This Omusubi is made with Alaskan cod roes produced in Hokkaido, which are steeped in a bonito and kombu dashi (soup stock) for a total of 168 hours over 7 days. Because the fresh raw ingredient is preserved instantly at local facilities, individual roes are less likely to be damaged, retaining the umami within and their firm, popping texture. During food production, no artificial colouring is used; instead the colour comes from other natural vegetable ingredients. To highlight the rich flavour, we have opted for a simple cooking method: we oven-bake whole mentaiko to well-done, before cutting them to bite-sized pieces, so that customers can enjoy the slightly firm to the bite texture. The spicy and salty tastes make it a perfect match with Japanese rice.
Hokkaido Grilled Spicy Mentaiko Omusubi
Cod roe (Japan), salt, sake, Japanese-style soup stock, chilli
Mentaiko – a well-known national food
The savoury and delicious mentaiko is one of the most popular ingredients in washoku (Japanese cuisine). Some say that mentaiko originated from the Korean Peninsula as a household dish, and was introduced to Japan in the Meiji era. In 1949, a food company in Hakata, Fukuoka began selling Japanese style mentaiko. This was hugely popular and officially marked its ascendance as a national favourite. In fact, in addition to its spicy and salty flavour, mentaiko is also highly nutritious, being rich in DHA and EPA which aid blood circulation and brain development, as well as in various proteins, unsaturated fatty acids, vitaamins B and E, and so on. It is no wonder that mentaiko is often paired with omusubi, pastas, salads and tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette), making it an all-purpose ingredient that combines bursts of umami flavour and health-promoting qualities.