How to easily separate and cure salmon roe in a dashi brine to make ikura (Japanese salmon caviar).

With spawning season in full swing, the salmon are packed to the gills with roe. If you’re able to find a skein of salmon roe at your fishmonger (or you happen to know someone that’s going salmon fishing), 5 minutes and a handful of ingredients is all it takes to turn that ugly sac of roe into a decadent bowl of ikura (salmon caviar)

Unlike the limp salty goop that that comes out of jars, homemade ikura is truly sublime. The plump silken pearls of caviar glow like precious gemstones. Stick a spoonful in your mouth and each orb bursts with a satisfying pop, sending their rich, savory contents flooding over your sweet, salt and umami taste receptors in a wave of culinary bliss.

I’ve put together a little video to show you how to separate the roe from the skein and this technique should work with almost any salmon or trout roe. Just be sure to select a skein of roe with large mature pearls. Immature roe have weaker sacs which will break as you try and separate them from the skein.

Ikura (Salmon Caviar)How to easily separate and cure salmon roe in a dashi brine to make ikura (Japanese salmon caviar).


  • CourseAppetizer
  • CuisineJapanese
  • Yield2 skeins
  • Cooking Time0 minutes
  • Preperation Time10 minutes
  • Total Time10 minutes


1 1/2 cups
2 tablespoons
soy sauce
1 tablespoon
1 tablespoon
granulated sugar
1 tablespoon
2 large skeins
fresh salmon roe


  1. Make the brine by adding the dashi, soy sauce, sake, sugar and salt to a bowl and stirring until the salt and sugar are completely dissolved.
  2. Watch the video for instructions on separating the pearls of caviar from the skein.
  3. Rinse the caviar with cold water and then put it in a container with enough brine to cover it.
  4. Save any remaining brine to use as an all-purpose seasoning or for another batch of ikura.
  5. The ikura will be ready to eat in 1 day.