can peel the cucumber if you prefer, but it’s unnecessary.
  2. Cutting the Cucumber: Slice off both ends of the cucumber to create flat surfaces for stability. Then, cut the cucumber in half crosswise to make it more manageable.
  3. Create Thin Slices: Lay one-half of the cucumber flat on the cutting board. With a sharp knife, carefully slice the cucumber lengthwise into thin, even slices. Aim for about 1/8 to 1/4 inch in thickness.
  4. Stack the Slices: Gather several slices and stack them on each other. Ensure they’re aligned neatly to make cutting easier.
  5. Cut into Matchsticks: Holding the stack of cucumber slices firmly, make lengthwise cuts across the stack to create thin matchstick-like strips. These strips should be around the same width as a matchstick.
  6. Repeat this process with the remaining cucumber halves until you’ve julienned the amount you need for your sushi.

Importance of Cucumber in Making Sushi

Cucumber plays a significant role in making sushi, adding both taste and texture to the dish.

Crunchy Texture: When thinly sliced or julienned, cucumber provides a satisfying crunch to sushi rolls. This texture contrasts with the softness of the rice and the fillings, enhancing the overall eating experience.

Refreshing Flavor: Cucumber’s mild, refreshing taste complements the other ingredients in sushi. Its subtle flavor doesn’t overpower the delicate taste of the fish or other fillings but rather enhances the overall balance of flavors in the sushi roll.

Visual Appeal: Beyond taste and texture, cucumber also contributes to the visual appeal of sushi. Its vibrant green color stands out against the white rice and the various fillings, making the rolls more visually appealing.

Healthy Addition: Cucumber is a healthy vegetable, adding nutritional value to sushi. It’s low in calories, high in water content, and a good source of vitamins and minerals, making sushi a healthier choice.

Types of Cucumbers Used in Making Sushi

In sushi-making, different types of cucumbers are often used to bring diverse flavors and textures to the dish. Here are a few common types:

  1. Japanese Cucumber (Kyuri): This cucumber variety is a popular choice for sushi due to its mild flavor, thin skin, and minimal seeds. It’s usually shorter and slender compared to other varieties, making it easy to slice thinly and use as a filling.
  2. English Cucumber: Also known as hothouse or seedless cucumber, the English cucumber is longer, thinner, and has fewer seeds than traditional garden cucumbers. It’s often used in sushi for its crisp texture and mild, slightly sweet taste.
  3. Persian Cucumber: These cucumbers are shorter than English cucumbers and have thin, edible skin. They’re crunchy, refreshing, and a great option for sushi due to their mild flavor and minimal seeds.
  4. Kirby Cucumber: Sometimes referred to as pickling cucumbers, Kirbys are smaller in size with bumpy skin. They offer a crunchier texture and a slightly tangy flavor, which can add a unique twist to sushi rolls.

How to Pick the Right Cucumbers for Making Sushi?

Here’s how to pick the perfect cucumbers:

  1. Firmness: Look for cucumbers that feel firm and have a consistent texture throughout. Avoid ones that are soft, squishy, or have any wrinkles, as these indicate they might be old or starting to spoil.
  2. Size and Shape: For sushi, cucumbers that are straight, slender, and uniform in shape work well. They should be relatively small to medium-sized, making them easier to slice thinly or julienne for sushi rolls.
  3. Skin Condition: Opt for cucumbers with smooth, unblemished skin. If you’re using cucumbers with thicker skin, ensure it’s free from any wax or coatings, as these can affect the taste and texture.
  4. Seed Content: Japanese or seedless cucumbers are preferable for sushi-making due to their minimal seeds. However, if using cucumbers with seeds, make sure they’re not overly mature, as the seeds can be larger and contain more moisture, affecting the texture of the sushi.
  5. Taste and Aroma: While not always possible to check in the store, a fresh cucumber should have a mild, slightly sweet aroma. If you can, give it a sniff; a pleasant, fresh cucumber scent is a good indicator of its quality.

What You Will Need To Julienne Cucumber For Sushi?

  1. Cucumber: Choose a fresh cucumber, preferably Japanese, English, Persian, or Kirby variety for their texture and mild flavor.
  2. Cutting Board: Use a clean and stable surface for safe and efficient slicing.
  3. Sharp Knife: A sharp chef’s knife or a Japanese-style slicing knife works best for clean cuts.
  4. Vegetable Peeler: (Optional) If preferred, a peeler can be used to remove the cucumber skin before julienning.
  5. Mandolin Slicer or Julienne Peeler: (Optional) These tools can assist in achieving uniformly thin strips if available and preferred.

Cucumbers Cutting Guide for Sushi

Here’s a step-by-step guide to julienne cucumber for sushi:

Peeling Cucumber

  • Start by rinsing the cucumber thoroughly under cold water to remove any dirt or residue.
  • If desired, use a vegetable peeler to remove the cucumber’s skin. This step is optional and based on personal preference.

