Caviar in Cucumber Baskets

Kyūri no Ikura-Zumé


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes


Appears in

An American Taste of Japan

An American Taste of Japan

By Elizabeth Andoh

Published 1985

  • About

These charming, elegant little hors d’oeuvres are meant to be consumed in just a bite or two.


  • 1 unwaxed cucumber, about 5–6 ounces
  • 2 ounces ikura (salmon roe)
  • 1 teaspoon usukuchi shōyu (light soy sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon wasabi powder (fiery Japanese horseradish)
  • 1 teaspoon cold water


Wash the cucumber well and slice off about ½ inch from the stem (darker green) end. Using this stem piece, rub the cut surface in circular motions until a thick white foam appears; rinse it away. This is what the Japanese call aku nuki or “bitterness removal.” Trim off the flowering (lighter-color) end, then cut the cucumber into six even pieces, each about ¾ inch.

If you like, you can create a design on the cucumber pieces. Using a zester or other narrow chiseling instrument (wood- or linoleum-block tools are perfect for this job), remove a shallow strip of dark green skin about ¼ inch from the edge of each piece.

With a melon bailer, hollow out each cucumber basket. Scoop out as much of the seeded portion as you can but be careful not to poke through the walls of your baskets. Turn the baskets upside down to drain off any excess liquid. (The baskets can be made up to this point, covered with clear plastic wrap, and refrigerated for up to 4 hours.)

In a small bowl toss the caviar with the light soy sauce and let it marinate for a few moments before draining.

In another small bowl or dish, mix the horseradish powder with an equal quantity of cold water and stir to make a paste. Place a dab of the horseradish paste on the inside of each cucumber basket. Fill the baskets with the red caviar and serve at once. Or cover with clear plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30—60 minutes.