What Is Orange Caviar?

What is orange caviar? If you are interested in more details about this delicacy, stick around and learn all the facts about this popular sushi ingredient.

If you like to eat sushi, you must’ve seen that among the main ingredients are little orange eggs. They are called Tobiko and are flying fish roe. However, this type of caviar doesn’t necessarily have to be from flying fish.

Orange caviar

Flying Fish Roe, or Tobiko, Is the Most Popular Orange Caviar (and the Main Ingredient of Sushi)

Sushi enthusiasts are well acquainted with this type of caviar because of Tobiko (flying fish roe) which is a common ingredient in sushi recipes. Although popularized by Japan, flying fish roe was actually first used in Iceland. Nonetheless, it is an ideal ingredient for sushi as it gives a crunchy texture and increases the level of saltiness. And let’s not forget to mention the appetizing look which Tobiko imparts. It is mostly used as a garnish in Japanese cuisine, and you’ll most likely find it in the following dishes besides sushi:

  • Sashimi,
  • Crab cakes,
  • Gunkan maki,
  • Seafood dishes.

Tobiko Caviar Doesn’t Necessarily Have to Be an Orange Product When Served With Sushi

Japanese chefs often infuse Tobiko with different types of natural ingredients, which change its color. Most popular recipes include squid ink which dyes it in black and makes it look like sturgeon roe. Wasabi gives a spicy flavor and green color. Beetroot gives a vibrant red color like that of salmon roe, and yuzu (citrus fruit common in East Asia) gives it a yellow color and pleasant sour flavor. You don’t necessarily need to go to a restaurant to try out these varieties. Well-equipped Japanese or Asian stores will probably have these popular types of Tobiko.

This Caviar Can Come From Many Other Fish Species

Flying fish roe is certainly the most popular because of the Japanese cuisine, but there are many other types of fish from all around the world that give this type of roe. Let’s see what some of the most popular types besides flying fish are.

SalmonSalmon eggs are most often associated with red color, but they can also have different hues of orange. These salmon eggs are quite popular because of their affordability and texture. They are also a frequent choice for Japanese chefs and are known for their strong flavor.
CarpCarp roe is orange and what is interesting is that these eggs are usually smoked. People compare it with the taste of smoked salmon.
Rainbow troutRainbow trout eggs have a beautiful orange hue. The roe from this fish is quite popular because of its affordable price and flavor. The taste is similar to salmon, yet milder, which makes it one of the most popular choices for chefs all around the world. It is one of the best caviars when it comes to mixing with other flavors and ingredients.
WhitefishWhitefish caviar is golden orange but can also be red and black. It is popular because of its crunchy texture but also famous for making great combinations with other ingredients. The most popular combinations are with saffron, wasabi, truffles, and ginger.
CapelinMasago, as it is called in Japan, is another extremely popular variety used in Japanese cuisine. It is a frequent addition to sushi and sashimi.

Since Tobiko and Masago Are the Most Popular, It’s Useful to Know Their Differences

We have learned that they come from different species of fish, but there are many other notable differences.

ColorFlying fish eggs have an intense bright color.Capelin eggs have a dull color, which means that chefs often dye them to achieve a more appetizing color.
SizeThe roe is a bit bigger than Masago.Capelin roe is small in size when compared to other types of caviar.
TasteTobiko’s crunchiness is unparalleled, and it also has a great mix of sweetness and saltiness.Masago lacks crunchiness, but the taste is overall decent.

All in all, Tobiko is without any doubt the winner of this duel. Unfortunately, Masago is much more used because of the lower price. Good restaurants will precisely state on the menu which variety is served (they will most likely use the Japanese terms,) but overall, the majority of restaurants are opting for Masago these days.

Caviar on biscuits

Artificial Orange Caviar (Literally Made From Oranges) Is a Product That Is Gaining Huge Popularity Around the World

In general, artificial products are becoming more and more popular because of their affordability. But, the good news is that you can make this type of artificial caviar at home with a few simple natural ingredients. People usually squeeze a few oranges, but it can be any other fruit that will impart the desired color. Gelatin is added, and usually sugar and cinnamon. Although it certainly won’t taste like the real thing, and the nutritional values will not be even close, it’s not a bad idea to try these home recipes since they can be great garnishes. Shops are filled with artificial products filled with various harmful additives, and knowing that you have put only juice and sugar is a blessing.

Orange Caviar Is Equally Delicious as All Other Varieties

Depending on where you live, you may have a different perception of caviar. Some people associate it with the color red. Some immediately think of sturgeon and the color black, but, as you have been able to read, the orange variety deserves equal recognition. If you haven’t tried it yet and are wondering where it can be found, the easiest way is to go to your local Japanese restaurant.