Splitting Cucumber in Half

  • Place the cucumber horizontally on a clean cutting board.
  • With a sharp knife, carefully slice the cucumber in half lengthwise, creating two long halves.

Taking Out Cucumber Core

  • To remove the watery core containing seeds, use a spoon or a small knife.
  • Hold one cucumber half firmly and angle the knife to gently scoop out the seeds and core. Discard the core.

Splitting Cucumber into Sticks

  • Lay the cucumber halves flat side down on the cutting board.
  • With the knife, slice each half lengthwise into thin planks, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick.
  • Stack a few planks at a time and cut them lengthwise again to create thin matchstick-like strips, or “sticks,” suitable for sushi fillings.

Different Ways to Cut a Cucumber for Sushi Rolls

Here are two different methods to julienne cucumber for sushi rolls:

1) Cutting Cucumbers Using the Batonnete Way

  • Start by peeling the cucumber (optional) and halving it lengthwise.
  • Lay the cucumber halves flat side down on the cutting board.
  • Slice each half lengthwise into thin planks, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick.
  • Stack several planks and cut them lengthwise again to create long, thin strips resembling matchsticks. These strips will be slightly thicker than those made using the julienne method.
  • These batonnete-style cucumber strips are great for sushi fillings, adding a satisfying crunch.

2) Cutting Cucumbers Using the Julienne Way

  • Begin by peeling the cucumber (optional) and halving it lengthwise.
  • Lay one cucumber half flat side down on the cutting board.
  • Slice the cucumber half lengthwise into thin planks, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick.
  • Stack several planks and cut them lengthwise into thin, matchstick-like strips. These strips will be finer and thinner than those produced by the batonnete method.
  • These julienne-style cucumber strips are perfect for sushi, providing a delicate texture and appearance to your rolls.

Nutritional Information

Here’s a table detailing the nutritional information for 1 cup (about 104 grams) of sliced, raw cucumber:

Total Fat0.2 grams
Saturated Fat0 grams
Cholesterol0 milligrams
Sodium2 milligrams
Total Carbohydrates3.6 grams
Dietary Fiber0.5 grams
Sugars1.8 grams
Protein0.8 grams
Vitamin K10.2 mcg
Vitamin C3.8 mg
Folate19.9 mcg
Potassium152 mg
Magnesium9.9 mg
Manganese0.1 mg

How Sushi Restaurants Cut Cucumbers So Fast?

Sushi restaurants often use specialized tools and techniques to cut cucumbers quickly and efficiently:

  1. Mandolin Slicers: These tools have adjustable blades that allow chefs to quickly slice cucumbers uniformly and thinly.
  2. Sharp Knives: Sushi chefs are skilled with extremely sharp knives that enable them to make precise and rapid cuts.
  3. Experience and Practice: Years of practice and experience in sushi preparation allow chefs to master the art of slicing ingredients swiftly while maintaining quality.
  4. Preparation: Some restaurants pre-slice and prepare ingredients in advance, including cucumbers, ensuring they’re ready for assembly when orders come in.
  5. Efficient Workflow: Sushi chefs often follow a streamlined workflow, arranging ingredients strategically to minimize movement and maximize speed during preparation.

How Can You Improve Your Technique Of Cutting Cucumbers For Sushi?

Improving your julienne cucumber for sushi involves a few key steps:

  1. Sharp Knife: Ensure your knife is razor-sharp. A sharp knife makes clean, precise cuts, preventing the squishing or tearing of the cucumber.
  2. Consistent Thickness: Strive for uniformity in the thickness of your cucumber slices or sticks. This consistency ensures evenness in the sushi rolls.
  3. Practice Julienne Cutting: If aiming for Julienne cuts, practice creating thin, matchstick-like strips. This requires controlled slicing and even pressure.
  4. Stability and Grip: Maintain a stable grip on the cucumber while cutting. Use a claw grip with your non-dominant hand to hold the cucumber securely while slicing with the knife.
  5. Practice Safety: Always prioritize safety. Pay attention to your fingers and hand placement to avoid accidents while handling the knife.
  6. Speed with Precision: Practice cutting efficiently without sacrificing precision. Speed will improve with practice but always prioritize accuracy over speed initially.
  7. Use Tools: Consider using tools like mandolin slicers or julienne peelers for consistent and quick cucumber cuts, especially if you’re still honing your knife skills.
  8. Consistent Practice: Like any skill, consistent practice is key to improvement. Regularly cutting cucumbers for sushi rolls will refine your technique over time.
Akara Karimi

Chef Akara, a culinary virtuoso with a penchant for innovation, crafts dishes that marry tradition with modern flair. Her journey from culinary school to renowned kitchens forged her expertise.

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