California Cucumbers make perfect appetizer bites for spring and summer! Low calorie, lower carb, high flavour! It's a great way to use up leftover rice too!
I have to admit I have not explored the Sushi world very extensively but I do enjoy California Sushi items where I am guaranteed no raw seafood!
These tasty cucumber bites are filled with rice, mango, red pepper, green onion. You can switch up the fillings for whatever you have on hand - carrots, celery, snow peas. A variety of dips, some Pickled Ginger and Wasabi on the side can totally amp up the flavour quotient.
Enjoy as many as you like of these - they are pretty much guilt free and totally gluten free. These little bites are ticking all the boxes! They are best made ahead so they have time to rest for at least a few hours in the fridge and overnight is perfect. They would make perfect picnic fare as well!
Use English cucumbers since the seed column is smaller and leaves you more cucumber flesh to work with. I cut my cucumbers cross-wise into about 3 sections so I could hollow out the seeds in the center with a sharp knife gently scoring from both ends. Hollow out the cucumber leaving the firm flesh and outer skin intact.
You will want to slice your fillings finely in strips a few inches long. The strip should be firm enough that you will be able to push it into the cucumber center.
When you cook your rice don't rinse the rice before cooking. This is one time you want the rice to be sticky. I started by tamping some cooked rice along one side of the inner opening. Then gently fill the rest of the opening by inserting the lengths of carrot, peppers, mango, celery -whatever you are using. You will want to insert the strips into both open ends of your cucumber pieces. Then I tamped a bit more rice into each end to fill in any final spaces. Use your finger or a small utensil to press as deeply as you can. If you have any gaps or holes in the stuffing it will fall out when someone tries to eat it.
Wrap your stuffed cucumber pieces in plastic wrap and press on the stuffed ends firmly to get the filling firmly and uniformly in place.
When you are ready to serve, slice the cucumber cross-wise into about 1" pieces. Arrange on a platter and serve with Pickled Ginger, Wasabi, and dipping sauces. You can find some of my favourites Easy Asian Dipping Sauces here.
And- see what else is on the plate? I had leftover Water Chestnuts so I marinated them in the Soy Ginger Dipping Sauce and refrigerated them. They make a spicy, refreshing little tidbit as well served on a toothpick. Another perfect picnic treat!
- 2 English cucumbers
- ½ cup white rice (or use leftover rice)
- ½ small carrot
- ½ mango
- ¼ red pepper
- 2 green onions white and a bit of the green stalk
- Boil rice according to package instructions (or use leftover white rice). Do not rinse the rice, you want it to be a sticky as possible.
- Trim the narrow ends off each of the cucumbers. Cut each cucumber into 3 or 4 lengths. With a small sharp knife carefully cut out the center seed column. Try to keep as much cucumber flesh as possible.
- Julienne the mango, pepper, carrot and green onion. You want the slivers to be fine but stiff enough to be able to push into the cucumber center. You will stuff them into each end of each cucumber piece so you want the slivers to be about the same length as the cucumber pieces or shorter, not longer.
- Working from both ends, stuff each cucumber piece with some rice and tamp it down on one side of the hole. Then gently push the julienned mango and vegetables into the hole working from both ends again. Insert as many as you can. The last slivers should be tight to push in, you may not get them all the way but work from both ends until you can't add any more.
- There will still be some spaces so take a small bit of rice and tamp it in the end with your finger or a utensil to try to fill the spaces. Trim the ends if there are vegetable ends protruding.
- Wrap the cucumber pieces in plastic wrap, tightly and close the ends. Press on the ends firmly to keep pressing the filling into the hole.
- Refrigerate at least 3 hours but overnight is even better.
- When ready to serve slice into rounds about 1" thick. Serve with dipping sauces, pickled ginger and/or wasabi.