Ikura Don is a rice bowl dish from Japan that has pickled salmon roe on top. It is a dish from Hokkaido’s traditional cuisine that has gained popularity across the country over time. Ikura Don makes use of the abundant supply of salmon in the region, just like the regional Hokkaido cuisine ChanChanYaki.
During the prime salmon fishing months of September and October, they typically consume Ikura Don and ChanChanYaki. In addition to being a local favourite, this rice bowl meal is very simple to prepare.
Are Ikura and salmon roe the same thing?
Although the majority of people believe that Ikura is the Japanese word for salmon roe, there is actually a small distinction. The salmon’s mature eggs are referred to as “salmon roe.” It is frequently used in sushi and as a garnish for many different dishes in Japan.
Ikura, on the other hand, is a salmon roe as well. However, it is typically pickled in salt or soy sauce to improve its flavour. Ikura is frequently used in place of salt and other condiments in Japanese cuisine. The salmon roe has a salty flavour because they soak it in salt or soy sauce.
Preparing the dish
To make the salmon roe for this dish the Japanese way, marinate the fresh, uncured salmon roe in soy sauce, typically with mirin and/or sake and occasionally with dashi. If you’re not in Japan, your alternatives are restricted, though you might be able to get it already prepared in Japanese grocery stores. Although it is unrealistic for most individuals, you can try to obtain an uncured roe sac and start the procedure from scratch yourself.
I came up with a little workaround: Purchase some plain, salt-cured salmon roe from a reputable fishmonger, and then quickly marinade it in soy sauce, mirin or sake, and some dashi. (Even instant dashi is suitable for this use.) Simply getting some of those flavours into the roe is the objective, and it works remarkably nicely.
Next, drain the roe and top it with freshly cooked rice that has slightly cooled off. Wasabi and nori should then be added as garnish. It also doesn’t hurt to use a shiso leaf. Additionally, some fatty salmon sashimi slices did not. A few sea urchin lobes, perhaps. Alternatively, some tasty crab meat chunks. or any or all of the aforementioned. I advise you to reward yourself!
- 115g cured salmon roe (see notes)
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) usukuchi (light) soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) mirin or sake
- 1/4 cup (60ml) homemade or instant dashi
- 1 to 1 ½ cups cooked short-grain rice, slightly cooled
- Wasabi, for garnish
- Nori seaweed strips, for garnish
- Shiso leaf, for garnish (optional)
- Soy sauce, mirin or sake, dashi, and salmon roe should all be combined in a medium bowl. Allow to stand for 15 minutes or more. (Now is a good time to start cooking the rice.)
- Place the rice in a serving bowl. Afterwards, gently spoon the roe onto the rice. If desired, add wasabi, nori strips, and shiso as garnish. If you’d like, you can also include other seafood in the bowl, such as uni (sea urchin), cooked crab flesh, slices of salmon sashimi, or more.