When you think of fish eggs, you might imagine a posh dinner party somewhere in Manhattan, where the one percent gathers to savour their caviar while lamenting how difficult it is. Its purpose is to find qualified drone operators for their private jets. But caviar isn’t the only way to eat fish eggs, and there are plenty of alternatives that the rest of us can afford. That’s fortunate for us because the benefits of eating them are incredible. Fish eggs, also known as roe, are a fantastic source of micronutrients and Omega-3 fatty acids.
Roe is the fully mature internal egg mass found in the ovaries of fish and other sea creatures such as shrimp, scallops, sea urchins, and squid. As a seafood, roe is being used both as a cooked and raw ingredient in a variety of dishes. And, with exception of fermented cod liver oil, they are actually tasty, either very simple or as a major ingredient in a variety of culinary dishes.
The roe of sea creatures, such as lumpsucker, hake, mullet, salmon, Atlantic bonito, mackerel, squid, and cuttlefish, is notably rich in omega-3 fatty acids, but omega-3s can be found in all fish roe. Furthermore, among the nutrients found in fish roe is a significant amount of vitamin B12.
The raw base product from which caviar is made is roe from a sturgeon or, in some cases, roe from other fish such as flathead grey mullet.
The term “soft roe” or “white roe” refers to fish milt rather than fish eggs.
Fish Roe Nutrition
In the United States, fish eggs, also known as caviar or roe, are typically regarded as an extravagant luxury, but this may be changing as more people acquire a taste for the salmon roe commonly found in asian restaurants. Fish eggs contain a high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids (eating them is almost like taking a fish oil supplement). They do, however, contain a lot of cholesterol and are frequently cured with salt, which means they are high in sodium.
Many roe suppliers are located outside of the United States and may not be required to provide a nutritional label, making it difficult to find nutritional information for fish eggs. However, because most of us only eat a tiny portion of fish eggs as a garnish, the roe has no impact on the caloric intake or nutritive quality of a meal.
According to the USDA, 1 tablespoon (16g) of sturgeon roe has the following nutritional value: (fish eggs).
- Fat: 3g
- Protein: 4g
- Calories: 42
- Sodium: 240mg
- Fiber: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 0.6g
- Sugars: 0g
Whereas the details available above is a good starting point, nutritional differences between different types of fish eggs may exist. Herring roe, for example, has only 20 calories and 1 gram of fat per tablespoon. A tablespoon of trout caviar contains about 50 calories and 3 grams of fat.
Carbohydrate consumption in fish eggs varies by organisms, but roe, depending on the type, is not a major source of carbs. One tablespoon of sturgeon roe contains less than one gramme of carbohydrate. In fish eggs, there is no significant fibre and no significant sugar.
The glycemic load of fish eggs is estimated to be zero.
- Saturated fat- Sturgeon roe contains very little saturated fat (about 1/2 gramme), and herring roe contains even less.
- Polyunsaturated fat- When you eat a tablespoon of sturgeon roe, you’ll also get just under 1.2 grammes of polyunsaturated fat. Polyunsaturated fatty acids, or PUFAs, are beneficial to the cardiovascular system.
Fish eggs provide a protein boost, though the amount varies slightly depending on the variety. Sturgeon roe, for example, has 4 grammes of protein per serving, while herring roe has 3 grammes.
Vitamins and Minerals:
Sturgeon roe contains 133% of your daily vitamin B12 requirement, which can help you sustain a healthy metabolism and cardiovascular health.
Magnesium (48 mg, or 15% of your daily requirement) and selenium are also found in sturgeon roe (10.5 micrograms, roughly 19 percent of your recommended daily intake).
Types of Fish roe:
- Tobiko –
Tobiko is the term given to the roe of a flying fish species.
Tobiko has a naturally vibrant, bright reddish colour, but restaurants may add other natural ingredients, such as wasabi or squid ink, to modify the flavour and appearance.
Tobiko eggs are typically less than 1 millimetre in diameter. They have a distinct crunch. Tobiko, like other kinds of roe, is high in proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, and other nutrients. Tobiko, on the other hand, is extremely high in cholesterol.
