Kazunoko is salted herring roe that has been marinated in seasoned Dashi. It is a part of Osechi Ryori, the traditional Japanese New Year feast. There are many kinds of dishes for Osechi Ryori, but Kazunoko is one of the big three celebration dishes, along with Kuromame (sweet black beans) and Tazukuri.
Each part of Osechi Ryori has a meaning to it. Kazunoko, a lump of fish roe, symbolizes many children and prosperous family. A piece of the roe is a lot of tiny eggs tightly bounded together. It has distinctive cruncy texture when you chew (along with a popping sound!) and a salty fishy flavor. That may not sound great if you’ve never had it before, but Kazunoko is a rare and expensive delicacy which is perfect for a special occasion like the new year in Japan.
Kazunoko is usually salted, and you may not want to eat as is because it is too salty. Remove the salt by soaking in water, then flavor with tasty Dashi. I have to say it is an acquired taste, but there cannot be a more authentic Japanese dish in Osechi Ryori than this!
- 4-5 Kazunoko (herring roe)
- 1/2 C (120ml) Dashi
- 1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp Sake
- Katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes)
- Desalinate Kazunoko by soaking in salt water (3 cups of water and 1/2 tsp salt) overnight in the fridge (8-12 hours). Remove membrane (white skin like thing).
- Put Dashi, soy sauce and Sake in a pot and let boil, then cool. Set aside.
- Marinate prepared Kazunoko in seasoned Dash overnight in the fridge.
- Tear Kazunoko to bite size pieces and serve with Katsuobushi on top.