Ikura is a Japanese seafood delicacy that has become very popular over the last decade. The name comes from the Japanese word for “salmon roe”, or caviar. This fishy treat is usually served cold, and is often eaten raw.
Ikura is low in calories and rich in omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and protein. It also contains high levels of antioxidants such as selenium and zinc.
These nutrients are all important to your health because they protect against heart disease and cancer. They may even help boost your immune system with their anti-inflammatory properties.
So, what makes ikura special? and is it really good for you?
Ikura (Salmon Roe)
Ikura is made by taking fresh wild caught sockeye salmon (or pink salmon) and pressing the eggs out of them. This process is called kokumi. Kokumi is an essential part of making ikura, and it adds a unique flavor that cannot be found anywhere else.
In addition to being delicious, ikura is also nutritious. It is packed full of vitamins and minerals including: Vitamin A, C, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, iron and many more.
All of these nutrients have been shown to promote healthy bones, teeth, muscles, skin, eyes, hair, and nails.
Ikura is commonly used in traditional Japanese cuisine. It is usually added to nigiri sushi rolls. However, it can also be used to top sashimi plates (see also, ‘How to Cut Shashimi‘) or salad bowls.
It is also frequently served as a dessert topping (see also ‘Are There Deserts In Japan?‘). For example, it can be sprinkled over ice cream or yogurt. It is also eaten plain with a spoon.
There are two different types of ikura available. One type is made from sockeye salmon eggs. This type is considered superior because it contains higher levels of fat and proteins than other varieties.
The second type is made from sockeyes that have not yet spawned. This type is lower in fat and cholesterol, but does contain slightly less protein.
What Does Ikura Taste Like?
Ikura can be described as having a milder flavor than other types of sushi. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s bland.
On the contrary, ikura has a delicate flavor that is reminiscent of the ocean. It tastes best when paired with rice, but it works well on its own too.
There are two ways to enjoy ikura. You can either eat it straight from the shell or dip it into soy sauce (see also, ‘What is Shoyu?‘).
The former option is recommended if you want to experience the true flavors of the dish. The latter option is better if you prefer to avoid strong flavors.
How is Salmon Roe Made?
To make ikura, the salmon roe is taken from the ovaries of the fish. The roe is then pressed through a mesh screen and placed onto ice.
Afterward, the roe is cut into small pieces and mixed with salt, sugar, mirin, sake, and water. Then, it is put into cans and stored in refrigerators until ready to serve.
You can find ikura at most grocery stores, especially Asian markets. If you don’t see it there, ask your local store manager where they get their supplies from.
Is Ikura Safe to Eat?
Yes! In fact, ikura is one of the safest foods to consume. There are no known risks associated with eating ikura.
It is perfectly safe to eat. Often, people are worried about the risks of mercury poisoning. Eating ikura will not lead to mercury poisoning.
The only risk associated with consuming ikura is that it could cause food poisoning. This is rare though, and it is easily prevented by following proper hygiene practices.
How is Ikura Made?
Ikura is produced using the same method used to produce caviar. First, the eggs are collected from the female salmon. Next, the eggs are washed and separated. Afterwards, the eggs are placed into a tank filled with saltwater.
Finally, the eggs are left to mature for approximately three months. During this time period, the eggs undergo natural changes. As a result, the eggs become firmer and more concentrated.
After the eggs have matured, they are removed from the tank. They are then placed into an industrial-sized mixer. Here, the eggs are blended together with salt, sugar, sake, and water to create a paste.
The mixture is then poured into cans and stored in coolers until ready to use.
The Nutritional Value of Ikura
Ikura is high in omega 3 fatty acids. These fatty acids help reduce inflammation and improve brain function. Omega 3s also support heart health and prevent cardiovascular disease.
As mentioned earlier, ikura is low in calories. It contains just 75 calories per serving. Additionally, ikura is rich in vitamin D. Vitamin D helps strengthen bones and teeth.
Finally, ikura is a good source of protein. One ounce of ikura contains about 8 grams of protein.
What is the Difference Between Caviar and Ikura?
Caviar is made from sturgeon eggs. While ikura is made from salmon eggs. Both are delicacies, but they aren’t interchangeable.
Caviar is much thicker than ikura. It comes in several sizes ranging from 1/4 cup to 1 ounce. Caviar is often sold in jars or tins.
These containers are designed for storing caviar. They keep the caviar fresh and prevent it from drying out.
On the other hand, ikura is typically sold in plastic bags or cans. These containers are designed to help preserve the product. They allow the ikura to stay moist and flavorful.
Both ikura and caviar are delicious treats. However, they are different products. Caviar is made from stinky fish eggs. On the other hand, ikura is made from sweet fish eggs. They both taste great on sushi rolls.
Ikura is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, especially when consumed raw, which is how it was originally meant to be enjoyed. However, if you prefer cooked foods, then ikura can still be incorporated into many dishes.
It’s best to eat this delicious food fresh, but frozen ikura is available at most grocery stores. You can enjoy ikura by itself, on top of sushi rolls, or mixed into soups and salads.
Try ikura with your next meal and see if it lives up to its reputation!