What is Tobiko and Tobiko Sushi (Complete Guide)

Tobiko Sushi: Tobiko is the name of a healthful food choice made by food lovers throughout the world. It contains a low amount of calories, a high amount of essential nutrients like protein and amino acids.

Getting back to basic-level talks, what is Tobiko?

It’s a Japanese word that refers to flying fish eggs that are used as a garnish to various dishes. Or, you may have heard it as ‘flying fish roe’. These eggs come in bright reddish-orange color and a slightly salty, smoky taste. They compliment rice and fish greatly with their crunchy but soft texture.

However, there is a lot more surprising information about Tobiko and Tobiko in sushi. For example, what tobiko does taste like, what the available types of tobiko are, how you can make tobiko sushi, and a whole lot more.

So, let’s go through our detailed guide on Tobiko and not miss a single interesting part of the topic.

What is Tobiko?

Tobiko is a type of fish paste or caviar made from flying fish eggs. It is an ingredient in Japanese cuisine, and it has been used for centuries. The texture of this ingredient is crisp and firm, similar to a caviar or roe. It’s usually made by steaming the roe in saltwater for about two hours. There are many different types of tobiko, including raw tobiko, smoked tobiko, seasoned tobiko, and deep-fried tobiko. But what are these ingredients? What are their flavors like? And why would you use them in your cooking? Keep reading to find out more about these important ingredients in the world of Japanese cuisine!

“Japanese for flying fish roe, it is most commonly known as the egg in sushi. They are small ranging from 0.5 to 0.8 millimeters and are also larger than masago but smaller than ikura.

What is Tobiko Sushi?

Tobiko eggs are typically added as a garnish or topping on sushi rolls or other Japanese dishes. You can easily recognize the eggs by their super small sizes. Generally, the eggs come in 0.5-0.8 mm in diameter.

About colors, there are not only orange-colored Tobiko eggs out there. Chefs love to add natural color ingredients to infuse flavors and colors to the eggs. Yes, there are black, green, yellow, and red Tobiko so, don’t worry if you see them coming in multi-colors after ordering sushi rolls.

Other popular flying fish roes are Ikura and Masago (pin it for later, we’ll discuss the differences), which are interchangeably used in Japanese food items.

What Does Tobiko Taste Like

Usually, Tobiko tastes salty and gives a smoky flavor. Other roe variations taste less sweet than Tobiko though.

People love to use Tobiko eggs as an addition to fish and rice for the delicate texture of Tobiko. And, you can enhance the taste of the eggs by adding soy sauce, grated ginger, and wasabi to the platter.

Types of Tobiko Sushi

As we said before, natural color ingredients are used to dye Tobiko and this is how you can find these four types:

  • Green Tobiko: Wasaki is used to make it spicy and green.
  • Black Tobiko: Combined with squid ink.
  • Red Tobiko: To make Tobiko red, beetroot works just right.

Tobiko and Tobiko Sushi

Yellow Tobiko: A Japanese species of citrus lemon called yuzu makes tobiko yellow.

Where to Buy Tobiko

People living in the US can easily find Tobiko at well-stocked Asian or Japanese grocery stores. Look in the seafood sections of the stores. You’ll find them in small containers, there are options to choose from green, orange, black, and red-colored Tobiko.

We would like to add a tip here, buy the smallest package if you’re purchasing Tobiko for the first time. You don’t have to use a large batch unless you make a huge amount of sushi. About the price, Tobiko comes at an affordable price.

Eurocaviar - Shikran - Smoked Salmon Caviar Pearls 3.52 oz
Source: amazon

Price Check on Amazon

Things You Should Consider Before Buying Tobiko

  • Since Tobiko is perishable, buy them only when you need them.
  • The Tobiko container should be properly sealed.
  • Contact a trustworthy seller who can offer you a cash-back guarantee if you’re buying online.
  • Take the expiration date of the product into consideration.
  • Another flying fish roe is Masago which is quite the same as Tobiko, so don’t mistake one with another. Read the label carefully.

