Mentaiko onigiri

What are Tarako and Mentaiko?

You can appreciate how tarako, sometimes known as "roe," affects your taste buds if you've ever experienced it. Pollock roe makes everything great. In addition to being a component of many dishes, such as our pasta, pollock roe can also be consumed on its own. Also made from pollock roe is the well-known Tarako in Japan. Tarako is the sac membrane of salt-cured Alaskan/walleye pollock. The Japanese consume this delicacy raw, cooked, with rice, or in a pasta sauce.

What is Tarako?

Tarako is a salted pollack roe-based seafood product. The Japanese word "tarako" (from "tara," meaning cod, and "ko," meaning progeny) means "children of cod." Alaska pollock, or tarako, is a salted and preserved whole fish egg (roe) sac. It is a Fukuoka prefecture specialty and a type of Japanese food. It has a beige-pink hue and is commonly used in onigiri rice ball, tarako pasta, and as a rice side dish. It is available in the sac, pieces, and jars without the soft membrane. Fresh roe is salt-cured for a half-day before being rinsed, pat dried to eliminate the excess moisture, and allowed to mature for a few days.

TARAKO - Korean and Japanese Cuisine  Tarako Mentaiko

What is Mentaiko?

Tarako and mentaiko are both sacks of salted cod roe, but mentaiko differs in that the roe is marinated in various spices and chilies to produce a unique flavor profile. Raw mentaiko is available in various colors, from light pink to vivid scarlet, depending on the food manufacturer. Tarako is less flavorful than mentaiko because they are typically marinated in different sauces and spices. Due to the different culinary colorings and marinating substances employed, raw meat often varies in color.

Karashi Mentaiko: Cod Family - Food in Japan | Japanese Cooking : SALTED POLLOCK ROE

What is the difference between tarako and mentaiko?

Pollock roe, a member of the cod family, is utilized in traditional Japanese fish dishes, including tarako and mentaiko. Because Alaskan pollock is a true cod, tarako, and mentaiko are cod roe. Tarako is just salted, whereas mentaiko is marinated and flavorful. Pollock roe is popular in Japanese cuisine and Korean, Russian, and French dishes.

Mentaiko: The Spicy Roe For People Who Don't Love The Taste Of Fish | JAPANESE DISH

Uses of Tarako and Mentaiko

Tarako, mentaiko, and karashi mentaiko are all interchangeable terms in most recipes. It all depends on your personal preferences. Tarako is the best choice for plain salted cod roe. Mentaiko is a more flavorful cod roe, and karashi mentaiko begs to be used if you enjoy spicy Japanese fish eggs. You can eat the roe uncooked or quickly prepare it to your preference, depending on how you received it. There is no need for difficult pruning or discarding because the roe is usually provided with the case, and it is totally up to you whether or not to use it. It is simple to remove by gently removing the eggs with your hands.

USES in Japanese Cooking : enjoying roe through rice ball, fried rice, pasta, spicy mentaiko, sandwich spread

How to cook tarako and mentaiko?

Tarako and mentaiko are frequently used interchangeably in traditional Japanese dishes, which all comes down to personal opinion. Choose the first option if you prefer it plain; choose the second option if you prefer a stronger flavor. You can also make tarako and mentaiko with or without the roe sac's outer membrane. Tarako and mentaiko can be quickly heated in a skillet, combined with pasta, stuffed into rice balls or other rice dishes, deep-fried, used as a garnish on sushi, or blended with mayo to make dips and spreads.

Japanese Mentaiko Pasta (Cod Roe Spaghetti) -

What do tarako and mentaiko taste like?

Tarako and mentaiko are overflowing with oceanic flavors. Tanako is less flavorful because it is merely salted, whereas mentaiko has a kick and a deep umami flavor because of the brine and marinades used in its preparation. Both are salty and loaded with seafood essence, but they aren't "fishy." The small roe develops a rich, thick, almost paste-like texture when cooked while enclosed in the sac membrane. The small eggs give the roe an almost sauce-like feel when consumed raw.

Frozen Pollock Roe SALTED (TARAKO) 500g Pack - Tiny Cod Roe

Karashi Mentaiko Onigiri (Spicy Cod Roe Rice Ball) Recipe


  • 1 1/2 cooked rice (short grain rice)

  • kosher salt

  • 1/2 piece karashi mentaiko

  • 1 nori sheet seaweed


  1. Gather all of the necessary ingredients.

  2. On a clean cutting board, place a medium-sized sheet of plastic wrap. On top of the plastic wrap, sprinkle some Kosher or sea salt. This is an optional step. However, salting the outside of the onigiri is rather common.

  3. Fill the center of the plastic wrap with a substantial amount of warm, cooked rice. Spread the rice slightly so your thumb can easily fit into the center. The process is similar to making thumbprint cookies.

  4. When ready, microwave the karashi mentaiko for 10 to 15 seconds on high, wrapped in plastic. From a deep, translucent pinkish-red to a paler, solid light pink, the mentaiko's color will change.

  5. A slice of cooked karashi mentaiko should be placed in the center of the rice's depression. Next, as the rice encloses the karashi mentaiko filling, slowly bring the edges of the plastic wrap together.

  6. Then, gently squeeze the onigiri in your palms while cupping your hands together. Gently twist the onigiri in your hands into a triangular-cupped shape while pressing your fingers into the rice ball to flatten the center. As a result, the triangle shape will be thick and virtually flat.

  7. Remove the onigiri's plastic wrapper. The sheet of dried seaweed encircles the onigiri. Wrap in clean plastic wrap, store in a bento or lunch box or eat immediately.

Karashi Mentaiko Onigiri (Spicy Cod Roe Rice Ball) on a plate


What is cod roe made of?

Cod Roe is made from Codfish eggs retrieved while the sac remains intact. It has a similar structure to the pancreas or other organ meats. Its fresh, slightly salty flavor and high nutritious value make it a popular Scandinavian delicacy.

What fish is tarako?

Tarako is Japanese for salted Alaska pollock roe. Alaska pollock is a North Atlantic fish of the cod family, and tara means "cod" in Japanese.

Is pollock roe good for you?

Cod roe, in particular, is strong in B vitamins and has high levels of vitamin C. The high vitamin A and D content of cod liver is well known and has long been praised.

Experiences by Japan Crate : Onigiri Experience Set

Spicy cod roe, salted pollock roe, or karashi mentaiko are common fillings for rice balls known as onigiri, omusubi, or musubi in Japanese cuisine. Togarashi, a red chili pepper, and microscopic cod roe enclosed in a thin sac or membrane make up Karashi mentaiko.In addition to karashi mentaiko, cod roe types mentaiko and tarako can be used as fillings in this rice ball dish and it can also be eaten raw that can be bought at the asian supermarkets or Japanese grocery stores.

Japan Crate offers this Onigiri Experience Set to experience the excitement of making onigiri on your own. This set will level your experience in making your personalized onigiri at home. The set includes seaweed wrap, furikake seasoning, condiment, filling, rice mold, and instant rice.

Experiences by Japan Crate : Onigiri Experience Set


Tarako is a seafood product made from salted pollack roe. It's made by salt-curing fresh roe for half a day, draining off the salt, patting dry any excess moisture, and letting it develop for a few days. It's a specialty of Fukuoka prefecture. Get your Onigiri Experience Set now and get the chance to get exclusive deals or promos. Visit our website now.



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