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Recipe: Gunkan Maki (Battleship Sushi)


Published on

A fun and easy snack with a bright vibrant color.

gunkan maki battleship sushi
This Gunkan Maki sushi recipe is easy to make at home.

Type of dish: Snack
Servings: Makes 4 rolls
Equipment: Cooking Pot


  • ½ cup of uncooked short- or medium-grain white rice
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • dab of wasabi
  • 1 sheet toasted nori
  • 1 inch of cucumber, cut in half to create two half moons
  • 4 TB salmon roe (ikura)–recommended sources are websites I Love Blue Sea or Vital Choice


  1. To prepare the rice, rinse several times and cook according to its instructions. When it’s finished, mix 1 tsp red wine vinegar into the steaming hot rice, then set rice aside to cool.
  2. Prepare a bowl of water for your fingers, and have a kitchen towel nearby, as you will want wet hands when working with the rice, and perfectly dry hands when touching the nori.
  3. Wet your hands and create four ovals of rice, each one inch wide by two inches long.
  4. Using kitchen shears or a knife and cutting board, cut the nori sheet into four strips of 7 inch (18 cm)by 1 ¼ inch (3 cm) wide.
  5. Slice the cucumber moon shapes into very thin slices.
  6. Arrange three thin cucumber moons at the short end of a rice oval. Hold it in place with one hand while drying the other hand and then picking up a nori strip.
  7. Wrap the nori strip around the rice/cucumber, making an oval wrapped sushi roll. Dip one finger in water, and use it to seal the nori shut at the end.
  8. Press the rice down to create space at the top of the roll. Sprinkle a bit of wasabi on top of the rice oval.
  9. Spoon salmon roe on top of the rice, and serve immediately to avoid nori getting soggy.


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Chris Kresser in kitchen
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Join the conversation

  1. I wish people who comment here would read more of the website first before making these comments and questions.

    • I was playing devil’s advocate to get people to clarify their positions. I found it funny that a cookbook for a paleo diet, which is often portrayed as a macho diet of hunters carrying spears, was showing us how to cook sushi.

      Maybe we need a new name for Chris’s diet, although this isn’t the best time as his Paleo Cure has just come out.

      • Macho guys with pointed weapons? Ever hear of the samurai? The ninjas (not the ones with green shells)? You seem to imply that sushi is for elite effete snobs, not macho types. It isn’t — it is a traditional food. BTW #1: let’s not perpetuate the silly media stereotype of the Paleo diet as copious chunks of raw meat. It makes it harder to get people who might benefit from a Paleo approach to get past the loopy caveman image. BTW #2: The bulk of calories in traditional hunter-gatherer societies came from the gatherers, not the guys wiih spears. Some anthropologists estimate as high as 80% came from the gathering function. And the stereotype of the gatherers providing only vegetable foodstuffs is far off the mark, too. Even in modern hunter-gatherer societies, the gatherers provided plenty of animal protein – small amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals; fish and shellfish; and,all those yummy larval and adult insects. And, of course, eggs — a gathered, not hunted, high-value food.

  2. The paleo diet works because of its raw content from seeds and nuts. The rest is just filler. If you want to eat rice, go ahead, lots of cultures seem to do well on it, just make sure it’s not from the USA (lots of arsenic in it). The body can make do with lots of things as long as it has the right amount of the good stuff. It’s really an amazing, adaptable organism.

    • OK. If this is the rationale, then why no dairy? Why no legumes? A lot of cultures do well on those foods.

    • Really??? That would come as a surprise to the Inuits and Masai, among others. Got science?

      • Inuit die on average 10 years earlier on the diet they currently consume, the Masai eat a paleo type diet. So what’s your point?

  3. Did Paleo hunters eat bacon? did they eat coconut oil? did they eat 99% of the things that Paleo eaters now consume? I think you are missing the point!

  4. I am confused… have you ever read any of Chris’ writing? Maybe go back and look at the 9000 times he has talked about this…

  5. I thought rice was off limits when eating Paleo. I’m new to this but nothing I’ve read said it was ok to eat.

    • Poor Chris, I fear his educational efforts are often in vain. If we look at REAL Paleo diets — the ones actually consumed by ancient and modern hunter-gatherers, not some marketer’s hype about mammoth steaks — you will see a huge variety, including legumes; potatoes (tubers, root veggies, consumed over the world); psuedograins like quinoa, amaranth, wild rice; some true grains (but not in the massive amounts we eat today); nightshades; and other foods that some of the misguided, non-scientific, Eurocentric, self-styled “Paleo gurus” eschew. First, there is no “Paleo pope” who can tell you infallibly what is Paleo and what is “forbidden”. Second, the natural Paleo lifestyle didn’t end 11,000 years ago when some communities in the Near East started framing. It dwindled gradually, in fits and starts, until the 20th century in some areas. Third, even as far back as 11,000 years ago, there were humans in the so-called “New World” following their hunter-gatherer lifestyles and eating foods that Euro-Paleos did not have (surprise, surprise – they are called the PALEO-Indians). Some Paleo people persisted, in the “New World” and in remote locations elsewhere, until relatively recently. There is nothing magic about the artificial chronology of the Paleolithic era. Paleo is the lifeway of people who lived as traditional hunter-gatherers, regardless of location or century.

  6. I’m confused. Did Paleolithic hunters and gatherers eat a lot of sushi? In fact, did they eat a lot of rice?

    • The average Paleo human very likely consumed a lot more “sushi” (raw fish/shellfish) than the average “modern” person does today, according to the archeological record. That was also the case for modern hunter-gatherer societies, at least until civilization “discovered” them and introduced them to the nutritional advantages of Coke and Twinkies.

      • Actually “sushi” means: “with rice,” and the meaning has no correlation to fish; just typically served with fish.