How to Store Tobiko

You can either store the Tobiko in the fridge or in the freezer.

To Store Tobiko in The Fridge

  • Put your Tobiko in an airtight container and place it in the fridge for 10-14 days.
  • In case the jar is unopened, a maximum of 3 days is fine to store them in the fridge.
Store Tobiko in The Fridge
Store Tobiko in The Fridge

To store Tobiko in The Freezer

  • You can freeze the Tobiko for up to 3 months.

Make sure you use a spoon to take the amount you want from the jar. And, before you put the rest back in the freezer, let it thaw.

Tobiko Sushi Menu

So, how can you make Tobiko with other dishes?

Foodies love the way Tobiko goes with sashimi or sushi or other items like:

  • Salads: Tobiko provides extra protein and nutrition as an addition to salads. Apart from that, it makes the salads taste great and look great.
  • Dips: Add Tobiko to crackers and nachos, it’ll take the taste to another level in addition to some lemon zest.

Tobiko Pasta: Can you guess what happens to creamy pasta after adding a bit of Tobiko to it? You’ll have a slight saltiness which will add a smoky flavor by balancing the creaminess and taste heavenly.

Tobiko Sushi Ingredients

And, it’s time to know what ingredients you need to gather for making a bowl of mouthwatering Tobiko sushi.

And, before that, here’s how you can make sushi vinegar (one of the key ingredients to make Tobiko sushi)- Take 1 tablespoon of mild rice vinegar and add ½ teaspoon salt and ½ cup sugar to it. Now, let’s talk about the next ingredients you need.

Ingredients for Tobiko Sushi

  • Sushi vinegar: 1 tablespoon
  • Water: 1 cup
  • Sushi rice (short-grain): 1 cup

Ingredients for Sushi Rice

  • Tobiko: 3 tablespoon
  • Avocado: 2 pieces
  • Boiled salmon, crab, tuna, or shrimp: 6 ounce
  • Cucumber (cut into ½ inch strips): ½

Seaweed nori sheets: 2

How to Make Tobiko Sushi?

This section will guide you to make the best Tobiko sushi you can ever have! The dish is super easy to make but you have to be extra careful at every step to avoid a mess.

  • Start with washing the rice. After washing the rice properly, pour the water into a rice cooker. Then, add the rice to it.
  • Cook the rice and then have a large bowl to fill it with the cooked rice. Wait a bit to cool the rice down. Add the sushi vinegar you made ahead to the warm rice.
  • Use plastic wrap to cover the bamboo mat. This step helps not to let the rice stick to one another.
  • After that, take the nori sheet and cut them in half after simply folding the sheet. Go back to the bamboo mat and keep the nori sheet half on top of the mat.
  • Take the ¾ cup of the rice you cooked and spread it on the nori. This time, chances are your hands may stick, make sure it doesn’t happen.
  • Dip the nori sheet in vinegar water first. Then, flip the sheet so the rice touches the vinegar water.
  • Keep avocado, shrimp, and cucumber on the nori. Now, you have to raise the edges as well as cover the fillings by placing your thumbs under the bamboo mat.
  • Start rolling the mat in the opposite direction from you. Hence, you have to be careful because only light pressure is required to tighten the mat. Keep rolling and stop as long as it touches the end.
  • Once done, take the bamboo mat out and spread your Tobiko over the roll.
  • The plastic wrap should be placed over the sushi and then cover the whole thing using a mat. In order to spread the Tobiko over the roll, gently press it down.
  • Remove the mat without removing the plastic.
  • Cut the roll into small pieces and remove the plastic wrap.

Finally, serve Tobiko sushi! You can also try Tiger Roll Sushi Recipe , This is also delicious and one of the popular Japanese cuisine like tobiko.

Tobiko vs Ikura

You may have heard the term ‘Ikura’ only once or twice but the surprising fact is that Ikura is the egg of salmon. There are two ways you can follow to prepare salmon roe.

