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Ikura sushi: what is it & how do you make it?

Ikura is the Japanese word for salmon roe (fish eggs), which can also be referred to as red caviar. Interestingly, salmon isn't native to Japanese waters, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t become a popular delicacy in Japan.


Written by: Kelly Choi
Ikura sushi

 What is ikura sushi?

Ikura is a striking orange colour, so it’s no wonder that it’s typically used as a garnish for various types of sushi. Adding a spoonful of ikura can instantly make any sushi look super-impressive. 

But thanks to its unique flavour, ikura can also be used as the main component of sushi. Gunkan maki is a type of sushi that only contains three key ingredients: rice, nori and ikura. The word ‘gunkan’ translates to battleship, which makes sense given the shape of these delicacies. 

What does ikura sushi taste like?

Ikura has both a distinctive taste and texture. As you might expect, it has a briny, fishy taste and is rich in umami. The ikura is usually brined in salt, or sometimes soy sauce, before being frozen, which adds to the taste. It’s a fantastic flavour by itself, but it can be enhanced even further by being paired with other sushi ingredients

Just as important as the taste is the texture. Ikura is very soft and offers a satisfying pop when you bite into each little egg. Then you’ll be hit with a burst of flavour — it’s quite the experience. 

When is the best season for ikura sushi?

Ikura is considered to be at its best from late August to October, as during this time the eggs will be larger and softer. If the roe is harvested too late, the skin can become too tough and thick. However, as ikura can be frozen, it’s available to customers all year round.

How to make ikura sushi 

So, now you’ve heard all about it, fancy making some ikura sushi of your own? There are two ways to go about it: either use ikura to top your sushi or make some gunkan maki filled with fresh salmon roe. 


To make gunkan maki (otherwise known as ikura sushi) you’ll need a few key ingredients. These are:


Once you’ve got your ingredients ready, it’s time to create the sushi. With gunkan maki, you don’t need to roll up the sushi, so there’s no excuse to not give this one a try. You’ll just need to follow these simple steps. 

  1. Roast the nori seaweed by placing them over a frying pan at medium heat
  2. Once cold, cut the nori into long strips
  3. Drain your ikura until it’s as dry as possible
  4. Roll your rice into 2-3 cm balls, keeping your hands wet to avoid them sticking
  5. Wrap the nori around the rice, with the shiny side facing outwards
  6. Use a grain of rice to seal the nori together
  7. Place a spoonful of ikura on the top, ensuring it covers the surface of the rice
  8. Serve with soy sauce and ginger

Simple yet delicious, you have to give this one a go. Why not invite some family and friends to sample your very own ikura sushi along with other types of sushi you rustle up with a sushi making kit? Or…you could keep it all for yourself.


Don't forget to share with a friend!

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