Not Just a Japanese Garnish
The word ikura comes from the Russian word “Ikra”, meaning fish eggs. There’s ‘black ikra’ from Russian sturgeon roe (or caviar), and ‘red ikra’ from salmon roe (or ikura in Japanese). In Russian the word ikra refers to fish eggs in general.
Ikura is a gourmet food item from cured salmon roe known for its juicy texture and characteristic pop when bitten and a rich flavor that melts in the mouth. It’s one of the most popular sushi toppings. The best ikura comes from salmon roe that’s harvested right before the breeding season, when the roe has a perfectly taut outer film and is soft. During the breeding season, the roe becomes tougher, as a protection against predators.
Using the freshest roe is the key to producing delicious ikura. To process ikura, the salmon roe needs to be removed from the thin membrane that holds the roe in a cluster. Then they have to be carefully separated into individual eggs. The process is so delicate, careful handling is important or eggs can get easily crushed. The individual eggs are then flavored, becoming the ikura we know. Some ikura are just salt-seasoned or soy sauce-marinated.
Both Japanese and Western cuisines use ikura for flavoring or garnish. Not just as a sushi topping, there’s also ikura on steamed rice, ikura on rice cooked in a traditional iron pot, ikura in salads, ikura spaghetti, and so on.
Ikura is especially rich in vitamins and minerals, and has more vitamins than egg yolks. It’s a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids, micronutrients and Vitamin D. It’s beneficial for bone health and overall immune system functions, for brain development in children and may be used to increase the fertility of women. Unlike other fish oil supplements which are processed, fish roe are real foods in whole form that can be enjoyed on its own or as an ingredient in cooking.
Enjoying Salmon Roe in Bellevue
Our Bellevue sushi restaurant offers quality sushi and other traditional favorites, including salmon roe on our sushi and sashimi. We guarantee we serve only the freshest red caviar this side of Bellevue, at Sushi In Joy.