For example, you can remove individual eggs from the salmon and serve. In this way, you can control the number of roe you’re serving. This way is known as Ikura. On the other hand, if you remove the whole pouch of roe from the salmon and prefer to keep the eggs altogether, this way is known as Sujiko.

Chefs like to soak Sujiko in a brine solution so it can be sweeter compared to the individual roe.

Overall, you’ll notice that an individual roe has a more distinct taste compared to caviar or tobiko. Maybe you can relate the taste of Ikura to the taste of popping boba. About size, Ikura is a bit larger than caviar or tobiko.

Ikura has a specific pigment compound in it that makes it intensely vivid-orange colored. The eggs look slightly transparent and shiny. Ikura comes with a rich and bold flavor and a pleasant smell.

You can also try: Best Jello Shot Syringe Recipe

Tobiko vs Caviar

Caviar is the egg of the wild sturgeon fish. Black sea and Caspian are the most common habitat of this type of fish. Caviar is generally used as a garnish on top of some dishes (so, you’ll barely see people eat caviar by the spoonful).Sushi

It’s pretty easy to recognize caviar as they are black, glossy, and very small in size (like a piece of a pea). But the size depends on the fish it comes from. Caviar tastes almost like a sea breeze that tastes salty. Like tobiko, caviar also has a crunchy texture and it tastes a bit sweet upon chewing.

You’ll find different types of caviar. For example:

  • White sturgeon
  • Kaluga
  • Sterlet
  • Beluga
  • Hackleback
  • Osetra
  • Siberian sturgeon
  • Paddlefish
  • Sevruga

The caviar comes in different colors even in blue but there’s no such thing as blue tobiko.

Tobiko Sushi Calories and Nutrition Facts

These great Japanese food items have a beneficial nutritional profile.

Tobiko has a high amount of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and other nutritions. From 1 tablespoon of tobiko, you’ll get:

  • Calories: 20
  • Fat: 0g
  • Protein: 1g
  • Carbohydrates: 3g
  • Sodium: 340mg
  • Cholesterol: 40mg

Ikura is also a nutritious food like tobiko. Below is a list of fatty acids you can get from Ikura:

  • Omega-6
  • Omega3- in the form of DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) and EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid)
  • Omega-7
  • Omega-9

Ikura has a huge amount of vitamin A too. Moreover, astaxanthin is a pigment compound found in Ikura which is a potent antioxidant. This antioxidant fights against signs of aging.

Now, what’s about Caviar’s nutritional profile? Well, it contains high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. More specifically, it has an abundant amount of DHA and EPA that help function our heart, brain, and eyes properly and they reduce inflammation too.

Also, Caviar comes with some essential amino acids including:

  • Phenylalanine
  • Lysine
  • Glutamic acid
  • Leucine

Amino acids are the heroes who help build proteins in our body which results in helping our immune system and muscular health function properly.

Although fish roe offers a lot of essential nutrients, they can be high in sodium and cholesterol. So, make sure you eat fish roe in moderation to avoid any health possible risk.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it safe to eat tobiko?

Yes but as long as you eat tobiko in moderation. Tobiko is rich in a lot of nutrients but due to the high level of cholesterol, it should be consumed moderately.

Why are tobiko different colors?

Although tobiko naturally comes in vivid orange color, chefs use other ingredients to dye tobiko. This is the reason why you see tobiko coming in green, yellow, and even in black color.

How to know if my tobiko is bad for you?

Inspect the packaging before you open it. The package should never come as damaged or open. And, if it’s expired Caviar, you can still eat this because it simply lost its texture and flavor but it’s safe to eat.

Is it okay to eat tobiko during pregnancy?

Yes, since tobiko comes from a lower-mercury fish, pregnant women can consume tobiko without worry.

Final Words

Are you still there? Thanks if you’re saying yes. We tried our best to provide you with the necessary information related to tobiko sushi.

It can be a great addition to your diet. We hope that from now, you can separate different flying fish roe and set your personal preference about their tastes.

However, don’t forget about the little health risk that may be caused by the high amount of cholesterol in tobiko. Don’t eat a large batch at once; warning!