2. Masago –
Masago is the label given to the roe of the capelin, a smelt-like fish.
Masago also can refer to roe from other types of smelt. These fish are small and lay very few eggs.
Masago has a bright reddish-orange appearance, but it is a little less vibrant than tobiko. Some manufacturers dye the eggs in order to pass them off as tobiko. The fish eggs, on the other hand, are much smaller, giving masago a different texture. Masago has a similar flavour to tobiko, although it’s more bitter. Masago is low in calories and high in protein and fatty acids, as well as essential nutrients like magnesium, selenium, and vitamin B-12. Masago, on the other hand, has a tendency of high sodium.
3. Ikura –
The Japanese word for salmon roe is ikura. Salmon roe is significantly larger than other types of roe.
Because of specific pigment compounds in the egg, ikura has an intense reddish-orange colour. The eggs are gleaming and should be partially transparent. Ikura should have a pleasant aroma as well as a strong, rich flavour.
Ikura is a high-nutritional-value food. According to research, ikura is high in beneficial fatty acids, such as high-quality omega-3s in the form of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (DHA)
Ikura also has a high protein content and is high in vitamin A, a popular antioxidant. Astaxanthin, a pigment compound found in ikura, is also a powerful antioxidant.
4. Caviar –
In its most traditional sense, caviar refers only to the roe of the wild sturgeon fish. This fish can be found in the Caspian and Black seas.
Caviar became synonymous with roe in general over time, but this is not technically correct. Caviar now refers to a variety of fish, but it is most commonly associated with sturgeon.
The roe of sturgeon caviar is small and glossy, roughly the size of a pea at most. Its hues range from amber to green to a deep black. Sturgeon caviar comes in a variety of flavours, including:
- White sturgeon
- Siberian sturgeon
Sturgeon caviar also has a healthy nutritional profile. Sturgeon caviar contains a high proportion of fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids, specifically DHA and EPA, as per a study published in the International Food Research Journal.
These two fatty acids, when merged, can help reduce inflammation and support the proper function of the brain, heart, and eyes.
Caviar even has an impressive amino acid profile, which includes glutamic acid, lysine, leucine, and phenylalanine.
Amino acids contribute to the formation of proteins in the body and play a major role in muscular health and immune functionality.
Is Fish Roe undervalued in India?
Yes, Fish Roe is undervalued in India due to certain reasons that are discussed below.
- One such reason is climate change, lack of awareness, overfishing and many more.
- Fish roe, a culinary tradition in India, is at the centre of a growing debate about sustainable consumption.
- Because it is a seasonal delicacy in most parts of coastal India, it is frequently sold separately at a premium.
- During the fish’s breeding season, which runs from July to October and coincides with the monsoon, the most commonly consumed roe is that of the hilsa (also known as the Indian herring).
- Tradition is a lovely thing. However, the cost of preserving it exacts a toll.
- The dilemma with roe is that it spoils if it is not stored at a cool temperature. However, if the temperature is too low, the grains lose their texture, and the membranes deteriorate.
Fish eggs, also known as caviar or roe, are a fantastic source of micronutrients and Omega-3 fatty acids. As a seafood, roe is being used both as a cooked and raw ingredient in a variety of dishes. According to the USDA, 1 tablespoon (16g) of sturgeon roe has the following nutritional value: (fish eggs). A tablespoon of trout caviar has approximately 50 calories and 3 grammes of fat.
There may be nutritional differences between different types of fish eggs. Tobiko has a naturally vibrant, bright reddish colour, but restaurants may add other natural ingredients, such as wasabi or squid ink, to modify the flavour and appearance.
Masago is the label given to the roe of the capelin, a smelt-like fish. Masago has a similar flavour to tobiko, although it’s more bitter. Ikura is a high-nutritional-value food. Salmon roe is significantly larger than other types of roe. Sturgeon caviar contains a high proportion of fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids, specifically DHA and EPA, as per a study.
Fish roe, a culinary tradition in India, is at the centre of a growing debate about sustainable consumption.
Roe is undervalued in India due to climate change, overfishing and other factors.
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