If you were unable to purchase plum paste and could only find the pickled plums whole, remove the pits and mash the plum meat to make a paste. Lick your finger; the plum should be pleasantly astringent. If it’s too salty or sour for your taste, add a pinch of sugar if necessary (the commercially prepared paste eliminates the skins, resulting in a more mellow taste than that of the mashed whole pickled fruit).
Rinse the shiso leaves under cold water and shake off excess moisture. Trim away the bottom stems and slice the leaves in half, lengthwise. Each roll will use a half leaf and a dab of plum paste. If you were unable to find fresh shiso leaves but have access to fresh mint, use two or three small mint leaves in each roll instead of the larger shiso.
Cut the cucumber into very thin slices slightly on the diagonal, then across into fine julienne strips. Use one eighth of these threadlike cucumber shreds for each roll.
© 1985 Elizabeth Andoh. All rights reserved.