Do you like sushi? Then chances are you have heard about masago, an egg of the capelin fish, which is a type of foraging fish found in the North Atlantic, North Pacific, and Arctic oceans. Masago roe is only 1 millimeter wide, which is a lot smaller than other types of fish roe, including tobiko. One capelin fish produces around 56,000 eggs per season. Masago is yellow in color, but it is often dyed in a bright orange color, which is more appealing. Masago roe can also be dyed black, green, red, etc.
Masago is often used to top salads and sushi, but it can also be added to sauces. In this article, we will learn what masago sauce is, what it tastes like and how to make it at home since masago sauce is not yet produced commercially.
What Is Masago Sauce?
Masago sauce is a mayo-based condiment made with capelin fish roe (masago), soy sauce, and lime juice. Masago sauce has a smooth, velvety texture and is not produced commercially yet. Masago sauce has a subtle fishy flavor with rich creamy and savory notes from mayo and zesty hints from lime juice.
The main ingredient in the masago sauce is masago roe, which is an egg of the capelin fish. The Japanese call this fish Shishamo which means “fish that looks like willow leaves.” The fish probably gets its name for its beautiful elongated oval body shape and small size – capelin never grows bigger than 15 cm.
Masago Sauce Ingredients
What is masago sauce made of? Masago sauce is made of masago roe, mayonnaise, soy sauce, and lime juice. Masago sauce sometimes has wasabi if you want extra spiciness. Mayo in masago sauce can be substituted for sour cream to lower calorie density and increase nutritional value.
As the name suggests, the main ingredient of masago sauce is … masago roe! Masago eggs have high nutritional value and are a source of highly digestible protein and omega-3. Regular consumption of masago roe enhances studying, improves memory, reduces stress levels, and provides energy. Masago roe has a high content of A, B, and D vitamins as well as calcium and phosphorous, which are indispensable for healthy bones, joints, skin, and hair. Masago eggs are also rich in iodine and bromine, which are necessary for immunity and metabolism.
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Is masago sauce vegan? Since masago sauce is made with masago roe and mayonnaise/cream, it is not vegan. Masago roe is a seafood product, and mayonnaise contains eggs. Even though you can buy egg-free and dairy-free mayonnaise, you cannot substitute the main ingredient – the fish roe!
If you are vegan, masago sauce is not for you. While you can replace mayo with eggs, you cannot replace masago roe!
What Does Masago Sauce Taste Like?
Masago sauce has a rich, creamy flavor with addictive spicy, savory and velvety notes. Sometimes masago sauce has a salty, umami flavor if you add soy sauce. Masago sauce is delicious and goes well with anything, from seafood and meat to salads and noodles!
Because the masago eggs are only 0.5 to 1 mm in diameter, masago sauce has an interesting texture – you can taste tiny juicy eggs that burst in your mouth as you chew. This crunchy texture makes the sauce stand out – you should definitely try it yourself, and you will understand.
All in all, if you like creamy and slightly sauce with umami notes and regularly eat seafood and sushi, masago sauce is the best choice! I love it with crab cakes and on my sushi, but it goes with almost anything!
Easy Masago Sauce Recipe
I bet after reading this article, you can’t wait to make your sauce at home and enjoy it with your favorite meals. This masago sauce is super easy, here is what you need:
- 1/2 cup of full-fat Japanese mayo (Kewpie mayo) (can be substituted for light mayo, or just regular mayo; if you are counting calories, you can use sour cream)
- 1/4 cup of mayo Sriracha (substitute with regular Sriracha if you want an extra spiciness)
- 4 tablespoons of masago eggs
- 2 teaspoons of mustard
- 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon of lemon/lime juice
- Put Kewpie mayo (or your alternative), mayo Sriracha, masago eggs, mustard, smoked paprika, and mix together.
- Sprinkle lemon or lime juice into the mixture.
- Place the sauce in the fridge for 4-5 hours or overnight to get the flavor right.
- Enjoy your masago sauce and store it in the fridge for 2 weeks. (But it will be gone long before that)!
How to Use Masago Sauce? What Does Masago Sauce Go With?
Even though masago sauce is so easy to make, it is super versatile thanks to its creamy flavor and velvety texture. Masago sauce is most often used as a condiment for baked rolls, but it goes well with almost all rolls, especially the ones with salmon and crab. With sushi, masago eggs can be mixed with rice and rolled or just put on top of the roll. Masago sauce also goes well with baked fish or grilled crab and lobster – its creamy texture complements slightly dry and plain seafood.
Masago sauce is often added to Japanese noodles and salads. But did you know that masago sauce also goes well with pasta and even risotto? Masago basically goes with anything, even burgers, sandwiches, tacos, and wraps. Since masago sauce is simply mayo mixed with masago eggs, mustard, and mayo Sriracha, it has a nice velvety texture and creamy, savory flavor with spicy notes and goes with many things, whether it is seafood, meat, vegetables, pasta, noodles, risotto, and even dumplings!
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Masago Sauce Nutrition
The nutrition information of masago sauce will depend on the mayonnaise you use (or sour cream), but in any case, it is not very diet-friendly. This nutritional information is relevant for masago sauce made with kewpie mayo (if you use light mayo or substitute full-fat mayo with low-fat, it will have fewer calories).
Per serving (2 tablespoons) – calories 172, fat – 18 g, carbohydrates – 0.2g, protein 0.3 g, sodium – 195 mg.
In its natural form, masago roe has a pale yellow or red tint. However, masago roe is often dyed green, red, and black to give it a more “glamorous” look – for example, green masago looks good in salads, while red and black masago is most often added to sushi and noodles.
Now that you know what masago sauce is and what it tastes like, it is time to go to the shop and buy the ingredients to make this oh-so-yummy condiment! Masago sauce goes especially well with Japanese dishes like noodles and sushi, but it also tastes great with seafood (try masago with grilled shrimp and crab cakes!), pasta, vegetable salads, dumplings, and even on toasts!