Fresh vegetables like cucumber and carrots are common in sushi. But for variety and authenticity, look for some specialized vegetables to add to your sushi-making session. These sushi-friendly vegetables may be sold at your local supermarket, or you may have to go to your neighborhood Asian market:

  • Japanese cucumber: Japanese cucumbers’ skin is thin and delicious; they’re not watery, so they won’t make your sushi soggy; they have almost no seeds; and they’re very tasty.

    In a pinch, use English or hothouse cucumbers.

  • Daikon radish: Looks like a giant white carrot. After you grate it, daikon radish begins developing a very pungent odor. Look for firm, smooth, whole daikon radishes or chunks of daikon radish.

  • Daikon radish sprouts: Their sharp, peppery taste adds zip to whatever they’re in. To clean the sprouts, rinse, pat them dry, and then cut off their roots.

  • Gingerroot: A fabulous flavor enhancer. Look for plump ginger with skin that’s shiny, not wrinkled and dry.

  • Shiso leaves: A notched-leaf herb that’s fragrant and full of flavor. Also called perilla and is nicknamed Japanese basil because of its similar taste, but it’s really a mint.

  • Wasabi root: You lucky duck, you, if you can get your hands on expensive fresh wasabi root to grate as a condiment for your sushi.