May Contain Nuts

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Marinating Fresh Salmon Roe (Ikura)

We picked up fresh sockeye salmon from a native friend (they know their fresh fish!) for a good price (check out this post about gutting), but the price we also had to pay was to prepare and gut it ourselves.  Hubs managed to figure out how to clean and gut the fish.  Our fish had a belly full of eggs which would be a pity if it was tossed.  So I found online a couple of recipes on marinating salmon roe and incorporated the recipes based on my taste preference and what’s available in the kitchen.

Salmon belly full of eggy goodness.  Luckily there’s a thin membrane that holds it together so that your face is not sprayed with flying roe when you slice the fish open.   Gently take it out and place it in a bowl.  It’s like a sausage, eggs in a casing.  The eggs don’t feel as delicate as it looks when it’s all packed together.

Soak in hot water (not boiling) for a few minutes and then gently break the membrane apart.  Handle the eggs gently in the now-warm water.  Most of the loose membrane pieces will float to the top.  Keep changing water until it is clear of non-roe bits.  This may take at least 5 water changes.  You can also tilt the bowl under running water so you are flushing out the bits in one continuous stream but this takes a bit of skill in handling to avoid losing your eggs.

Once I drained the clear water, I split the eggs into 2 bowls.  I found recipes on curing it in salt and one with soy sauce. The roe will turn a clear colour as it reacts to the salt.

Salt – use non-iodized salt like sea salt or kosher salt.  I used kosher salt because I only have flavoured sea salt.  This turned out to be really salty but I was still able to taste the freshness of the eggs.  Good for mixing with rice.

Soy flavoured – 3 parts soy sauce, 2 parts sake, 1 part mirin.  Turned out perfect, it wasn’t too salty that I was able to snack on these on its own.   I ended up mixing these ones with the salted roe on rice.

Some recipes say you can keep up to 5 days, but I think you should eat it within 3 days.  On day 2, the eggs will look noticeably smaller and you will lose some from popped ones (how you can tell is if you run it under water, the popped eggs residue turns the water into a milky white colour.

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12 comments on “Marinating Fresh Salmon Roe (Ikura)

  1. bondingtool
    February 3, 2013

    My children and I love Ikura. Thanks for sharing this “how-to”. It is very interesting 🙂

    • drunk ninja
      February 3, 2013

      is it easy for you to get fresh roe from where you are?
      (funny coincidence, i’m currently going thru your recipes on your blog!)

      • bondingtool
        February 3, 2013

        My children had fresh roe on a trout farm in Melbourne. I don’t think I’ll have the joy of marinating these little gems.

  2. bondingtool
    February 3, 2013

    the coincidence is me cooking salmon curry tonight for dinner 🙂

  3. Sonya
    February 8, 2013

    Oh my god that looks great!

  4. russianmartini
    February 18, 2013

    Love this post!! When I was little in Russia, all fish was bought whole and I remember us always cooking and eating any roe that the fish came with – my mom always said it was full of nutrition and not to be wasted. Mmm, makes me want to run out and get some salmon roe. Might have to do that this weekend and make some Russian-style deviled eggs…

    • drunk ninja
      February 18, 2013

      Is that caviar? Or is caviar a more expensive type of fish roe? Russian style deviled eggs sounds yummy…

  5. russianmartini
    February 18, 2013

    I could be wrong, but I think caviar is just cured/marinated fish roe of any kind. In Russia, we used to have a lot of black caviar (sturgeon or osetra), but there is also the red (salmon) kind, like you have pictured here. Nowadays I usually buy the red, because it’s more accessible/affordable. We would buy caviar at the store, but if we had a fish with roe at home, my mom would just fry it up along with the fish filets. It has a different texture and flavor when fried, but still good.

    • drunk ninja
      February 18, 2013

      i think i’ve tried the black ones before (they came in a can), but it wasn’t the expensive ones haha

  6. Pingback: Gutting a Fresh Sockeye Salmon Like An Amateur | May Contain Nuts

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This entry was posted on February 3, 2013 by in Recipes My Way - Asian Style, Recipes My Way - General and tagged , , , , , , , .
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