Fish Eggs: 9 Different Kinds Of Fish Eggs Or Fish Roe Used In Sushi
There are many different types of fish roe or fish eggs used in culinary cuisines whether those cuisines are European like Greek or Italian Bottarga or Japanese like Tarako Spaghetti . I am sure that many or you reading this article have had sushi before and many of them come with different types of fish roe as well. In this article I will discuss some of the different types of fish roe that you will find in Japanese sushi and cuisine. Most of them will be used raw but some of them get cooked. So lets take a look at some fish roe.
The first type of fish roe that we will look at is called Ikura. It's the big reddish/orange globes you find in certain Japanese dishes like Chiriashi. They are salmon eggs and they are used for food and yes you most likely have seen them used for fish bait as well. The work Ikura comes from the Russian language and the work "ikra" which means caviar. I use Ikura in dishes like Chiriashi and in Tarako spaghetti as well even though Ikura is not the standard for making Tarako.
The next type of fish roe to look at is called Sujiko. Sujiko is also salmon roe. The major difference between Ikura and Sujiko is that Ikura is used and served outside of the fish egg sac and Sujiko is salmon roe that is inside of the sac when it's prepared and served to people. Sujiko eggs are different in color to Ikura as well. Sujiko is red to a really dark red while the Ikura is the lighter reddish/orange colored eggs. Some people prefer Sujiko over Ikura because Sujiko has a sweeter taste. I personally LOVE them both and use them in all kinds of cooking.
Another fish roe used in Japanese and European cuisine is called Kazunoko. This is the roe of the Herring fish. This roe is yellow or pink in color and is rubbery in texture. This type of roe is pickled and to the naked eye this roe does not look like regular fish eggs but rather looks like a solid piece of fish flesh. Generally Kazunoko is either dried or pickled in salt it is in these processes that the eggs clump together and take on a solid appearance.
Then there is a fish roe called Masago and this type of roe or egg is the processed roe of the Capelin fish. Masago is small and orange in color. The Capelin fish is abundant in the Northern Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It's widest useage is as a garnish on sushi nigiri but I use it to make my famous Tarako Japanese spaghetti! This particular fish roe often gets confused with another fish roe called Tobiko which is the roe of the flying fish. They two roes look alike but the Tobiko is the more transparent of the two roes and is bigger to boot!
Then there is another roe called Mentaiko. Mentaiko is Pollock roe and is often seasoned with red pepper powder. It's a dark red to pink in color. I like to use spicy Mentaiko in my Tarako spaghetti. The most common use of Mentaiko is in Japanese onigiri sushi but it's really good in Tarako spaghetti. Mentaiko fish roe comes in many flavors and colors in Japan and is eaten accompanied with sake. At one point in Japan Mentaiko roe was voted Japan's number one side dish to eat.
Tarako fish eggs or roe comes from the Alaskan pollock. It is salted and generally used in a couple of ways. The first way Tarako eggs are used is as breakfast. It is put on top of rice along with tomago of egg, sashimi and sliced salmon along with some nori seaweed. This is the Japanese breakfast of champions in my opinion. I love it! Tarako is also used as a filling for onigiri sushi and of course used in one of my favorite dishes......Tarako spaghetti! Traditionally Tarako roe is served with crushed red chili pepper flakes or powdered chili pepper. You can find Pollock eggs sacs in a good Asian supermarket.
Then there is Tobiko fish roe or eggs. These little eggs are orange to red in color and is the roe of the flying fish. They are just as crunchy as any other fish roe. Tobiko roe is used in Japanese and Hawaiian cuisine. There is a variety of Tobiko fish roe called Wasabi Tobiko and this Tobiko is HOT! This is because Wasabi Tobiko is mixed with Wasabi horseradish which gives it it's lovely green color. If you make lots of Japanese spaghetti(Tarako) like I do and you like spicy then you have to make your Tarako with Wasabi Tobiko eggs. You will LOVE it!
Have you ever seen a sea urchin? Have you ever had sea urchin roe? This roe is called Uni! Many people think that Uni is the roe of the sea urchin but in fact Uni is the gonads of the sea urchin, the rocky mountain oyster of the urchin so to speak! Uni is not crunchy like other roes because it's not a roe. It is creamy in texture. Uni in most sushi bars is a high demand item that can not always be had. My favorite part of Uni is that some people consider Uni to be an aphrodisiac! Hey! That's cool by me! Uni enters the market in grades that are based on criteria such as color, freshness and texture! Grade A is gold in color. Grade B is more yellow rather than gold in color. Grade C is the Uni that has broken apart from harvesting and is called "vana." Uni gonads are available fresh and frozen. It is also available baked and then frozen, steamed and frozen and is also available in different forms of paste for different cuisine applications.
The last fish roe to look at is called Karasumi. Karasumi is also called Bottarga! It is the salted roe of the mullet fish. Karasumi is very salty and comes as a large mass of eggs when purchased in the egg sacs! In Japan the Karasumi is sliced thin and eaten with radish and in places like Italy and Greece the Karasumi is grated over pasta and is called Bottarga pasta! It's delicious! The Bottarga pasta is much like Japanese Tarako spaghetti in my opinion. It is just another variety of fish pasta! I have only found Karasumi once in the states and it is hard to get in the states as it is considered a delicacy in Japan. So there you have it! A quick overview of some of the different kinds of fish roe or eggs. Fish eggs have many uses in culinary endeavors both European and Japanese dishes. One of my favorite Japanese dishes is called Tarako spaghetti and it is made with fish roe. If you would like to learn how to make Tarako spaghetti then please visit my Tarako spaghetti blog post today!
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