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Fresh Vegetables for Sushi

11 of 11 in Series: The Essentials of Making Sushi at Home

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.

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